Most cybersecurity professionals agree that 2020 was one of the most challenging years in recent history. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted established work routines and forced employees to leave their offices, fully exposing them to opportunistic cybercriminals and their increasingly advanced tactics.
While global vaccination efforts give us at least some hope that our daily lives could soon return back to normal, it’s business as usual for cybercriminals. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021 has ranked cyber threats among leading global risks, highlighting the vulnerable nature of the digital solutions we’ve all come to depend on.
Knowing that cybersecurity will continue to be a major challenge even in 2021, the best that organizations can do to protect themselves is to learn as much as possible about the threats they face so they can effectively defend their employees against them.
1. Social Engineering Attacks
Unfortunately, humans continue to be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain because a third of all breaches were possible only thanks to social engineering attacks. Such attacks include phishing emails, fake phone calls, scareware, and other techniques that don’t exploit vulnerabilities in IT systems but, instead, manipulate human psychology.
In 2021, social engineering attacks are expected to become even more dangerous as cybercriminals embrace artificial intelligence to create deepfake audio recordings, videos, photos, and other media that can be used to trick unsuspecting employees into believing that they’re communicating with their boss, business partner, or colleague.
The most effective defense against social engineering attacks has always been ongoing employee training accompanied by mock cyber attacks. Such training can teach employees to recognize early social engineering attempts and prevent them from escalating while there is still time.
Last year, the average sum to recover from a ransomware attack grew to $1.45 million, and there’s a real chance that it will be even higher this year. The explosion of remote work across the globe has created many new targets for cybercriminals to set their crosshairs on.
Because most remote workers are unable to do their work without connecting to their organization’s network, ransomware can easily spread from a personal laptop to an in-house server and from the in-house server to other employees’ devices.
Unfortunately, statistics tell us that virtually all organizations will eventually face a ransomware attack. That’s why it’s paramount to prepare for the worst by implementing a bullet-proof backup and disaster recovery strategy.
3. Lack of IT Talent
The IT skills shortage has become a major cybersecurity challenge because many organizations are unable or can’t afford to hire the people they need to keep their systems running and protected. Small and medium-sized organizations are affected the most because they’ve been forced to adopt the same technology solutions as large enterprises in order to remain competitive.
For instance, cloud adoption witnessed a massive spike last year, with Microsoft sharing that the demand for its cloud services grew as high as 775 percent. But whenever organizations adopt a new technology solution to increase their productivity and profits, cybercriminals are quick to exploit the new attack vector created by it.
To gain access to the IT talent they need to keep cybercriminals at bay, organizations should consider partnering with managed security services providers (MSSPs) that perform a variety of IT security-related tasks at very competitive per device/per month prices.
Overcome All Cybersecurity Challenges in 2021 and Beyond
Benjamin Franklin used to say that by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. His words of wisdom are certainly relevant when it comes to overcoming the cybersecurity challenges all organizations in 2021 face.
There’s a lot of research that clearly shows just how better protected organizations with a pro-active approach to cybersecurity are compared with their passive counterparts. But what if you’re an SMB with resources so limited that you can’t justify hiring an in-house IT professional? How can you defend your employees against the threats discussed in this article?
Easy! You can get in touch with us at Aligned Technology Solutions and take advantage of our managed cybersecurity services, which include strategic advice and guidance, 24/7/365 systems monitoring, proactive and preventative management, remote access support, backup and disaster recovery, antimalware protection, asset management, and more.