Now is the time when professionals and thought leaders start anticipating what the cybersecurity 2021 landscape will look like and how they can prepare for the changes ahead. Here are five predictions likely to affect IT security experts and business decision-makers in the coming year.
1. Ransomware Will Remain an Ever-Present Threat
Ransomware attacks can quickly cripple businesses by cutting off access to critical information. Even if company leaders decide to pay the ransom, that doesn’t guarantee the desired restoration.
Projections indicate that ransomware attacks will happen every 11 seconds in 2021, compared to every 14 seconds in 2019. Business leaders cannot afford to think that cybercriminals have moved onto other attack methods. It’s true their techniques evolve, but perpetrators still view ransomware attacks as effective ways to hinder victims.
Another cybersecurity prediction worth knowing about is that hackers will increasingly target business social media accounts to carry out their attacks during 2021 and beyond — potentially using things like malicious QR codes and abbreviated URLs in their plans.
Companies became increasingly reliant on social media accounts to reach customers this year as more people stayed home due to the COVID-19 threat. That reality sets the stage for a ramping up of attacks next year.
A report from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission showed that consumer complaints about social media scams more than tripled in the last year. Cybercriminals are accustomed to targeting one broad group, so it’s not a stretch for them to pivot to businesses next.
3. Investment Advisers Will Continue to Customize Their Cybersecurity Approaches
Investment advisors will keep assessing their business operations before making any major cybersecurity decisions in 2021. The Securities and Exchange Commission recognizes that because advisers’ operations vary, they should customize their approaches. Moreover, investment advisers need to investigate further to see if the service providers they engage with have adequate security measures.
It’s also possible that the SEC will introduce new regulations that mandate tighter security measures for investment adviser firms. Even if that doesn’t happen, the employees working at these facilities should strive to see the connection between excellent cybersecurity and increased customer trust. If a client thinks a company falls short with cybersecurity, they likely won’t trust that entity with their investment decisions.
4. Business Leaders Will Increasingly Rely on Risk Quantification Technology to Highlight Threats
Using risk quantification technology in cybersecurity involves identifying all of a companies’ known vulnerabilities, then using modeling to see what effects they could have if left unaddressed. People also use data to calculate a company’s actual level of overall exposure to cyberthreats in the current environment.
Analysts who made cybersecurity predictions think company leadership teams will depend on this kind of technology more often in 2021. Leaders face stagnant or declining budgets in 2021. Those realities mean they’ll require more justification for increasing spending on cybersecurity. Similarly, risk quantification tech can aid leaders in making challenging decisions about what cuts to make.
5. There Will Be a Broader Adoption of the Cybersecurity Mesh Approach
Deploying cybersecurity mesh to control digital asset access allows authorized parties to work with such materials regardless of the location of the content or the people trying to view it. A person’s identity becomes the key that provides accessibility. That’s crucial, especially with so many people working from home or otherwise outside their workplace networks.
Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, explained, “We’ve passed a tipping point — most organizational cyberassets are now outside the traditional physical and logical security perimeters. As anywhere operations continue to evolve, the cybersecurity mesh will become the most practical approach to ensure secure access to, and use of, cloud-located applications and distributed data from uncontrolled devices.”
Cybersecurity mesh for access control will not reach its highest adoption rate in 2021. However, people should start noticing more companies adopting this approach in the coming year. Remote working gained momentum in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some leaders ultimately decided their workforces could continue doing it permanently, no matter when the virus threat ends. Today’s teams are more distributed. Cybersecurity approaches will adjust to that reality.
Cybersecurity Predictions to Aid Planning and Preparedness
These five likely outcomes for cybersecurity in 2021 are not an all-encompassing list of what to expect. Cybersecurity professionals and business leaders should continue to stay abreast of emerging patterns that arise.
However, these trends give solid starting points to facilitate smoother planning as enterprises get set for the next year.