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Cybersecurity

5 Cyber Security Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2021

Because few people foresaw the dramatic developments of the past year, cybersecurity experts clarified several cybersecurity trends that persisted or even increased amid global uncertainty.

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5 Cyber Security Trends You Can not Ignore

Because few people foresaw the dramatic developments of the past year, cybersecurity experts clarified several cybersecurity trends that persisted or even increased amid global uncertainty.

This story will dive into several cybersecurity trends that pose a considerable potential risk in 2021 and provide practical advice to help entities minimize overall risks.

For most tech corporations, the first quarter of 2021 is just another cybersecurity crossroad. Currently, they’re shifting staff back into the office and managing the risks and the outcomes of WFH policies at the same time.

For cybercriminals, on the other hand, this opens a door.

We’ve seen how the proliferation of remote work has resulted in undetected security susceptibilities, which will impact the corporate world in the months ahead. But it’s not all bad news.

This year should also bring new automation opportunities to help companies in the ongoing struggle to more with less. But before that, let’s explain how these cybersecurity threats impact individuals and companies alike and what you can do to be more digitally secure.

1. Lockdown Defines the New Business Style

As companies have shifted their employees to flexible models or full-time work from home models, so have the attack areas. Cybercriminals take advantage of current events and shifting circumstances to exploit those who are the most susceptible.

There is a big chance you have already come across a text message or email scam linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. That, or countless charity agencies that claim to be supporting front-line employees. Or even worse, those who pretend to sell essentials like protective masks, hand sanitisers, or food.

The concerning truth is that cybercrime as a whole has peaked at 600 per cent since the outburst of the global pandemic.

There’s a ruling uncertainty that doesn’t seem to end. As we continue to wait for the future of the pandemic and restrictions, the only certain thing is cybercrime.

Restrictions have permanently altered the business space, but shockingly, productivity has increased by 47 per cent YOY despite WFH policies. That, however, is another reason for the corporate world to discuss security needs.

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2. Ransomware – All-Time High

Expect to see the ongoing growth of ransomware and monetization of exploits throughout the year. As increasingly more businesses were forced to apply WFH policies for all employees, many loosened their infrastructure and created security gaps or invitations for hackers to exploit what they wish. This famous malware made history last year, contributing to the first reported death linked to a cyber-attack.

Industry trends don’t look that peaceful either. In a 582 information security experts survey, 50 per cent say they don’t believe their company is prepared to battle ransomware attacks.

The Healthcare industry is one of the hardest hit and most susceptible industries because:

  • PHI or Personal Health Information can sell hundreds of dollars per record, and it’s typically sold again to cybercriminals.
  • Their security systems are mostly driven by compliance and not by proper security measures.

3. Supply Chains – Successful But at What Cost

Solar Wind’s case leads by example, but not in the good sense. Their recent security failure brought global attention to companies’ need to make cybersecurity a top priority for the years that follow.

In this case, an advanced supply chain attack impacted more than 18,000 clients, including fortune 500 businesses and government agencies.

Reports show that 50 per cent of cyber attacks today target the networks and those linked to the supply chain platforms.

Supply chain attacks on open-source software also surged by 430%, according to a Sonatype report. With this deeply rooted in your head and systems, it doesn’t matter how steady your cybersecurity measures are if your vendors have been compromised.

Once hackers have entered your network, they will try to move laterally to reach their privileges and gain control of your system. Or, as in most cases, they will hibernate for months to years at a time, collecting and exfiltrating data.
To eliminate or at least reduce such threats, most WFH employees or shoppers rely on obfuscated servers to bypass strict censorship and remain private while using retail platforms.

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4. MFA Use Will Escalate

Given the peaking cases of cybersecurity threats, it comes as no surprise that multi-factor authentication is now seen as the gold standard.

Tech giants like Microsoft advised users to stop using device-based MFA and instead endorse using app-based authenticators and security keys.

The traditional SMS may come in handy. However, these messages don’t seem to be encrypted. This only allows threat actors to automatically undergo the middle attack and access the one-time passcode in a second.

Online banking is an example of such risks. Recent reports showed that a massive banking fraud operation compromised more than 16,000 devices, causing over 11 million damages.

With cases like this lying on top of their minds, organizations will shift towards application-based multi-factor authentication like Google Authenticator whenever possible.

5. More Cyber Security Disputes Will Follow

It took one massive data breach crisis for the government and private sector to start a dispute. Many would say the Cold War of cybersecurity was already here, but this could lead to something greater.

The recent data breach crisis has prevalent implications but currently can only be speculated on. It’s a matter of time until the true impact of this attack will be uncovered.

As far as we know, the U.S government agencies were targeted along with other less privileged organizations using the famous monitoring platform, SolarWinds. The chances are that in 2021, considerable improvements will be made into advancing government IT systems, and different types of retaliation will partake.

Take China; they started to requalify their army in cybersecurity schools, with goals to become the world’s leader by 2027.

