It’s a year that will never be forgotten – the year that will forever go down as one of the “worst years ever.” Sure, that might be a little dramatic, but we can all agree it has been an interesting roller coaster of events. One event we're seeing is the complete shift of the office environment to the remote work environment seen by a very large percentage of businesses and corporations due to COVID-19. Even small, locally owned businesses and restaurants have completely shut down in light of the pandemic to keep their employees and community safe. However, with all these seemingly negative facets, we’re beginning to see some upward trends in the cybersecurity realm – and hey, we’ll take ANY good news right now! It’s difficult to do, but we must stay positive in a world full of negative.
So, what trends are we seeing exactly?
- Cybersecurity professionals are in higher demand – yes, we are aware that cybersecurity professionals are already in high demand and short supply as businesses continue to ramp up their investments and grow their teams. But, with the current events happening around the world, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow as the threat landscape increases. With major global events comes a much larger playing field for cybercriminals – leveraging off global and national topics and praying on vulnerable victims.
Adobe has reported that 40 percent of CIOs expect to increase headcount in their cybersecurity organizations compared to their original plans. We’ll begin seeing a major increase in people being required to staff help desks, attend to security processes such as supporting devices outside the office, support with web servers, secure remote access ports, and troubleshoot endpoint devices.
Another factor that will drive the demand for cybersecurity professionals is the increased use of SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications by employees. These services must be properly configured, monitored, and controlled at all times.
Also, a lot of the demand is stemming from limited travel by cybersecurity professionals, thus demanding contracted or independent workers to meet the increase in demand for field support.
- Rapidly changing security processes – as we stated above, the major shift to remote work environments will likely be the driving factor for rethinking your organization’s current security processes. There are many risks involved with shifting your workforce to remote locations, and the need for support on secure endpoints is critical! These endpoints can be anything from a laptop, cellular device, or a desktop. The IDC states that 70 percent of successful breaches originate from weak endpoints.
With that being said, all employees must be made aware of these risks while working remotely and educated on cyberattacks such as ransomware and phishing emails, which have risen in recent months due to our unsettled state. These attacks have a higher likelihood of being successful as users are more eager to click on phishing emails related to current events or financial relief programs to help during this time. While security processes are being evaluated and updated, be sure to implement a strong security awareness training program to help your business employees stay educated and prepared for potential attacks – because cyberattacks aren't a matter of if, but when.
And of course, Zero Trust Security will be ramping up out of frustration of weak outside defenses. You can expect to see a rise in Zero Trust projects moving forward and prompting organizations to micro-segment their networks while investing in MFA (multi-factor authentication) and needing “all hands on deck” from cybersecurity professionals.
- New technologies are securing business – due to recent events, certain technologies could be gaining more attention and investment by organization leaders learning their functionalities and benefits to their overall security processes.
For one, adopting a “Zero Trust” security strategy will drive a lot of these technologies, such as software-defined networking services that allow organizations to segment networks based on access policies and the use of federated identity management systems that consolidate on-premises and cloud access controls.
Unified endpoint management (UEM), which is a technology that enables IT organizations to manage the influx of desktop and mobile devices and their consistent security updates, and security information and event management (SIEM), which helps aggregate and analyze activity from many different resources such as network devices, servers, domain controllers, and more while applying artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to spot and target intruders, will both see in an increase as well.
FINALLY! There is some good news in 2020! And if you’re going to school for cybersecurity or thinking about starting a career in cybersecurity, now (and always) is a great time to jump in. Fortunately, in our industry, with big crises comes major leaps and bounds in improving and strengthening process efficiency, security measures, and innovation in technology. So, we can thank 2020 for a little bit of silver lining, right?