Cybersecurity trends that enterprises should watch out for in 2020

Cyber and Data security is increasingly becoming a priority for enterprises engaged in all industries. However, not all enterprises are being as proactive in setting up security measures as they should be, considering what is at stake here -- operational continuity, reputation, and financial health of the organization. The first step towards protecting enterprises from the reputational, financial and data losses due to cyberattacks is to be aware of the potential threats, especially as they continue to upgrade their existing IT infrastructure with emerging technologies like IoT and 5G. That’s because, as businesses begin to adopt new technologies, they are also opening themselves up to new potential threats associated with these technologies. Following are six trends that enterprise cybersecurity teams must be aware of and prepare for in 2020:

Growing Need for Data Security

With the rise in data breaches in the year 2019, it costed over $2 Trillion, exposing over 4.1 Billion Data Records with an average cost of a data breach to an enterprise of up to $3.29 million. With this, the need to secure more than just the network has emerged, demanding the need for evolution in the Perimeter/Firewall security. It demands firewalls to have the capability to understand and provide visibility on data transmitted across various gateways including SaaS, Web, Email etc. allowing enterprises to set data security keeping data at the center of security and not just the network. This trend and need will act as the catalyst for a more data centric cyber security products.

AI’s growing influence

AI will continue to play a major role for both cybersecurity teams as well as cybercriminals. For cybersecurity teams, Next Generation Firewall solutions and other security tools will be embedded with increasingly advanced AI and machine learning capabilities. This will ensure that cybersecurity tools become more intelligent and contextually aware while analyzing data access attempts and service requests to identify potential threats. As a result, legitimate enterprise users will be able to access data with greater ease while illegitimate attempts to access critical data and applications will be blocked and flagged.

AI will also become a more integral component of cybercriminals’ toolkits. Cybercriminals will use AI-driven malware for intelligently studying and replicating normal user behavior, potentially being able to fool most cybersecurity systems. Similarly, self-learning AI will increasingly aid hackers to break into secure networks by brute-forcing their way through potential vulnerabilities with greater efficacy. Thus, it will become more important than ever for enterprises to have security systems that not only leverage artificial intelligence but are also capable of facing AI-driven cyber threats.

Rise of cyber-physical attacks

The rise of IoT and other technologies that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds, creating cyber-physical networks. Physical elements of these networks, as a result, will become increasingly vulnerable to digital threats like hacks and data theft. For instance, physical systems like power grids, which are being increasingly controlled by IoT and other data-driven technologies, can potentially be crippled, leading to widespread disarray and damage. Similarly, Industrial IoT (IIoT) networks will also see an increasing number of cyberattacks, potentially leading to operational breakdowns and consequently, heavy financial losses and other competitive disadvantages. Thus, endpoint protection and other unified threat management will become key cybersecurity areas for both businesses and government organizations to invest in.

Continued growth of ransomware

Cases of ransomware attacks continue to emerge and the profile of victims continues to grow in variety. From large enterprises to small businesses and vulnerable individuals, everyone is becoming a potential target for ransomware attacks. And ransomware attacks are expected to remain a leading threat to enterprises in the upcoming year as well. Thus, businesses must prepare themselves for better-planned and increasingly damaging ransomware attempts and should continue to educate their employees on the preventive measures for the same.

In addition to making their workforce more aware of ransomware and its potential dangers, businesses should also invest in technologies such as Next Generation Firewall with Contextual Intelligence that can intelligently detect and flag even the most well-disguised ransomware attempts to steal data. They should also ensure that their technology is constantly updated to be able to detect newly emerging threat signatures to minimize the chances of being hit by ransomware attacks.

Persistent preference for phishing

Phishing still remains and will continue to remain the most preferred mode of penetration for cybercriminals. That’s because phishing attempts still remain highly successful in making enterprise users give away vital login-credentials or access to enterprise applications. That’s because, despite the increased investment by enterprises in anti-phishing training and anti-phishing tools, hackers are crafting highly convincing spear-phishing communications informed by thorough research and reconnaissance.

Even employees who have been through anti-ransomware and anti-phishing training are unable to differentiate phishing attempts from legitimate communications. Similar is the case with firewalls and other legacy security systems, which are unable to identify suspicious emails. Thus, the importance of Email Security Solutions with deep-inspection capabilities and other security features like DMARC and DKIM. In addition to these features, a next-generation firewall that also comes with self-learning capabilities can massively reduce the chances of being affected by evolving phishing attempts.

Other trends to watch out for...

There are other trends that enterprises should be aware of such as the rise of 5G as a mainstream communication medium. The adoption of 5G will have widespread implications as it will not only give rise to new opportunities but will also spawn new threats. This will require businesses to revamp their communication networks, and consequently their network security systems. Also, 2020 will be the year when proactive cybersecurity finally takes center stage due to the increasing criticality of data and digital assets. Additionally, the risks associated with inadequate cybersecurity will also see a rise in the coming year, pushing enterprises to invest more in intelligent tools for cyber threat prevention, detection, and response.

Thus, it is in the best interests of cybersecurity teams to invest in technologies that are future-proof, such as a Next Generation Firewall with Contextual Intelligence. By using such tools and always keeping abreast of emerging cybersecurity trends, these enterprises can ensure that their data and other digital assets remain functional and secure, despite the evolving nature of the global cybersecurity landscape.

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