If there’s one thing that we learned from the hectic 2020 is that cybersecurity trends can change in a heartbeat. And just as it affected all branches in the world, the COVID-19 crisis affected the cybersecurity landscape, forcing CISOs to adapt to sudden, unprecedented, and until now unforeseen challenges.
As we look back on the last 12 couple of months and how everything changed in the cybersecurity landscape, especially with the challenges that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t help but wonder what new obstacles, trends, and changes wait for us in 2021.
And what better way to prepare for the new year than to embrace the new trends, risks, and challenges in the cybersecurity industry that await us in 2021.
5 cybersecurity trends in 2021
1. Remote-working likely to be a norm even after the COVID-19 pandemic
Remote working is the “new normal.”
Security professionals probably didn’t like it very much when most employees started shifting from offices into their homes. And the main reason why was simply because it is easier for hackers to hack personal networks rather than well-protected office networks.
And what looked like only a temporary thing, the remote working culture is expected to carry on even after the pandemic is long gone. Companies didn’t mind cutting their losses on expenditures involving the maintenance of office spaces, and many organizations have already embraced the remote work philosophy as a standard.
What this means for CISOs, CSIRTs, and SOCs is that they need to lock down all poorly protected endpoints, raise cybersecurity awareness among employees, and add new restrictive policies to help lessen the threat posed by remote working environments.
2. Cyber criminals will continue to exploit the COVID-19 crisis
Hackers didn’t sleep on the opportunity to exploit the unprecedented landscape prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was, in fact, a situation that organizations didn’t have enough time to prepare for. In only a matter of days, millions of workers around the world suddenly started working from home. And this was an opportunity that cyber criminals would never sleep on.
Network visibility was one of the main issues in 2020, as SOCs couldn’t compensate for the lack of unity among employees. Personal networks cannot be compared, security-wise, to centralized working environments, and the increased incorporation of IoT devices meant that organizations are in dire need of reinforcements when it comes to extending their visibility.
In this regard, the necessity of implementing IT-visibility enhancing technologies, such as SOAR, is expected to become a major trend in 2021 and in the years to come.
3. Beware of ransomware
Even though no one is exempt from the deadly grasp of cyber criminals, there are industries that are more targeted than others, simply due to their lucrative nature.
Namely, financial and healthcare institutions, governments, and other similarly lucrative targets are getting the shorter end of the stick when it comes to ransomware attacks, and this cybersecurity trend is likely to continue and even worsen in 2021.
The estimated costs of ransomware attacks in 2020 are expected to exceed $20 billion, according to Purplesec. Which compared to $11.5 billion in 2019 means that the damage from ransomware attacks has almost doubled.
And, in the first six months of 2020 alone, Hipaajournal registered 128 successful ransomware attacks on federal entities, healthcare institutions, and educational institutions, with the healthcare industry accounting for over 32% of those attacks.
This ongoing trend speaks volumes when it comes to the trend of ransomware attacks, and in 2021, either organizations will boost their security posture or the number of successful ransomware attacks is going to reach a new high.
4. Budget restrictions will force CISOs to invest in cloud-based security
Due to the unstable economic situation caused by the pandemic, companies are looking at restricted budgets in 2021, and that goes for cybersecurity budgets as well. And this type of unstable economic landscape means that CISOs will need to make every penny count if they are to justify their 2021 cybersecurity budget.
Unfortunately, CISOs will be required to significantly reinforce their cybersecurity posture, while relying on a scrutinized budget at the same time. This means that one cybersecurity trend for 2021 will include CISOs grasping at quick wins, effective ROI predictions, and investments into cloud-based SaaS security solutions.
Luckily, cybersecurity vendors are already anticipating this trend, and have started offering SaaS versions of their products. This includes DFLabs (Now Sumo Logic), who in light of recent events and with the goal of helping its clients overcome these difficult times, started offering the services of its Cloud SOAR as a cloud, SaaS solution.
5. AI and security automation to resolve skill shortage and false positives
As a way to combat the skill shortage issue and the continuously increasing volumes of alerts, SOCs will be required to do more with fewer resources in 2021.
This unfortunate turn of events will force every CISO to think outside the box. And that means implementing solutions such as security automation and AI-enhanced security solutions to take the burden off of their analyst’s shoulders.
Many analysts are preoccupied with assessing false positives, and considering that companies receive around 10,000 false positives per month, CISOs wouldn’t want to invest a large chunk of their budget on threat identification alone, while threat remediation and prevention remain unassessed.
In this regard, the cybersecurity trend of implementing security automation provided by progressive solutions such as SOAR is an expected outcome in 2021. Security automation backed up with a machine learning engine is capable of detecting false positives on its own, allowing analysts to focus their time on the threats that really matter.
It seems that SOAR has matured in the eyes of many security professionals, and the majority of the cyber world has begun to fully comprehend the benefits that this technology provides. Not to mention the beneficial ROI effect this investment will produce, considering the restricted budget many CISOs will be offered in 2021.
Thus, we expect a growing reliance on machine learning, progressive automation, and AI-enhanced security solutions in 2021.
How will the cybersecurity trends shape the landscape in 2021?
Other cybersecurity trends that the expert team of Sumo Logic believes are going to mark the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape in 2021 are:
Proactive instead of reactive threat hunting to become a norm
Cybersecurity awareness policies to be deeply rooted in company policies
Phishing attacks to move from enterprise networks to end-user devices targeting
Given that we saw how unpredictable the cyber threat landscape can be in 2020, we should definitely take these predictions with a grain of salt. But whatever cybersecurity trends come to fruition, we’re definitely certain that the dependence of machine learning and automation is going to be only stronger in 2021. And we rest assured that SOAR will become one of the main pillars to lead the evolution of the next-gen cybersecurity posture in 2021, and in the years to come.
Find out more about the state of SOAR in 2021 here.
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