Top 3 Cybersecurity Trends in 2021

Top 3 cybersecurity trends of 2021 to help you focus on future cybersecurity initiatives and protect against dominant cyber threats.

2020 was a time of uncertainty for everyone, and 2021 saw many challenges from the previous year escalate. This year, the attack surface expanded, ransomware claimed its first human life, and organizations continued to reap the benefits of implementing zero-trust architecture.

Protecting the expanding attack surface

More and more business is happening on the Internet, spurred further by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in Internet traffic, data, connected devices, and unprotected personal devices during the shift to remote work created a significant number of vulnerabilities for cyber criminals to exploit.

According to Gartner, 78 percent of chief information security officers (CISOs) have 16 or more tools in their cybersecurity vendor portfolio, and 12 percent have 46 or more. Partnering with so many vendors can run counter to efficient security, and 80 percent of CISOs agree that vendor consolidation is required to reduce vulnerabilities and streamline operations. As malicious actors shift their focus to suppliers (supply chain attacks are predicted to quadruple from 2020 to 2021), so too must organizations shift their focus to protecting the supply chain.

The same logic can be applied to the explosion of Internet of Things and work-from-home devices. The more connected, unprotected technology, the more chances cyber criminals have to access sensitive data. Instating regular updates, patching, user security awareness, and multi-factor authentication is a start to securing the influx of devices.

Ransomware prevention

Ransomware attacks have evolved considerably over the past two decades, with ransomware-as-a-service making it easier for upstart hackers to attack—and profit from— unprepared businesses. Due to the immense profitability of ransomware for cyber criminals (damages are projected to reach $265 billion by 2031), we can expect to contend with this type of attack in the long term.

Conducting ransomware readiness assessments and performing simulated ransomware attacks will continue to be necessary for staying ahead of real-world threats.

Adoption of zero trust

Zero trust often comes with the tagline, “never trust, always verify,” and is built on the premise that strictly limiting permissions and assuming a breach will occur will help prevent cyber attacks. According to Microsoft, 76 percent of organizations have at least begun implementing a zero-trust strategy, with 35 percent of those interviewed claiming full implementation.

This research reveals that the top motivators for adoption of zero trust have been:

  • 47%— Improve overall security posture
  • 44%— Improve end user experience and productivity
  • 38%— Transform the way security teams work together
  • 35%— Simplify security stack
  • 35%— Reduce security costs

Given the achievable benefits of zero trust, it is safe to say that this trend will continue well into the future.

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