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MobileIron 2021 Predictions: COVID-19's lasting effect on cybersecurity and what to expect in the new year

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

COVID-19's lasting effect on cybersecurity and what to expect in the new year

By Brian Foster, Senior Vice President, Product Management, MobileIron

Let's face it - 2020 was a difficult year for cybersecurity. Hacks, scams, and ransomware attacks were at an all-time high. From healthcare breaches to mobile phishing scams brought on by COVID-19, cybersecurity has faced a slew of unprecedented attacks. With remote work extended into 2021 and COVID-19 cases on the rise, we must prepare for another busy year in the cybersecurity space. Here's what to expect in 2021:

The Everywhere Enterprise is here to stay

The enterprise is now everywhere - data resides everywhere, work takes place everywhere, and employees communicate with customers everywhere. People will continue working remotely from anywhere, not necessarily the office. We won't see 100% of companies go back to the office in 2021, and we also won't see 100% stay remote. Employees will have the autonomy to decide where they want to work - and enterprises will need to take the security measures needed to make it happen. The 2021 working persona will be someone who works on the go using a range of mobile devices, such as tablets and phones. The stagnant desktop employee will no longer be a reality.  

Health institutions will be the most targeted group for ransomware attacks

Generally, as a vertical becomes more important, prominent attackers leverage it as their greatest opportunity - so it is no secret that hospitals will be a huge target for ransomware attacks in 2021. With sensitive patient data flowing throughout legacy infrastructures 24/7, health institutions will be a hacker's dream.  

COVID-19 will finally be a catalyst for change in authentication and the password will finally die

Last year we said that passwords would be eradicated by 2025 - little did we know COVID-19 would come in and kill them 4 years sooner. Alongside this, one challenge we will see in 2021, is people figuring out how to go from relying on passwords for authentication to not just second factor, but to totally removing that additional friction that passwords create for the enterprise.  

Mobile workers, fearing privacy concerns, will be the most dangerous risk to your enterprise

In the new WFH era, we're constantly working on the go using a range of mobile devices, such as tablets and phones, relying on public Wi-Fi networks, remote collaboration tools, and cloud suites for work. As we settle into a new year of this reality, mobile workers will be the biggest security risk as they view IT security as a hindrance to productivity and believe that IT security compromises personal privacy.

We'll use AI as a new form of authentication

Password related cyberattacks continue to dominate every industry, with there being a reported more than 88 billion credential stuffing attacks alone in a 24 month period. To overcome this issue and kill the password for good, organizations need to take a mobile-centric zero trust security approach. Using AI and machine learning, this approach goes beyond identity management and gateway approaches by utilizing a more comprehensive set of attributes to determine compliance before granting access. It validates devices, establishes user context, checks app authorization, verifies the network, and detects and remediates threats before granting secure access to a device or user.

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About the Author

Brian Foster 

As SVP of Product Management, Brian Foster is responsible for overseeing product direction and innovation. Brian brings more than 25 years of experience to his role.  Prior to MobileIron, Brian founded a startup in the identity management space. Before that, he was SVP of information services at Neustar, the leader in identity resolution. At Neustar, Brian's teams were responsible for solutions in marketing services, risk and fraud, registries, and security services. He also oversaw the product development and go-to-market operations. Prior to that, Brian was CTO at Damballa, a private company that discovered advanced threats running in enterprises and large internet service providers. As CTO, Brian was responsible for the advanced research, product strategy, and engineering operations.

Before Damballa, Brian was SVP of product management at McAfee. He oversaw McAfee's global product management functions and was responsible for over 80  enterprise and consumer products, generating more than $2B in revenue. Prior to joining McAfee, Brian was VP of product management at Symantec, where he oversaw product innovation for the enterprise endpoint. Brian has a BA in Economics from UCLA and completed the executive program in management from UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

Published Monday, November 16, 2020 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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