Hackers are sharpening their skills, and companies are amassing an ever-growing array of digital assets — sooner or later, every organization will be affected by a cyberattack.
Nevertheless, the market has rolled out myriad technologies to help detect, evade, or neutralize threats, such as real-time anomaly detection, smart authentication, and automated incident response. Boards are responding to the uptick in cyber attacks by implementing proactive, holistic strategies that bring different departments on board, signaling a strong commitment across the board to taking cyber risk seriously. More and more businesses will be devising and testing cyber resilience measures, ensuring the continuity of operations in the wake of breaches. They’re also creating capabilities for agile recovery, all while minimizing data loss and downtime.
With technology evolving hand in hand with the threat landscape, organizations need to adopt a modern outlook on security and IT—one that ensures end-to-end visibility, scalability, and flexibility.
But before diving into crafting such a program, it’s important to be aware of the most prominent cybersecurity challenges set to impact you in the coming year.
Generative AI & Machine Learning
Generative AI basically reshaped the fabric of society in 2023.
However, the harsh truth is that this tool is wielded just as cleverly by malicious entities as it is by well-intentioned individuals and businesses. The outcome is a surge in intricate and intelligent AI-driven attacks. Due to reduced barriers of entry for threat actors, we will start to see more sophisticated phishing, with more compelling, custom lures used in chats, videos, or live generated “deep fake” videos or audio, impersonating someone familiar or in a position of authority.
Threat actors could also manipulate AI systems to make incorrect predictions or deny service to customers. Your proprietary language and foundational models, data, and new content will need stronger cyber defense protections. Furthermore, AI applications could exacerbate data and privacy risks; after all, the promise of large language models is that they use a massive amount of data and create even more new data, which is vulnerable to bias, poor quality, unauthorized access, and loss.
Of course, there are some silver linings, too; companies can leverage AI and machine learning to boost the capability of their data security products and more easily identify malicious activity, but the jury is still out on how quickly we can automate those processes.
Lack of Accountability
As the entire function of cybersecurity expands in 2024, merging with the likes of risk management, digital transformation, IT, and cloud computing, enterprises are witnessing a marked lack of accountability in maintaining the security of their digital assets. These teams often operate in silos, with miscommunication and conflicting priorities hindering a unified cybersecurity strategy.
Boundaries between cybersecurity and broader organizational functions will continue to blur in the coming year, and the responsibility for securing sensitive information might become even more diffuse. The fact of the matter is that the sheer volume and sophistication of cyber threats require a collective responsibility that permeates every level of an organization. And achieving this level of accountability requires overcoming ingrained habits and fostering a mindset that sees cybersecurity not as an impediment but as an integral part of the organizational fabric. Responsibility should be shared among every employee in the organization. Everyone needs to have a basic understanding of threats and how to avoid them – using MFA, practicing good password hygiene, spotting a phish, and more.
While much emphasis is placed on external threat actors, end-users with authorized access to data present a significant risk, and they’ll continue to do so in 2024. = Recent studies reveal that internal security threats drive 50% of documented security breaches. Moreover, most of the dangers stem not from malicious intent but rather from neglect born of poor training, middling morale, or pure carelessness.
The current era of Working-From-Home (WFH) has added an extra layer of complexity to the cybersecurity landscape. Now, organizations find themselves grappling with the challenge of securing not just their internal networks but also the diverse and often less-controlled home networks of their employees. This dynamic shift makes it even more crucial to stay ahead of potential risks. As technology keeps advancing, providing increasingly sophisticated tools, the risk of insiders exploiting vulnerabilities and engaging in cyber malfeasance is expected to rise. You need to tune into the dynamic cadence of cybersecurity risks and stay ahead of the curve, adopting a cybersecurity approach that is not just vigilant but nimble.
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables the collection, communication, analysis, and action of information through sensors, providing businesses with innovative avenues to generate value. This means you can establish entirely new business lines and revenue streams or deliver more efficient experiences for consumers.
However, this advancement also introduces fresh opportunities for the compromise of information. To begin with, the lack of encryption in many IoT devices exposes vulnerabilities, enabling attackers to capture information, including login credentials, without the need for decryption. Furthermore, IoT devices act as a bridge between secure networks and insecure devices, potentially resulting in compromised systems leading to leaked information or unauthorized access. Often, these devices lack the necessary power to support encryption and frequently grant access to shared networks. The expansion of data shared through the IoT, involving a greater number of participants, exacerbates the issue, as more sensitive data is now susceptible to compromise.
Cybersecurity Skills Gap
While we could explore the multitude of cyber risks continuously permeating the landscape, an equally pressing internal concern jeopardizing the security of our enterprises demands attention: the scarcity of cybersecurity skills. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there is a projected 350% surge in global cybersecurity job openings, reaching 3.5 million by 2025 within an eight-year span. This gaping skills deficit has already inflicted a catastrophic impact on risk and security, as confirmed by Fortinet’s 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report. The skills gap not only heightens the risk but also directly contributes to some security breaches.
Over half of leaders admit to struggling with the recruitment and retention of cybersecurity talent, exacerbating skills shortages that pose additional cyber risks for their organizations. Roles in cloud security, security operations, and network security prove particularly challenging to fill. While these challenges cannot be eradicated overnight, tangible solutions exist to provide relief to overtaxed and understaffed security teams.
Despite the substantial resources dedicated to enhancing cybersecurity, threat levels are outpacing defense capabilities, leading to attacks on some of the world’s most well-protected organizations, including prominent government agencies and technology companies.
However, there’s a silver lining on the horizon. Technologies that took center stage in the past year, particularly AI and machine learning, have emerged as potent tools to fortify cybersecurity. Companies are honing the skill of swiftly connecting the dots across diverse data sets, gaining a broader context essential for detecting even the most sophisticated cyberattacks in their early phases. Not only does this enable a quicker and more effective response, but it also provides a precise understanding of the events and assets involved, down to the accounts and data.
Also, we’re seeing a collective steering towards a zero-trust paradigm, a security architecture that does away with reliance on perimeter-based models. Zero trust operates under the assumption of no inherent trust and mandates various security controls such as multi-factor authentication and least privilege access. Projections indicate that by 2026, around 10% of businesses globally will adopt zero trust as their primary security architecture.
Adding to the security evolution is an upward trend in stricter data privacy regulations. In response, businesses are gearing up with encryption, pseudonymization, and transparent communication regarding their data handling practices. The cybersecurity landscape is indeed undergoing a transformation, and businesses are adapting to these changes with resilience and vigilance.
SECURITY & MONITORING WITH YARDSTICK TECHNOLOGIES
Many organizations lack the budget to establish state-of-the-art threat-monitoring capabilities, which are essential for consistently scanning their company’s environment—both its internal network and the broader supply chain.
At Yardstick, we provide high-quality service and assistance, offering short and long-term IT infrastructure strategies, network performance metrics, security protection, and analytics. As part of our network security and data management solutions, we deploy network and security monitoring and management tools to your entire IT infrastructure. Any alerts generated by those tools are assigned to our security specialists to triage impact and criticality. Then, either addressed by a member of that team, forwarded on to another experienced team member to address, or, if an infrastructure change is required, assigned to a proactive team member to discuss with your stakeholders.
What sets us apart is our high-level, strategic, and proactive approach that reviews and advises on your current technology, highlighting all risks within your environment and providing relevant recommendations to mitigate said risks.
Want to take the next step to protecting your networks and services in 2024? – Contact us for a free consultation today