The new year always invites a spot of prediction as to what we might see over the coming twelve months. As the world (hopefully) emerges from Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, it seems clear that 2021 will be a year of rapid change, flux and adaptation. But what might this mean in the cybersecurity sector?
Here are some of the key security trends we think will appear or accelerate throughout 2021.
Security threats in a post-Covid world
2020 was a stark reminder of just how agile and adaptable cybercriminals can be when it comes to exploiting the news agenda, behavioural trends and good old-fashioned fear. A wealth of new threats emerged throughout the year seeking to take advantage of the shift to mass remote working, regular government messaging about the latest restrictions and people’s very understandable fear of the virus.
From phishing campaigns designed to look like legitimate government or healthcare communications, to malware specifically targeting videoconferencing applications, 2020 certainly kept the cybersecurity sector on its toes. And that agility, that responsiveness to the wider environment, is something that security researchers would do well to keep in mind throughout 2021. There will likely be just as dramatic societal changes as economies reopen and major in-person events begin to take place again – and cybercriminals will be there to take advantage. Experian has even predicted that bad actors could seek to disrupt vaccine supply chains and generate confusion and even panic in the months ahead.
Remote workers will remain tempting targets
Even as offices reopen, the consensus seems to be that a high degree of remote and home working will remain, with workers keen to continue enjoying a more flexible approach to when and where they work. That could be good users for workers – but trickier news for the security personnel charged with protecting corporate networks, for myriad reasons.
First, remote workers are far more likely to use personal devices for corporate activities. These are, broadly speaking, much more vulnerable to malicious cyberattack, whether because they are not protected with strong enough tools and procedures, or because they are also used by other members of the household, who may not follow robust enough security protocols.
Second, remote workers generally use personal WiFi connections. As with personal devices, these networks are often not protected as securely as corporate WiFi, and other members of the household may be more likely to allow malware onto the network, which can then travel laterally. No wonder more and more organisations are looking for VPN solutions and similar to provision home working.
Budgets will shrink – even as security threats proliferate
Needless to say, the economic impact of Covid-19 has already been enormous – and 2021 will likely be characterised by organisations and entire industries struggling to stay afloat and rebuild as the disruption of 2020 gradually lessens. 2021 is unlikely, then, to be a year of generously-sized IT and security budgets.
Nevertheless, periods of economic recovery can also be times of great business creativity and reinvention, with organisations scrambling to compete and take advantage of others’ slower movements. This could well translate into IT and security spending. Budgets may shrink, but appetite for creativity and in particular converged solutions is likely to be hefty.
By integrating multiple security services onto a single platform, such converged solutions can offer organisations the agility and flexibility they need to stay one step ahead of the competition – even when, as outlined above, new threats are constantly coming to the table.
After the year we’ve just had, it would be foolish to attempt hard and fast predictions for security in 2021. Perhaps the one thing we can be certain of is uncertainty – which means that streamlining and simplifying security management will be high on the agenda.
If you’d like to review your company’s security then reach out to APH.