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Ericom Software 2021 Predictions: 5 Cybersecurity Predictions to Take to the Bank in 2021 (Maybe)

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

5 Cybersecurity Predictions to Take to the Bank in 2021 (Maybe)

By David Canellos, President and CEO, Ericom Software

It is an understatement to say that 2020 was a year of profound change for businesses.  In response to the pandemic, organizations had to rapidly rework the way they operated in order to survive. While putting new processes and technologies in place to connect, support and secure their remote workforces, businesses also needed to define new ways of interacting with customers, suppliers and others in their ecosystems.  Since none of these things were on anybody's radar screens last year at prediction time, I share these projections for 2021 with a bit of trepidation -- and a "maybe" hedge in the title for a bit of air cover. That said, here goes:

Post-pandemic, 50% of us in remote work-compatible jobs will stick with remote work

Six months ago, the prevailing attitude was that everyone was yearning to get back into the office and that we would all rush back as soon as possible. But things feel different now. Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of us will be back in the office for at least some time each week, but more than 50% of workers who can do so will make semi-remote work their new normal. People have figured out how to manage through the downside of remote work and have fully embraced the upside. Managers who were previously concerned by the lack of control, have seen excellent results from their teams and become believers in the approach. And let's not forget the finance folks (and shareholders), who love the cost-saving opportunities. For those of us in the cybersecurity industry, protecting this new distributed workplace, with users, applications, data, and devices spread all over the place, is now job #1.

As workers start to make their way back into the office, cybersecurity incidents will spike

Cyberattacks increased dramatically as companies quickly moved to establish remote work environments for their employees. Attackers took advantage of vulnerabilities that were exposed as IT infrastructures were flexed and strained by keeping remote workers connected and productive.  In some cases, corners were cut and processes relaxed to allow business to continue -- a pragmatic concession to the new reality. In 2021, with workers moving freely between networks at home and in the office, connecting in the office with corporate-managed or sanctioned devices and, perhaps, sometimes with personal devices, cybercriminals will target new "mixed-environment" vulnerabilities, requiring cybersecurity teams to counter threats that aim to exploit this vector. 

Zero Trust security becomes part of enterprise DNA

The challenge of providing long-term cybersecurity for now-permanent distributed workplaces is the key priority for enterprise CISOs, CIOs and C-suites.  As they rethink their cybersecurity architectures to enable user productivity under this new work model over the next decade, organizations will accelerate their adoption of a Zero Trust security approach. Zero Trust security, most recently driven as both a strategy and a pragmatic architecture blueprint by Chase Cunningham, aligns perfectly with digital transformation efforts underway in most organizations.  A move to this new cloud-delivered security approach will drive increased adoption of next-generation technologies that improve security while reducing cost and complexity, like Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) for securing web and email access, and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) for securing remote access applications. 

5G - from hype to a true game changer for (some) businesses

The low latency, high-capacity performance of 5G networks, combined with more than 500 million 5G-enabled end-user devices with rich application functionality, will make 5G a true competitive differentiator for trailblazing businesses in the 2nd half of 2021.  Companies that invest in delivering excellent user experiences on 5G networks, built on a foundation of speed, usability, and cybersecurity, will capture market share and create significant new revenue streams based on new business models. Of course, the permanent move to the distributed workplace that I mentioned earlier will be a driver of accelerated 5G adoption, as well as a beneficiary of the technology.  Let the 5G fun begin!

Supply Chain meets Zero Trust

The extensive coverage of the December 2020 cyberattack exploiting the SolarWinds supply chain has moved this threat vector to the top of CISOs' and CIOs' lists. Unfortunately, as technology advances and businesses become increasingly interconnected, supply chain attacks will likely grow in intensity and severity. All enterprises will continue working to better understand their current exposure, as well as to define improved procedures to bolster protection in the future. As a result of the attacks, some enterprises will extend the Zero Trust concept to their technology partners and vendors, applying deeper forensics to solution development methodologies, cloud architectures, and other supplier processes to reduce risk for their organizations.   

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About the Author

David Canellos 

David Canellos is a seasoned cybersecurity leader with over two decades of experience heading early-stage, venture-backed startups, mid-sized and large organizations, David was previously Symantec SVP of Global Service Providers business. Earlier, he was President and CEO of Perspecsys Inc., overseeing its acquisition by Blue Coat Systems, which was then acquired by Symantec. David was SVP Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Irdeto division of Naspers, which acquired Cloakware, where he was President and COO.

Published Tuesday, January 19, 2021 7:27 AM by David Marshall
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