How to Prepare Your Cyber Security Strategy For 2021

Last Updated on 8 December 2021 by Alastair Digby

To describe the last year as challenging would be a categorical understatement. Dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has profoundly reshaped our world in many ways. The accelerated digitalization that ensued inevitably expanded the attack surface, thus the virus has been a catalyst for cybercrime.

At a time when things are still largely uncertain, making predictions for the coming year is difficult. So, instead, this blog will discuss how organizations can adapt and modify their cyber security strategy to confront and withstand the evolving threat landscape.

COVID-19 and static cyber security strategies

The new age of cyber security stems from increasing dependence on digital infrastructure which offers ample opportunity for malicious attackers to exploit as the digital and physical attack surface grows. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming prevalent in business, and are inevitably tailgated by an abundance of threats.

The sheer volume of data breaches over the last year reveals how malicious attackers have (and will continue to) capitalized on the lucrative situation. In fact, the FBI reports a 400-600% increase in cyber attacks since the beginning of the pandemic – particularly those relating to phishing and ransomware. Further, Cyber-related crime is predicted to cost the world a substantial $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Ultimately, with an ever-expanding attack surface and an onslaught of attacks, the need for optimal security is greater than ever.

5 ways to prepare your cyber security strategy for 2021

Cyber attacks and data breaches pose immensely damaging consequences for businesses of all sizes both reputationally and financially, and we hear of new cases daily. So, CISOs and security leaders must adopt a proactive and robust approach for their company’s survival and longevity. But also cyber security needs to be prioritized and should be a central part of boardroom decisions. Below is collective advice from our experts to best equip employees, IT teams, and overall security policy in preparation for 2021.

Secure passwords

For your passwords, a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, allows you to better secure your devices and online accounts. All though many people do, using the same password across the board is incredibly dangerous – all it takes is for one compromised password for a hacker to take over all the associated accounts. Using complex passwords, two-factor authentication, and changing them regularly is much safer –  see our tips on how to create a secure password. Or, consider using a password manager tool such as 1Password or Keeper. This type of software application is a digital vault that will protect your credentials in an encrypted database, secured under one master password.

Scam attacks

Phishing and ransomware attacks have been some of the most prominent social engineering attacks witnessed over the last year. Phishing scams typically exploit real-life problems and are fuelled on fear, so the ongoing pandemic has provided the ideal context to initiate attacks.

Malicious hackers are increasingly weaponizing emails, especially since those working remotely rely heavily on this method of communication. Therefore, email should be viewed as a threat vector – 98% of malware is delivered this way.

According to the FBI, business email compromise (BEC) is one of the most economically detrimental cybercrimes today. Our guide to spotting a phishing email informs you more about how to protect your organization from this type of crime.

Antivirus software

Viruses are easily transmitted both from human to human and from network to device. Antivirus software solutions monitor the files in your system, scanning for malicious activity to protect your data. Devices are constantly exposed to new viruses that they are vulnerable to and updates usually contain amendments according to modifications to their security programs. So, updates are really important for keeping your digital environment safe.

Security awareness

Employees pose a risk to their organization’s security posture, expanding the physical (human attack surface). Human error accounts for a substantial proportion of successful cyber-attacks and data breaches. Enforcing a sound understanding of cyber threats and practices among employees is critical, empowering them to better identify and tackle potential threats. Recognition of what’s at stake is key.

Continuous security monitoring

In the wake of the pandemic and preparation for 2021, it is important to consider long-term and pre-emptive security processes that ensure you operate safely.

Continuous security monitoring (CSM) automates security to provide real-time actionable information, making it a popular approach to threat intelligence. CSM solutions, such as attack surface management and asset discovery, are key tools for security specialists. Instant access to key security metrics helps CISOs assess their overall security posture. There are countless benefits of CSM, such as easing the burden of mundane tasks and staying ahead of attackers. Therefore, we should expect an increase in organizations embracing this form of continuous security.

Fundamentally, monitoring your internal network alone and only using endpoint security measures no longer suffice. Of course, there is no omnipotent form of cyber security, but CSM is a very good place to start as we look to the future.

How Informer can help

Cyber security in the age of COVID-19 has no doubt assessed the abilities of systems and security strategies. As we edge towards 2021, it’s important to remember that resilience is key. Informer simplifies cyber security, helping you understand the threats you face while giving you full visibility of your real-time attack surface, providing smarter, faster and, more accurate security decision-making. It’s our priority to equip organizations with a robust solution, preparing them for success.