Although digital transformation enabled organizations to survive and thrive during the pandemic, this rapid shift did not come risk-free.
Cybersecurity experts observed an uptick in cybercrime in the past year as the world became increasingly reliant on digital technologies. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021 also cites cybersecurity failure as one of the top five most pressing global threats today.
Indeed, anyone can get hit by a cyberattack. Companies are vulnerable, and so are their employees and customers. In fact, cybersecurity at the individual level is just as important as cybersecurity at the enterprise level.
Protection, thus, entails investing in defensive tools as well as promoting behavioral change among end-users.
A growing appreciation for this holistic view is apparent in how industries engage in cybersecurity these days. Here are a few trends that enterprises may want to keep an eye on to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Trend # 1: Optimizing cybersecurity policies for remote work
The normalization of remote work is transforming enterprises’ security tools and policies, says Gartner. The pandemic dispersed corporate assets—everything from devices to data—out of the office and into employees’ households. Almost all transactions with customers had to go digital, too.
This accelerated digitalization multiplied the number of points that cybercriminals could attack. In 2020, 46 percent of organizations surveyed by Check Point Research said they had at least one employee download a malicious application on their mobile device, putting corporate data and the rest of the network at risk.
In response, organizations are starting to optimize their cybersecurity policies for remote work and a hyper-digital world. Many are investing in tools to protect their assets and customers’ data, as well as implementing policies that require employees to have above-board cyber hygiene.
Trend # 2: The rise of ransomware, professionalization of cybercrime
Although it has been around for almost 20 years, ransomware became a weapon of choice for many hackers in 2020, with attacks increasing by 435% compared to 2019 based on research by Deep Instinct.
Ransomware encrypts files so that the owner is unable to access their data. The hacker then demands that a ransom be paid in exchange for restoring access to the files. Organizations that need access to critical data—such as hospitals, governments, and financial institutions—are particularly vulnerable to these attacks.
This points to another important observation: over the years, cybercrime has become more organized.
Speaking with host Edu Manzano in a podcast episode of Clockwork—a Globe-produced series of interviews that feature business insights from enterprise experts—Alex Tilley of Secureworks says cybercrime is now a “streamlined business.”
Tilley, who heads the Counter Threat Unit of cybersecurity firm Secureworks, mentions that cybercriminals’ targets have also shifted. From just banks and financial institutions in the early days, cybercriminals are now threatening personal data, systems used for elections, and databases of medical institutions. In the past year, they have also been taking advantage of the rapid migration of business operations to cyberspace.
With the increase in threats, businesses transacting with their customers through digital channels should ramp up their cybersecurity or risk financial and reputational damage in the event of a breach.
Trend # 3: Vendor consolidation
Security leaders are also beginning to consolidate their cybersecurity vendor portfolios, observes Gartner.
For many companies, security is a complex web of multiple tools from different vendors. In a 2020 survey by Gartner, 78 percent of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) said they had over 16 different cybersecurity tools in their vendor portfolio, and 12 percent said they had 46 or more. This makes things more complicated than they have to be and may even amplify security risks.
To address this, enterprises must streamline their security solutions. Doing so could yield reduced costs and better security overall. For their part, vendors are working to improve product integrations.
The time to boost cybersecurity is now
Although most companies are aware of the threats, the vast majority is unprepared to pay for protection, shares Peter Maquera, Senior Vice President for Globe Business, Enterprise Group, in the same Clockwork podcast episode. He adds that businesses tend to see cybersecurity in the same way that most people view insurance: they don’t think they need one until they get sick. Companies rarely invest in cybersecurity until a breach happens.
In today’s cyberthreat landscape, however, enterprises must be vigilant and proactive.
They must seek out the best tools and make sure these integrate well with their existing systems. Enterprises must also reinforce these technical defenses with robust cybersecurity policies to make sure everyone, including end-users, engages safely online. Continuous education within the organization, which eventually trickles down to every customer, could help achieve this. Keep in mind that, going by Hanlon’s razor, most slip-ups are likely caused by a lack of awareness rather than actual malintent.
Choosing the right cybersecurity partner is crucial. Get peace of mind and entrust your cybersecurity with experts who are highly regarded around the world and across industries.
Through its partnerships with the likes of Secureworks, a recognized leader in managed security in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Globe Business connects businesses with world-class cybersecurity tools and expertise. Get more insights on cybersecurity by tuning in to the Clockwork podcast.