Whether you’re working at a small business and looking to safeguard them for the future, or you’re an IT consultant looking for areas to beef up your skills, these are 4 major cybersecurity trends to keep in mind over the next year.
Outsourcing IT personnel
This first statement is likely something you’ve been hearing a lot of, but there are some interesting things to learn from it in the year ahead. Firstly, the shortage of in-house IT staff that has been an issue for some small and mid-size businesses over the past few years doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon. The simple explanation is this: so many cybersecurity threats, so little budget. Not to mention a shortage of available talent. So, a growing number of businesses are turning to outsourced IT support for security system maintenance and responding to attacks.
So what’s next? Well first, expect to see outsourced talent being brought in more frequently not just for their skills, but also for their knowledge. Business owners are looking for more than just someone to look after their network security and troubleshoot issues when they come up. There’s likely to be an increased demand for (remote) consultations on employee cybersecurity training, for audits of existing cybersecurity, and for insight into the top threats their specific business is likely to face. Why? Because preparation and prevention are going to offset the need for more personnel to deal with issues as they happen. In one survey, 53% percent of companies claimed that the need for unbiased insight is one of the main reasons they’re turning to outside help1. The same survey showed that 57% of midmarket businesses look to outsourced partners for advice and consulting. This means that IT consultants who offer auditing and educational services are in demand, and that demand is only going to increase.
Keep your eyes on the skies because the future is in the clouds. Our attempt at a clever way of saying, “The number of small and mid-size businesses adopting cloud services has jumped substantially in a relatively short period of time.” Point is, growth is happening super-fast. According to one survey, we’re talking “51% to 72% cloud adoption in only 4 years” fast2.
So what’s next? The migration to cloud services is expected to continue rapidly. Additionally, the number of cloud-based applications utilized by individual companies will increase dramatically3. But not all cloud-based services are created equal, and the security is widely divergent from product to product. That’s where the insight of IT professionals will need to come in. Small and medium businesses will be looking for consultants to weigh in on what cloud solutions are actually going to work for their business while offering greater security.
Remember when artificial intelligence was barely anything more than just a really cool sci-fi plot device? (Or in some cases, a really bad plot device, but that’s a debate for another blog entirely.) But now, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are ubiquitous tools in almost every aspect of life and business, including the business of cybersecurity. The most obvious benefit of bringing machine learning into the world of cybersecurity is the speed in which these programs can identify and adapt to constantly evolving digital threats.
So what’s next? If the sci-fi era of AI taught us anything, it’s that there’s always a catch. Unlike sci-fi, that catch isn’t robots taking over and enslaving humanity. Probably. Hopefully. The real current issue with AI solutions is that they’re only as good as the data they are given, making them a still-imperfect solution, even in the year ahead. So, while machine learning continues to improve, it’s best to think of these solutions as a secondary line of defense. Programs that integrate with and support a company’s existing security system will be the best bet for now.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices that utilize an Internet connection in one way or another, encompassing everything from mobile devices to wearable tech. That’s a lot of… well, things. However, as the IoT landscape continues to grow, we’re already seeing it become a breeding ground for some of the biggest cyber attacks, with the security in this area struggling to keep pace with the development and release of new IoT devices. It’s been estimated that by the end of this year, a quarter of attacks on enterprises and businesses will be IoT-based attacks4.
So what’s next? To respond to the rapidly developing industry of IoT cyberattacks, a number of solutions are going to become major players in the coming years, with development already underway and growth expected anywhere between 1–5 years from now. Those solutions include IoT-specific antivirus software and firewalls, user-authentication mechanisms, integration of data encryption into IoT devices, and services like IoT security analytics5. Keeping an eye on these developing technologies will ensure you’ve got answers when small businesses have questions.
Trying to keep up with the rapidly evolving cyber threats in 2020 can seem like a daunting task. But here’s the thing: you can get an upper hand by staying on top of the latest trends in cybersecurity, but the foundation you already have is what’s going to continue to benefit you the most. An estimated 99% of vulnerabilities that hackers are likely to exploit will be those that are already known to IT professionals6. So you already have the most important tools you’re going to need. It’s just about finding the next set that you want to add to your kit to future-proof your career.