2021 looks like it will be a rather difficult year for IT security and the ongoing pandemic seems to be the root cause; with the spread of Covid-19, many companies have had to turn to smart working, as they were obliged to implement this option in order to continue trading, but at the same time this has led to increased risks associated with web use.
IT criminals exploit both the vulnerability of some domestic networks and the fact that many remote workers tend to underestimate the importance of cyber security. Through the use of effective phishing techniques, they are then able to steal employees’ credentials and access company networks relatively easily.
Reduction of IT security budgets
Although anti-Covid preventative measures and remote working will likely continue for most of 2021 at least, some companies (in search of a way to cut costs and balance accounts) are making their already precarious position worse, by planning a reduction in their cyber security budget.
This will oblige companies to find alternative funds to support that choice, in particular the transfer of services to cloud. IT security departments will have to pay the price by finding a more efficient way to manage available resources, or perhaps through the use of solutions requiring minimal implementation costs, such as DNS connection.
Data from a recent survey involving a thousand CIOs and CISOs from nine EMEA countries (Europe, Middle East and Africa) seems to support this scenario. The research highlighted how 68% of those interviewed are already planning to reduce investment in cyber security.
The same survey also reveals how in the year 2020, 1% of businesses experienced IT-related problems, involving IT security in particular and the excess demand for band width and services.
This signals a reversal of the trend seen in recent years, when companies no longer considered efficient digital protection a mere legal requirement but also a distinct competitive advantage, worthy of considerable investment.
Some precautions against a potential peak in IT breaches
With a growing number of employees obliged to work remotely, an increase in IT breaches is to be expected. This phenomenon, resulting from the need to make information more accessible to workers, allows cyber criminals to take possession of data without much difficulty.
The arrival of 5G also represents a problem for company IT security managers. This technology allows criminals to exploit its response speed and band-width to launch attacks which are not only efficient but also discreet.
The theft of sensitive data will be one of the main consequences of updated information access policies. Company web defences must therefore concentrate on preventing and protecting against such events. It is therefore useful to remember some practical tips for safe navigation:
- Create complex passwords and change them regularly;
- Use an access system based on roles, to provide greater control over log-in;
- Ensure that all types of data are encrypted, whether mobile or static.
These small steps will help to reduce the chance of hackers gaining access to sensitive data. It is a very important operation, considering the fact that the IT sector faces a difficult period ahead, with many issues to be resolved and only limited resources available.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith