The changes and impacts on our day-to-day lives due to the challenges of this past year are something that as a society we are still working on understanding.
However, one thing that is abundantly clear after 2020 is that in both our day-to-day lives and in business we are all increasingly reliant on technology. What the implications are for relying more on technology in society is another topic.
When it comes to business the implications are clearer. Technology is increasingly necessary for business operations. The businesses that make utilizing and managing technology a priority will be more strategic and competitive.
This is particularly evident when we talk about cybersecurity. As anyone who has experienced it knows a cybersecurity breach can bring your entire business to a screeching halt.
Cybersecurity has been a top concern for many businesses for quite some time, however, during the past year cyber attacks have ramped up, prompting a warning from the FBI.
There are a few reasons for this. First, bad actors know that you as a business are dealing with other issues like a massive pivot to remote work and increased usage of personal devices and networks. Second, many small to medium-sized businesses think their odds of being attacked are minimized due to their size. In reality, nearly half of all cyber-attacks are on small businesses.
Taking that all into account here are some of the top cybersecurity trends and concerns to look out for in 2021.
2021 Cybersecurity Concerns and Trends
As we have already noted cyberattacks on companies continue to rise. This is partially due to the limitations of traditional anti-virus software. Like the flu vaccine, typical Anti-Virus applications only protect against viruses and threats that it knows of, and like the flu vaccine when the virus mutates, typical AV software will not be able to protect against the threat.
That is why bolstering your traditional anti-virus software with endpoint management will be crucial for businesses going forward. Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) monitors your systems in a different way by analyzing behavior and symptoms using an AI-based engine to identify behind-the-scenes actions that are indications of a cybersecurity issue.
The ability to process massive amounts of data in a short time continues to grow in demand. This demand is fueling innovation in technology specifically in the cloud and edge computing. Edge computing and the cloud are not necessarily new, but a new cloud model the distributed cloud offers promising possibilities.
Although the hybrid cloud model has brought improvements, especially for smaller businesses, it has fallen short. In a distributed cloud model public cloud providers offer cloud options in more physical locations. More physical locations mean that companies can enjoy the best of both worlds – faster speeds and lower latency, combined with the benefit of having the cloud maintained and updated by the provider. This will lead to lower data costs as well as improved compliance with data privacy laws. For a more in-depth look at the distributed cloud see this article from IBM.
As more companies collect data on their customers, especially through digital means, you can expect the topic of data privacy to be discussed for many years to come. Currently, there is not a comprehensive federal law that lays out the terms for storing and managing personal data. However, states are not waiting on the federal government to move on this and in January 2020 the most comprehensive state law for data privacy went into effect in California.
Companies will need to stay up to date on the current status of data privacy laws in the United States or face harsh penalties. For more information on data privacy see this article from Osano.
Artificial Intelligence & Automation
The AI and automation revolution will continue to shape the business world for quite some time going forward. With such large amounts of data needing to be processed companies are seeking to maximize the potential of machine learning, task automation, and integrating AI.
The possibility for this technology to improve business processes and data collection is largely positive and exciting for the business world. However, just like any of the exciting trends and innovations in technology, there will be risks and bugs that need to be addressed.
With remote operations becoming increasingly prevalent in business, traditional security measures that are predicated on the idea that employees will be working from an office will not be as effective as they once were. What this forces businesses to do is to focus on the person/ device identity for effective authentication and authorization.
In addition to designing new cybersecurity processes and procedures to address the concerns of remote operations, all companies will need to implement multi-factor authentication. For a more in-depth explanation of how multi-factor authentication works and why it is important watch our video about it here.
Remote work and operations are not just a passing fad but are likely to significantly shape the business world and technology going forward. As businesses become increasingly comfortable delivering their services remotely by employees working remotely, you will see more technology and processes come out to support a remote business model.
Although this is largely exciting and will provide new opportunities for business there are still bugs that need to be worked out. This was obvious last year with the explosion of Zoom and the host of cybersecurity issues that came along with that explosion.
What Your Company Can Do About It
Here are some of our recommendations for forming your cybersecurity strategy.
- Start with our free cybersecurity risk-assessment
- Come up with a BCDR plan (see our blog on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery here)
- Pick the Right Managed IT Services Provider
- Emphasize and encourage employee education and training (get started with some of our free courses)
Greystone Technology is the industry-leading managed IT services provider in Colorado. We offer managed IT services, IT consulting, security services, web development, and training, for a wide range of businesses looking for top-notch IT, advice on security issues, and leveraging technology as a competitive advantage.
The above are just guidelines to get you started on building a better cybersecurity strategy. To better understand your current vulnerabilities and risks give us a call today.