COVID-19 pushed many businesses to adopt remote and flexible working. As a consequence, businesses now have to find new, more effective ways of coping with the rapidly changing post-pandemic digital space. There now are millions of connected offices, and most of these offices are not as protected digitally as traditional offices. The secure firewalls, access management systems, and secure routers, etc., in your office, may not be sufficient to cover all your remote workers. That leaves your devices and networks vulnerable to data thieves. To address this new challenge, you need to familiarize yourself with these five key cybersecurity trends for 2021:
1) Expanding cyber-attack surface is necessitating data security automation
It goes without saying that your cyber-attack surface has increased tremendously over the last decade. Most of your business transactions were happening over the internet even before the pandemic and have increased rapidly over the course of the pandemic. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is also here with us, and it is mainly characterized by the increased meshing of us humans and machines. Clearly, hackers have a much larger playing field now when it comes to breaching cyber-defense.
How will businesses protect this huge and consistently expanding attack surface in 2021? For starters, businesses will need to utilize automation as a cybersecurity tool. They will need to automate scanning technologies in data access management and invest in incident alert tools. Most importantly, they will need to develop and leverage self-repairing software to counter any damages done by attackers. Secondly, businesses will need to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies in acting on possible cyber threats. Take a look at this article on business intelligence to learn more about it.
2) Increased adoption of multi-factor authentication
With increased remote and flexible working, the use of passwords as the sole protection against cyberattacks won’t cut it. Businesses have to invest in multiple data protection layers. That is where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in. With MFA, employees have to authenticate their identities through multiple devices before they are given access to sensitive company data. Say, for example, a remote employee wants to log into their staff portal or the company’s file share service from a personal computer. The company’s MFA can be programmed to send an SMS containing to the employee’s cell phone upon entering on the computer their username and password. The SMS contains a one-time pin (OTP) that a user has to produce; otherwise, they are locked out of the system. The cell phone number, in this case, has to be on record and cannot be changed without approval from the IT department. Other companies require employees to install an authentication app on their smartphones, while others are now using voice multi-factor authentication.
MFAs are, to a great extent, more reliable than passwords. However, because SMSs and voice MFAs aren't end-to-end encrypted, they could still be vulnerable to attacks. Going forward, companies will need to switch to app authenticators such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and OneSpan Authenticator.
3) Cybersecurity tech stack trends 2021
Even as you protect your business data from external threats, you have to adopt effective tools and platforms that are tailor-made for your website and related workflows. This is relevant for any field, even if you have a freelance medical writer website. You must have software tools (the tech stack) in place to guarantee that your security posture is strong and intact. A solid Tech Stack has to include basic protection tools such as antiviruses and firewalls as well as advanced tools such as DNS Filters. Your cybersecurity tech stack has to provide the architecture framework needed to actualize your data security plan. It should protect your OS, web servers, databases, digital assets, and custom web apps, among other digital assets, consequently helping you run your applications and websites more effectively. That is why, going forward, you cannot afford to have gaps in your cybersecurity tech stack.
How will you get your tech stack right in 2021? By ensuring that it aligns with your business’ risk profile across the entire threat landscape! If you intend to build a website in 2021 or a web app, you need to consider the following when choosing your cybersecurity tech stack:
- Vulnerabilities within the applications that you run- depending on your backend code. Different runtime environments have different vulnerabilities.
- Your online traffic and scalability needs/possibilities. Do you need to add data to your platform in the future? Is functionality and consistency part of your long-term architectural strategy? If yes, your cybersecurity tech stack should be scalable.
- Cost, both upfront and long-run costs.
- The usage of residential proxies that provide perfect privacy, anonymity, and protection.
- Availability of, or lack of, building blocks from reputable third-party libraries. Some stacks come with third-party vendor libraries that unnecessarily expand your cyber-attack surface.
- The skills and experience of your in-house IT team. You don’t want to invest in security protocols that your staff members don’t understand.
- How complicated a security stack is. If a stack’s implementation takes more time than you can afford, it probably isn’t worth it.
4) Mobile software security
Increased remote working has necessitated mobile software security for businesses. Employees are now using their phones, tablets, and PCs, etc., to access sensitive data. Some are even doing it via public, mostly unsecured public Wi-Fi. These devices are, in most cases, connected to other remote objects through IoT technology. Data thieves can spy on encrypted messaging applications or successfully perform a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on an insecure mobile device. It is your responsibility as an employer to add extra layers of mobile software security for your employees’ personal devices.
5) Cybersecurity awareness training
Many internet users are unaware of common cyberattack methods. Many people easily fall prey to basic cybersecurity attacks such as phishing emails. That ignorance is what fuels the upsurge in cybersecurity cases. Organizations must now use explainer videos to train their employees and users on how to identify and thwart all forms of phishing and malware infections.
The fundamentals of cybersecurity in 2021: Scalability, user awareness, and versatility. Your cybersecurity strategy must evolve as fast as, if not faster than, the changing network and security needs. That’s how you will keep your network and data safe from data thieves. How well your strategy will evolve starts with keeping up with cybersecurity trends such as those listed above.