As 2021 begins, organizations are facing an array of cybersecurity threats. Some may be familiar threats while others are new.
But what's consistent among them all is the cyber criminal's goal: to steal your data. It does not matter what industry you are in or how big your company is; your business runs on networks that hackers are trying to breach so they can hijack your data and cause harm.
Below we look at some of the core services that can protect your organization against heightened security risks. These trends highlight the solutions your organization should focus its cybersecurity efforts this year.
Demand is high and getting higher for effective firewall management services. Sophisticated cyber attacks using malware, ransomware, application-layer attacks, and web-based exploit kits means that organizations – from SMBs to enterprises – seek better ways to protect their network infrastructure. What's more, advances in cloud technology, which thousands of businesses rely on every day, present new vulnerabilities that can lead to security breaches. As a result, organizations need their firewall management to effectively utilize advanced intelligence and technical expertise to deter modern threats.
Organizations needing to meet HIPAA compliance face increased risks due to the work environments created by COVID-19. Sensitive medical information is a valuable target for would-be hackers; when that information is shared across internal and external networks, hackers seek ways to intercept it. That's why HIPAA-oriented organizations must understand the risks they face as they attempt to achieve their objectives. Risk awareness coupled with GAP assessments are a priority for good reason: customers deserve it. Federal law requires it. And your business reputation depends on it.
Crowdstrike issued a report last month explaining why incident response services are critical to a mature security posture in 2021. Several important trends are discussed in the report, including how remote work changes the way organizations should think about security, how ransomware is evolving, why cybercriminals are excited about advances in cloud technology, the vulnerabilities in public-facing applications, and the need for businesses to continuously improve security to stop future breaches. Remember: your organization is only as strong as its cybersecurity incident response plan. Recognizing that is driving demand for this critical service.
Mobile device use among employees has shifted in dramatic ways. Increasingly, employees use their own devices to connect to secure business networks. And while employees now need that flexibility due to the pandemic, employers must monitor the security, connectivity, privacy, and management issues that come with widespread use. To complicate matters, employees have varied mobile service providers, and their devices run diverse operating systems, which utilize different security practices. The inherent risks of a bring your own device (BYOD) policy have led to rapid growth and demand for mobile device management (MDM) software that IT departments use to monitor, manage, and secure employees' laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that are being used in the workplace. With security and data breaches becoming costlier every year, MDM tools have become essential to the modern workplace. In 2021, that trend will continue to grow.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued updates to its recommended security protocols last year. These recommendations reflect the advanced threats organizations face from cyberattacks today and provide a strong foundation for building a modern cybersecurity defense. The tools and safeguards NIST recommends strengthen the systems, products, and services offered by the nation's businesses, government, and critical infrastructure. Its tools are intended for a broad audience of specialists, from security experts to systems developers to cloud computing providers. Organizations of every size and industry should be familiar with them. However, understanding NIST security controls is a time-consuming and complicated process. Many businesses see the value in assessing and working to meet NIST standards. Consequently, NIST assessments are highly sought-after services in 2021.
Because organizations face an abundance of cyber threats in 2021, there is a growing demand for penetration testing services. Also known as a pen test, penetration testing services help companies identify vulnerabilities through simulated cyberattacks. Pen testing can cover a range of application systems, including APIs and servers, to uncover exploitable weaknesses in your security posture. The insights that companies gain from pen testing help patch vulnerabilities and strengthen your security policies. The test typically has five stages:
- Planning and reconnaissance
- Gaining access
- Maintaining access
Together, the five stages assess your current security situation, identify weaknesses, and help shore up your cybersecurity response plan.
Demand for security incident and event management (SIEM) technology solutions has been strong for years, and 2021 has no signs of it slowing down. Threat management is the primary driver, followed by monitoring and compliance. Many cybersecurity experts agree there will be a greater focus on risk-based alerts this year, with cloud and app security becoming a priority for most businesses. Companies also need out-of-the-box compliance reporting and threat visibility that extends from code-to-cloud. SIEM's resiliency in large part is due to its flexibility and ability to adapt to business needs. Since security deployment comes in many shapes and sizes, businesses are seeking solutions that fit their particular circumstances.
New strategies and tools help organizations improve cybersecurity preparedness, but at the end of the day, employees' situational awareness determines if an organization gets hacked. Simulated phishing and awareness training are popular (and necessary) today because it is a vital learning resource for teams – regardless of your level of cybersecurity experience. From CEOs to assistants, every employee is capable of letting down their guard and mistakenly downloading malware or sharing contact information. Awareness training improves situational awareness so individuals know how to handle situations based on your security policies. It's a fundamental part of your overall cybersecurity preparedness and should not be overlooked. Due to so many high-profile cyberattacks, companies are becoming more aware that we are all potential targets and taking steps to strengthen their defenses.
2021 is all about protecting your data. To do so organizations must be prepared for attacks and understand how to manage risk well. One method to ensure service providers securely manage your data and protect your organization's interests is to maintain SOC 2 compliance. SOC 2 defines criteria for managing customer data based on five "trust service principles." These are security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SOC 2 compliance means SaaS providers do their part to protect your data as well – an essential feature in today's threat-heavy marketplace.
Vendor Risk Assessment
We've all seen the headlines citing damaging security breaches at major organizations. And while it may come as a surprise to some that criminals attacked security companies themselves, it is not surprising when you look at where and how the breaches occurred. Sophisticated cybercriminals often target vendors when trying to breach a company with a relatively strong security posture. Known as a supply chain attack, they are challenging to prevent and even harder to stop once the breach occurs. That's why vendor risk assessment is such a hot topic in the cybersecurity world today. Companies must trust their vendors and know what they do to protect themselves and their customers. Without proper planning and protocols, even the most secure companies can become cybersecurity victims.
There are many factors to consider when assessing your organization's cybersecurity posture. That's why we recommend working with a trusted, experienced partner to identify vulnerabilities, develop an incident response plan, and keep your data safe.
InfoSystems and our partners are standing by to discuss your cybersecurity needs. Contact us today for a consultation.