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XMedius 2020 Predictions: Cybersecurity - Four Trends to Keep an Eye On

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Sébastien Boire-Lavigne, EVP and GM of Data Solutions, XMedius

Cybersecurity - Four Trends to Keep an Eye On

Cybersecurity is an evolving field, constantly in flux due to new threats, regulations and other factors. It can be difficult to predict new threats that may arise, especially considering the likelihood of unanticipated new technologies, but here are some cybersecurity predictions we believe will hold true in 2020:

1.    IoT Security will Improve without Impairing Usability

IoT solutions, such as smart home devices and those used in business (e.g. in manufacturing) have had a massive surge in popularity over the last few years. An unfortunate drawback of this is that they can provide a relatively easy attack vector for hackers. IoT devices often lack security requiring users to identify and authenticate themselves to access the device. The result is that they can provide an access point to the otherwise secure network. Because these devices are extremely convenient and increasingly popular, it is vital that their security matches their usability.

Inversely, secure IoT devices must not be so unwieldy that they drive individuals and teams within organizations to leverage shadow IT solutions. These are potentially even more insecure since it is borderline impossible to enforce company security policies on them. This can expose an organization to a great deal of risk.

IoT product manufacturers know about these weaknesses, so we expect them to place a heavy emphasis on enhancing the security of their devices, striving to reduce the attack surface for would-be hackers.

2.    Traditional Fax Is Dying

Traditional analog fax machines hooked up to phone systems are still commonplace in 2019. There are multiple reasons for this. Companies are often dependent on fax OR use it so infrequently that they don't see the need to change it. They may also see machines as an investment that is still paying off or depreciating.

While most organizations recognize fax machines are slow and unreliable, they may feel like there is no other option.

The reality is these machines leave the door open to security risks, especially involving accidental compliance violations (such as with HIPAA, FERPA, GDPR, and other privacy regulations) or accidental releases of personal information. These machines are slow and often used by multiple employees. Given that traditional fax generally sends one page at a time (rather than a batch transmission), there can be long waits to use the machine, making it tempting to leave long documents behind on the machine while it finishes faxing them. Similarly, incoming faxes may sit on the machine for extended periods of time, so any random employee can pick up and view them.

This creates a need for organizations to move away from traditional fax to a Fax over IP (FoIP) solution. These solutions eliminate the need to rely on traditional fax machines, allowing employees to securely exchange documents directly from MFPs, workstations and even mobile devices. This helps improve employee efficiency by eliminating long waiting periods to use a fax machine while reducing risk of a compliance violation. Leveraging a FoIP solution also generally results in a greatly reduced total cost of ownership over traditional fax given that maintenance costs are also greatly reduced.

3.    Cyber Fraud Will Increase

Most people are familiar with ransomware attacks; they often involve a nefarious email designed to look like a legitimate one, enticing the recipient to open a file. That file then locks down the PC, or worse, the whole network, and demands the sender receive payment before unlocking the network. If they unlock it at all.

We expect this type of attack to continue, however we also expect to see a rise in a new, related form of cyberattack. Knowing that people and organizations are getting better about thwarting ransomware attacks, hackers are now striving to get a foothold in the network only to do nothing... at least right away. Instead of attempting to extort companies that may not pay, they watch for an opportunity to steal financial information or leverage a compromised email account for executive fraud.

With new machine learning technology, like deepfakes, there is a strong likelihood we'll also see an uptick in relatively new forms of fraud, such as executive fraud over the phone.

4.    Two Factor Authentication (2FA) Is a Must, But Not a Guarantee

An alarming number of organizations still don't leverage 2FA in their security. The reality is, everyone should be using 2FA and organizations should strive to do even more in 2020.

Cyber criminals have already come up with workarounds for 2FA, which means organizations can't assume it makes them safe. Those currently using 2FA should ensure their solution has enhanced one-time password (OTP) proxy detection, prompts additional security challenges for log ins from suspicious IP addresses, and offers more robust suspicious activity notification settings. An even better option is to leverage multi-factor authentication (MFA), which expands on 2FA by implementing additional security checks, often presenting an image only known by the account holder to verify the log-in page is authentic.

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Security risks are constantly growing and evolving. While we expect these to be some major trends and developments in 2020, it is vital for your organization's security team to keep on its toes. Beyond security policies and controls, the most effective deterrents to cybercrime are a diligent security team and thorough security training (especially during onboarding) to keep employees up to date on the latest security best practices and threats.

To learn more about security, these trends, and other trends (such as in Unified Communications) XMedius expects to come to the forefront in 2020, visit our website at www.xmedius.com.

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About the Author

Sebastien Boire-Lavigne 

For nearly 20 years, Sébastien Boire-Lavigne has been a driving force at XMedius, a global leader in the field of enterprise communications, and has been instrumental in developing XMedius's technology strategy. Among his many accomplishments, Sébastien led the development of the ground-breaking XMedius Fax-over-IP technology, cloud platforms, and XM SendSecure.

His versatility, wide-ranging technical skills and keen business acumen allow him to seamlessly bridge the technical-business divide. In addition to leading Product Development, he is also responsible for Customer Services, IT and Information Security.

Published Tuesday, January 14, 2020 7:20 AM by David Marshall
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