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4 Cybersecurity Threats You Should Prepare for in 2021

June 2021
Sagenet Blog 2021 Security Threats
By Neil Christie

Here’s the thing about cybersecurity. Attackers need to find just one vulnerability to gain access to systems and data or launch a malware attack. Organizations, on the other hand, must secure every aspect of their IT infrastructure and keep up with an ever-expanded array of threats. The complexity can be mindboggling.

Getting a handle on cybersecurity begins with understanding the most likely types of attack. To that end, the Information Security Forum recently published its list of the top security threats that organizations will face in 2021. Let’s dive in.

Phishing, Malware and Other Cybercrime

The COVID-19 pandemic has given cybercriminals cover for cyberattacks. Phishing emails touting information on the pandemic and economic relief programs have lured unsuspecting users into opening malicious content. Ransomware attacks and other forms have cyber extortion have skyrocketed, along with business email compromise and traditional fraud such as fake charities and loans.

According to the Verizon Data Breach Incident Report, 94 percent of malware is spread via email, and 80 percent of social engineering attacks are initiated through phishing. Robust email security should therefore be prioritized in 2021. It requires more than just spam filtering and malware protection — organizations need tools that validate the source of emails and ensure that they’re not intercepted or modified in transit.

Expanded Attack Surface

The shift to work-from-home models has greatly expanded the IT environment that organizations must protect. Employees are using personal devices and home Wi-Fi networks to access corporate resources, significantly increasing the risk of cyberattack. Additionally, many organizations are pushing compute and storage resources to the network edge to minimize latency and enable real-time applications, creating new targets for cyber threats.

Perimeter security, while still essential, cannot protect this dispersed environment. Organizations need a layered approach incorporating the zero trust model, endpoint device protection and security analytics that provide end-to-end visibility and control.

Insider Threats

Malicious and negligent insiders pose a very real threat to business. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2020 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report, security incidents caused by users with legitimate access to IT resources increased 47 percent in the past two years, with the cost of such incidents rising 31 percent to $11.45 million. The study found that 62 percent of such incidents involved security policy violations and mishandling of sensitive data rather than malicious intent.

Addressing insider threats begins with establishing policies that are frequently reinforced with employee education programs. Organizations should also implement least-access privilege practices that are enforced by role- and identity-based access controls. Data loss prevention solutions can examine emails, file transfers and downloads to protect against data leakage.

Digital Transformation

Organizations have continued their digital transformation (DX) initiatives despite the health crisis and associated economic impacts. In fact, some organizations have intensified their efforts to digitize business processes and strategies to reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies and boost productivity.

However, the race to digital transformation often comes at a cost of cybersecurity. Organizations implementing advanced technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation may open up security vulnerabilities that expose sensitive data. New technology tools must be thoroughly assessed and integrated into the security environment.

How SageNet Can Help

SageNet’s cybersecurity professionals can help you focus your security efforts on the most significant threats to your business. We offer consulting services that leverage expert assessments and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities and help both business executives and IT make better decisions about security and regulatory compliance.

We can help you take advantage of leading security tools to protect your environment, and provide ongoing monitoring and incident response to identify active threats. Give us a call today for a more secure 2021.

Neil Christie

Neil Christie

Director of Cybersecurity Solutions Architecture

My passion is finding ways for organizations to function securely from start to finish.

Get to know Neil

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