As cybersecurity warfare seems to advance, it’s clear as daylight that cybersecurity experts will become more valued than building nuclear weapons.

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Cybersecurity

How To Protect Sensitive Data When You Outsourcing

Companies of any scale have been leveraging this practice, trying to cut development costs and access the rich talent pool. However, despite offering significant benefits, IT outsourcing often causes serious data security concerns.

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Why Should You Outsource the IT Department in Your Company

According to Statista, by the end of 2021, the total value of IT outsourcing services will exceed $413.72 billion compared to $395.57 billion in 2019.

Companies of any scale have been leveraging this practice, trying to cut development costs and access the rich talent pool. However, despite offering significant benefits, IT outsourcing often causes serious data security concerns. According to the statistics, about 65% of companies that have used this solution have faced an information breach.

But how to keep data secure while taking full advantage of outsourcing services? This article has gathered guidelines that will let you protect company data and enjoy collaboration with an outsourcing software development company.

1. Ensure In-House Security

When it comes to outsourcing custom software services, first, make sure that you have a robust in-house data security policy. Here are some important tips to follow:

  • Distinguish between sensitive and common data using data classification.
  • Use different ways to protect digital content, such as encryption, digital rights management (DRM), tokenization, etc.
  • Establish strict access control using passwords, PINs, etc.
  • Educate your employees not only to use strong credentials but also to change them regularly.
  • Guide your employees on how to handle and protect the company’s sensitive data.
  • Build a strict Internet usage policy. Internet access in the company should be restricted to business needs only since personal web usage significantly increases the risks of malicious access to valuable information.

2. Choose the Right Outsourcing Vendor

Following the establishment of an internal security policy, the next step is selecting the outsourcing company to meet your security requirements. When choosing among various vendors, opt for the one that:

  • Provides strict security policy.
  • Has a good reputation in keeping customers’ sensitive data protected.
  • Educates its employees about the importance of sensitive data protection and signs non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with them.
  • Considers customer data protection as a core company value.

To understand if vendors meet the following criteria, investigate their data protection measures. It’s reasonable to ask outsourcing companies to define their strategies to store and process valuable information, data and database protection approaches, and practices implemented for vulnerabilities management. What is more, ensure that your potential vendor employs optimal cybersecurity technologies to provide an added level of data protection.

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A trustworthy outsourcing company guarantees data security on three basic levels:

  • The physical level ensures that a third-party vendor can protect your data from physical actions and events such as natural disasters, fires, thefts, etc.
  • The technological level includes various hardware and software tools used to protect data from cyber threats. These solutions encompass email filters, antiviral software, DLP software, etc.
  • The administrative level provides a smooth and efficient security policy. It handles PoLP, Internet use, data protection, NDA agreements, and other issues to prevent sensitive data breaches.

3. Use Principle of the Least Privilege (PoLP)

The principle of the least privilege implies that a user, an application, a program, or a process should have only the minimum of the rights necessary to fulfil their functions. Not only does it reduce the risks of a cyberattack, but it also prevents the spread of malware since it’s impossible to elevate privileges to increase access to a company’s critical systems and sensitive data.

PoLP has to be an integral component of the IT outsourcing policy. When granting privileges to your outsourcing vendor, make sure they have only the necessary amount of access to the company’s valuable assets and continuously review the given rights.

4. Conduct Regular Security Audits

Make sure your company conducts regular application, database, and network security monitoring. This way, you will reduce potential security issues, identify and address vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Moreover, it’s a valuable practice to determine whether your outsourcing vendor still maintains data security controls and follows the established outsourcing rules and regulations.

5. Keep Reviewing Your Data Security Measures With Vendors

When cooperating with a third-party vendor, you should never lose control. Even if you have long-term and productive relationships, it’s important to check if your outsourcing partner continues to meet security standards. Here are some aspects to pay attention to:

  • Make sure that the vendor deactivates unused user accounts. Otherwise, such accounts can be compromised and used with malicious intentions.
  • Find out if your outsourcing partner monitors outbound internet traffic and emails for potential data breaches.
  • Ensure the vendor’s user accounts meet necessary security requirements (strong credentials, adequate privileges, etc.)

6. Ensure a Legal Backup

Although the contract doesn’t ensure complete data protection, it can serve as a legal backup. Sign an agreement with the outsourcing vendor, defining essential security requirements. For example, in this document, you can specify that it’s prohibited to transfer your company’s sensitive data to complex media, or that the data transmitted online should be encrypted, etc.

Final Thoughts

Outsourcing has gained widespread popularity, providing companies with a vast number of operational and financial benefits. Although there are some potential risks related to data security, they should not become an obstacle to experience outsourcing.

By building a robust in-house data security policy, selecting the vendor that follows high-security standards as well, and conducting regular privacy and security audits, you will be able to achieve a win-win situation, enjoying the advantages of outsourcing and keeping your sensitive data safe.

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