Top Cybersecurity Challenges to Watch Out for in 2021

Top cybersecurity challenges

Updated: April 3, 2023

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 to normal, it’s business as usual for cybercriminals. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021 ranked cyber threats among the top global risks, highlighting the vulnerable nature of the digital solutions we’ve all depended on.

Knowing that cybersecurity will continue to be a significant 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 to defend their employees against them effectively.

1. Social Engineering Attacks

Unfortunately, humans remain 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.

2. Ransomware

Last year, the average sum to recover from a ransomware attack grew to $1.45 million; there’s a real chance 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 cannot 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. Preparing for the worst is paramount in implementing a bullet-proof backup and disaster recovery strategy.

3. Lack of IT Talent

The IT skills shortage has become a significant cybersecurity challenge because many organizations lack the talent or can’t afford to hire people 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 to remain competitive.

For instance, cloud adoption witnessed a massive spike last year, with Microsoft sharing that 44 million daily users generated more than 900 million meeting and calling minutes per day in March. But whenever organizations adopt a new technology solution to increase their productivity and profits, cybercriminals quickly exploit the new attack vector it creates.

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 various IT security-related tasks at competitive per device/per month prices.

Overcome All Cybersecurity Challenges in 2021 and Beyond

Benjamin Franklin used to say that you are preparing to fail by failing to prepare. His words of wisdom are certainly relevant when it comes to overcoming the cybersecurity challenges all organizations in 2021 face.

Much research clearly shows how better-protected organizations with a proactive approach to cybersecurity are compared to their passive counterparts. But what if you’re an SMB with limited resources that 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 contact our team 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.


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