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Webroot 2021 Predictions: 5 Cybersecurity Predictions for the Year Ahead

 vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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


By David Dufour, VP, Engineering, Webroot + Carbonite

Without a crystal ball, there isn't a soul in sight who could have predicted what 2020 would look like. All aspects of daily life were upended, including IT. But on the heels of an unprecedented year, where it seems 10 years of technological and business transformation happened in less than 10 months, predicting what's in store for the year ahead is even trickier than usual. At Webroot + Carbonite, we've put our heads together to venture informed guesses for cybersecurity in the new year that look beyond the account the larger, growing trend toward cyber resilience in the face of the increasing amount of sophisticated and advanced attack methods. 

With the new year on the horizon, here are my top five 2021 cybersecurity predictions:    

Elevated Focus on Quality Solutions + Cyber Awareness

This past year illuminated security weaknesses for many small and medium-sized businesses, which unfortunately happened while budgets stretched even thinner and revenue losses occurred across different industries. For a cost-effective cybersecurity strategy in 2021 and beyond, we recommend investing resources in a few, solid security solutions and investing time toward becoming aware of any gaps in protection instead of implementing an inexpensive broad security solution that falls short across the board. We expect this kind of adoption to occur in the new year as budget concerns continue across business size and vertical.

New Risks Associated with 5G

As 5G becomes closer to reality, it will pose new risks for organizations because it will allow for point-to-point communication and distributed networks. Many organizations continue to think of securing their environments in terms of protecting the "castle/moat," but if organizations do not adapt their security practices in 2021 to evolve with 5G technologies, it will present cyber criminals with a field day to exploit the related vulnerabilities.  

What's Next for Cloud Technologies

Over the past 10 years the cloud has transformed from concept to business imperative. The next step in cloud technology will be the adoption of Network-as-a-Service by more organizations. Also, purpose-built cloud solutions, rather than virtualized solutions moved to a cloud environment, will become ubiquitous and on-premise offerings, whether physically on-premise or virtualized, will become antiquated.

Cybersecurity Training to Protect Against Phishing

In 2021, many businesses will continue to operate remotely as a result of the pandemic and there needs to be a heavy emphasis on training employees on security best practices, how to identify modern threats such as phishing, and where company data is being accessed and stored. Our recent report on phishing and end-user click habits found that Americans are overly confident in their ability to spot phishing scams. 7 in 10 workers reported feeling they know enough to keep themselves and their personal data safe from cyberattacks, but 1 in 3 participants also reported clicking on a phishing link in the last year. Over half (59 percent) blamed it on the fact that phishing emails look more realistic than ever before.

Learning from 2020

The cyber skills gap will continue to be an issue because companies continue to believe they have cybersecurity under control. As a result, they hire less-expensive external cybersecurity resources. This leads to a feeling of false security and unfortunately, an inadequate security effect. It requires a financial investment for a cybersecurity provider to truly understand an organizations' security needs. If these organizations didn't suffer from an attack in 2020 or put processes in place to secure their systems, they are staring at a plethora of risks in the year to come.

As technology evolves, so do cybercriminals. Not unlike the future of technology and the future of the pandemic, they're unpredictable. Steps taken today to protect employees, security and operations through the right combination of cybersecurity technologies, professionals and policies can take some of the guess work and risk out of tomorrow, and 2021.


About the Author

david dufour 

David Dufour is the Vice President of Engineering at Webroot. He has 25+ years of experience in systems integration and software engineering focusing on large-scale, high-performance, high-availability integration solutions.

Published Wednesday, December 30, 2020 11:04 AM by David Marshall
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