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2021 and beyond. The evolution of Cybersecurity

by Georges De Moura

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact in the global economy and has transformed our society. The « new reality » has forced everyone to become heavily reliant on the internet and its digital economy – what would normally have taken years has now occurred in months, and is accelerating business model transformation at a faster pace than ever before to ensure existential survival in a crisis for which no one was prepared.

With the rapid digitalization of industries and shifting work and consumption patterns, the cyber risk profile for businesses has expanded in magnitude and changed in nature.

This confluence of forces has exposed and impacted critical functions and the broader industry ecosystems:

  • Accelerated digital transformation has forced adaptations in cybersecurity practices to enable operational continuity, bringing new structural changes and risks associated with the rapid change.

  • Rapid shift to working-from-home and Cloud dissolved digital perimeters and shift businesses to a new paradigm based on a distributed, risk based and data-driven model.

  • The threat actors have adapted at scale which led to an exponential growth of social engineering, ransomware attacks targeting the most vulnerable essential services such as healthcare facilities (436 breaches affecting 7.3 M people have been reported by the US Department of Health and Human Services). State-sponsored cyberattacks, as the one linked with Solarwinds this past month, add a new dimension to the cybersecurity arms race that is accelerating.

The following predictions provide insights on the evolution of Cybersecurity in 2021
  • Cyber attacker will continue targeting the supply chains of essential services through ransomware and social engineering attacks (eg. Vaccine roll-out disruption). Employee decisions on cybersecurity will create a new wave of insider related threats.

  • Sustained remote working will bring new significant security implications as more attacks will occur on insecure home networks and personal devices.

  • Enterprise Security spending will grow at an unprecedented rate while market pressure on solution efficacy and high value will equally increase.

  • 5G, IOT and Cloud will drive new frontiers for Cybersecurity, and will increase the attack surface exponentially as well allow large scale denial of service attacks causing massive disruption in the digital economy.

  • Next generation Identity and Access Management, passwordless authentication and Cloud workload protection will be key hotspots of security spending

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