5 Predictions for Cybersecurity in the Year 2021

By Jean-Noel de Galzain, CEO of WALLIX

2021. It’s here. We made it through a long and difficult year rife with personal and professional challenges. These challenges – and the ways in which they’ve impacted our lives – have forever changed the way we live, work, and communicate.

With a wave of lockdowns and ever-changing restrictions, 2020 and its COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to rethink our habits and processes, and driven home how digitally dependent we truly are. With employees stuck at home, unable to commute across town to the office, let alone across borders and countries, organizations turned to digital tools to facilitate a remote office environment. Video conferencing, remote access to data, collaborative applications, cloud storage…. Every aspect of office life went virtual, much to the detriment of cybersecurity.

And no sector was spared. Typical 9-5 offices were not the only ones taking meetings on Zoom and sharing files through Cloud applications. Manufacturers accelerated the IT-OT convergence with remote maintenance requiring external access to critical systems. Healthcare centers were obliged to move patients to tele-health appointments, exposing sensitive patient data and medical equipment to cyber risk. All industries worldwide have been touched by this rapid digital transformation.

So, what does that mean for 2021?

  1. Toward a Zero Trust Architecture

The abundance of remote connections and new digital tools have IT and security teams scrambling to secure their organizations from cyberattack. Each time an employee connects into corporate systems, shares data in cloud platforms, or logs into sensitive resources, new avenues of risk are opened.

With remote work here to stay, IT teams will be looking to implement Zero Trust architectures to ensure that all users are who they say they are before logging into business assets, whether it’s high-tech servers, Salesforce CRM, or cloud marketing budget files. But remote work doesn’t have to mean remote risk. Solutions exist to simply and seamlessly control who has access to what, to secure any endpoint from which access is achieved, and to trace the activity for end-to-end Zero Trust security.

  • Cybersecurity Meets SaaS

With new tools to manage and a whole new cybersecurity program to administer on top of their pre-pandemic to-do list, IT teams will certainly be feeling the pressure. To alleviate the burden, organizations will turn to Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, solutions, which are fast and easy to deploy in the cloud. Managed Services, wherein the provider takes over the administration and management of the solution, will also see an uptick to take cybersecurity solutions management off the plate of small IT teams, freeing them up to focus on other projects. And as mixed IT infrastructures (both on-premise and Cloud-based resources) become increasingly common, well-implemented cybersecurity solutions are key. Between the SaaS model’s agile nature and managed services’ value, organizations will benefit from optimized cybersecurity, not to mention regulatory compliance.

  • Emerging Cyber Culture

As we all spend more and more time online and in digital tools, we are all becoming part of a global digital culture which, in addition to its many strengths and benefits, comes with significant cyber risk. Individuals and organizations alike will develop an increasing awareness of cybersecurity and best practices. Cybersecurity, IoT, secure Cloud and digital identities will become keystones of cyber success.

In tandem, the cybersecurity industry is set to expand as well; with greater awareness comes great opportunity and demand. And as university courses, corporate awareness programs, and even childhood cybersecurity skills are implemented at exponential rates, Cyber Culture will become part of our everyday life.

  • Cybersecurity by Design

Though it might have seemed like just a buzzword, security by design will continue to play a major role in the future of organizations, tools, and social systems. As digital awareness and digital uses grow, so too does cyber threat. Systems and platforms unprepared for a digital future will put everyone at risk.

Cybersecurity by design, the idea that cybersecurity should be integrated and considered from conception of a product or solution, will become a key competitive advantage for industries ranging from software providers to equipment manufacturers. Embedded cybersecurity offers assurance and value to businesses and consumers alike.

  • The Future is Now: AI

As in many areas of tech, Artificial Intelligence is the new frontier of cybersecurity. With many devastating cyber attacks and data breaches making headlines each year, AI will be developed to not only catch and react faster when cyber attacks occur, but to even anticipate them before they strike. With Security Operation Centers (SOCs), international data repositories multiplying, cybersecurity technology will soon include machine learning and behavioral analytics as key features.

These technologies will be used to detect cyber threats and malicious behavior in real time, and prevent the spread of attacks within organizations and across networks (e.g. malware, ransomware, crypto-viruses, etc.). As the use of AI hits the mainstream in 2021, organizations will be empowered to adapt cybersecurity strategies in real time, benefiting small-budgeted SMEs and highly sensitive (and highly targeted) industries like finance and healthcare.

With the pandemic still ongoing and travel still limited, both businesses and their employees are in no hurry to go back to the “old ways” as long as the new, digital tools and remote access are working. To support these new tools and systems, users and businesses will need to make cybersecurity a central part of their plans going forward.  2021 will certainly be a year of major cybersecurity investment to face the changes and challenges that have permanently altered the way we work, meet and live

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