Addressing the Top Cybersecurity Challenges of 2021
In its Global Risks Report 2021, the World Economic Forum listed five top cybersecurity challenges. These are the increased complexity of cyber threats, fragmented and complex regulations, dependence on other parties, lack of cybersecurity expertise, and the difficulty in tracking cybercriminals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technological adoption, yet exposed cyber vulnerabilities and unpreparedness, while at the same time exacerbated the tech inequalities within and between societies,” the report wrote.
Addressing evolving cyber risks requires a holistic approach that necessitates the involvement of policymakers and consumers. However, at the center of it all are the security providers. They are the ones virtually everyone expects to have the solution to emerging cyber woes.
How are cybersecurity experts at present responding to the top challenges in securing networks or IT systems? Here’s a rundown of the solutions and innovations they offer.
Sophisticated solutions for more complex challenges
As organizations expand globally and branch out into different business segments or varying types of operations, they inevitably have to deal with highly complex systems. Digitalization allows them to make things efficient, but it does not eliminate the problem of complexity. This complexity often results in broader exposures to cyber risks. Organizations also turn to cloud computing to address the drawbacks of on-prem setups, but the cloud environment likewise poses its own set of new challenges.
Migrating to the cloud and running a complex IT infrastructure, in particular, need more than basic cyber defense systems. Relying on standard security controls without having a coherent mechanism or platform for monitoring threats and responding to attacks is totally unwise in view of the more aggressive attacks hounding organizations at present. For this, security providers offer enhanced cloud data security.
Cloud-centric protection spans a variety of tactics, approaches, and tools that address concerns specific to the cloud and to the security gaps created as organizations switch to a new infrastructure. This includes database-as-a-service security, automated threat management, web application firewalls, runtime protection, advanced bot defense, as well as serverless and client-side protection.
Security providers design more sophisticated security systems that are anchored on maximum visibility, optimum performance, and broader platform support. They understand that a plain detection/discovery and remediation approach does not cut it. As such, they employ more sophisticated and flexible systems that involve several facets including data discovery, classification, protection policy and alerts, compliance, and auditing.
Unified security solutions to bring coherence among interdependent parties
In connection to the complex IT systems many organizations operate, the World Economic Forum also highlighted the growing dependence of different organizational units on other parties. “Organizations operate in an ecosystem that is likely more extensive and less certain than many may recognize,” the report noted while emphasizing that “the ecosystem is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Security providers understand this growing interdependence that they are offering ways to unify the different security controls and measures among different parts of organizations. An extended security posture management solution, in particular, provides a more efficient way to evaluate and optimize cyber defense systems and ensure quick incident response and the minimization of disruptions.
Because of the increasing complexity of organizational setups, it becomes more difficult to keep track of security controls and address problems. There’s also the tendency of different divisions or departments to implement their separate security systems, which makes security visibility a tall order. Security firms are aware of these challenges, so they are offering ways to create simpler but more comprehensive solutions for complex organizations.
Collaboration vs fragmentation, complex regulations, and cybercriminal tracking
The World Economic Forum report actually lists fragmentation and cybercriminal tracking difficulties as separate challenges. However, it makes sense to put them together here in the context of how security providers are addressing this duo of problems.
Different countries or territories have different policies and legal requirements regarding cybersecurity. Organizations that operate across geographic locations may be having difficulties reconciling their security policies in line with what is required in the areas they are operating in.
On the other hand, cybercriminals have been benefiting from the relative ineffectiveness of organizations and governments in detecting their activities and apprehending them. In the United States, for example, the rate of cybercriminal detection and prosecution has been awfully low at only 0.05 percent. That’s less than a tenth of 1 percent.
So how are security providers dealing with these challenges? The answer is collaboration. Cybersecurity companies nowadays do not shy away from working with each other to augment detection capabilities and knowledge over the latest threats.
Additionally, global initiatives like the MITRE ATT&CK framework help organizations in more effectively detecting and dealing with various forms of adversarial tactics and techniques. These collaborative efforts help everyone access crucial threat intelligence to improve their defenses and ability to remediate and recover.
Moreover, in view of the more aggressive state-sanction cyber attacks, it is noteworthy that many security firms have no qualms identifying specific countries or governments as sources of state-sanction cyber assaults. They readily share their security findings for the benefit of everyone and to have more effective responses and preventive measures against attacks.
Third-party cybersecurity to fill the expertise gap
Lastly, the World Economic Forum’s listing of cybersecurity expertise shortage coincides with the findings and perception of many other organizations and security providers themselves. One report alarmingly indicates that the cyber skills gap has already persisted for five years.
Security providers see this need and are also viewing this as an opportunity to offer their expertise to enterprises as well as government institutions. Many are offering third-party cybersecurity platforms, providing organizations that cannot afford to establish and operate their own dedicated cybersecurity teams with a cost-efficient and dependable option.
Third-party cybersecurity solutions do not necessarily solve the cybersecurity expertise insufficiency problem in its entirety, but they serve as effective alternatives especially for startups and smaller enterprises that prefer to focus their resources on other priorities.
As the World Economic Forum report suggests, “It will be important to plan for the expected tenure of experienced professionals and recognize the long-term benefits that will accrue from a reputation for cultivating this expertise, transmitted from veterans to newcomers entering the field.”
Cybersecurity solution providers are clearly taking the challenges of new threats and attacks seriously. Their innovations and new security technologies are valuable to organizations. However, it is important to make it clear that security providers are not the only ones responsible for keeping up with security threats and preventing them from aggravating into bigger problems. Everyone, from individual device users to government institutions, has a role to play, as attacks keep evolving and relentlessly find new targets.