EU steps up to fight against cyber criminals
One of the biggest challenges facing IT professionals in 2013 is maintaining high levels of cyber security.
With more companies introducing bring-your-own-device policies, the chances of sensitive corporate data being stolen or lost are likely to increase.
According to figures provided by the European Commission, there are more than 150,000 viruses and other types of malicious code currently in circulation across the continent, while one million people are victims of cyber crime every day.
The Commission has been working on new legislation to ensure businesses and public sector bodies are doing all they can to protect people's private information.
Earlier this year, the EU published a draft version of the Directive on Network and Information Security, which it believes will help ensure member states are better equipped to deal with online criminals.
The proposed legislation has not been universally welcomed, with some organisations suggesting that imposing such strict regulations on all EU countries would be extremely difficult.
To help raise awareness of the threat posed by hackers, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) - the EU's cyber security body - is planning the first ever European Cyber Security Month.
Scheduled to take place in October 2013, the event aims to change people's perceptions of cyber crime and will give IT professionals an opportunity to share new ideas on best practice with their peers.
ENISA's Executive Director Professor Udo Helmbrecht believes the Europe-wide programme will be crucial.
"In a time when cyber security is of increasing importance for society and the economy, the challenge is to bring the skills of citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises up to speed [and] to improve the trust in public and private IT services used in everyday lives," he remarked.
While the EU is clearly taking this matter very seriously, the threat posed by cyber criminals is expected to grow sharply in the coming years. Even when new EU laws are introduced - whenever this may be - IT professionals will still need to be vigilant against increasingly sophisticated hacking attacks.