With everything that 2020 has thrown our way, it’s easy to forget that the world continues to turn. And though many of life’s concerns have taken a backseat to this devastating global pandemic, certain issues and risk factors are simply too much to ignore. Cybercrime would certainly fall into this category.

Be Aware of These 5 Trends

Cybercrime never takes a break - not even for a global pandemic that has seemingly halted every other aspect of life as we know it. But, thankfully, those on the cybersecurity front tirelessly work to stay one step ahead of the threats.

As we proceed through 2020 and prepare for 2021, here are a handful of trends you need to be aware of in order to have an articulate and informed understanding of what’s happening in the world of cyber warfare.

1. Increase in Demand for Cybersecurity Pros

Recent data reveals that 40 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate increasing headcount within cybersecurity organizations (when compared to original plans and benchmarks). This is directly linked to the fact that 70 percent of CIOs anticipate investing more in cybersecurity in the near term. 

In particular, we’re seeing a rise in the demand for contractors and independent workers. These cybersecurity professionals are members of the gig economy and have the ability to oscillate between different companies. 

Unfortunately, there continues to be far more demand for cybersecurity professionals than there is supply. This talent shortage is leaving many organizations vulnerable to external threats. And with cybersecurity instances expected to increase exponentially in the coming years, this is a shortage that will likely get worse before it gets better.

2. The Rise of Security Automation

This significant shortage of skilled security practitioners has led to an influx of innovation in the automation space. Process automation, which uses computer-centric security operations tasks based on predefined templates and rules, leads the way.

“Automated security tasks can be performed much faster, in a scalable way and with fewer errors,” Gartner reports. “However, there are diminishing returns to building and maintaining automation. SRM leaders must invest in automation projects that help to eliminate repetitive tasks that consume a lot of time, leaving more time to focus on more critical security functions.”

Security automation can only do so much at this point. Until the skills gap is bridged and a greater supply of skilled professionals enters the workforce, there will continue to be unnecessary vulnerabilities across many organizations.

3. Challenges With Smart Device Propagation

Smart devices are extremely popular right now (and will be for years to come). They’re taking the internet of things (IoT) to an entirely new level and creating far more global connectivity than has ever been possible in the past. But this propagation of smart devices - including smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers, smart speakers, AI assistants, smart locks, and security cameras - isn’t without its own set of risks.

While some smart devices boast advanced security mechanisms, the challenge is that connected devices create a chain. And a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Connect to many devices and you increase the chances of an attacker having direct access to sensitive data.

Smart device manufacturers and security professionals are currently hard at work figuring out how they can best tackle these challenges moving forward.

4. The Rise in Maritime Cyberattacks

Did you know that since February of 2020, attempted cyberattacks against the maritime industry have increased by 400 percent? That’s a shocking statistic for an industry that was already heavily targeted prior to the start of the calendar year.

The rise in maritime cyberattacks is believed to be the combined result of factors like the global pandemic, improvements in ransomware technology, and a rise in remote working due to travel restrictions.

The good news is that the technology does exist to provide protection against these attacks. It’s all about finding the right partners to deploy and maintain maritime cybersecurity strategies.

5. 5G Security Becomes a Focal Point

As we all know by now, 5G is set to totally revolutionize the way the world works. But security has and always will be one of the key challenges in adoption. The very nature of 5G’s short-range technology means there are more communications towers in closer proximity. This increases the risk that attackers can collect and track the precise location of users - setting up potentially hazardous scenarios. If nothing else, this is something to keep an eye on in the months ahead.

Amplifying Cybersecurity in 2020 and Beyond

Cybersecurity is something that must be prioritized today, tomorrow, and always. While it’s tempting to push it to the back burner until life normalizes, a failure to account for it on an ongoing basis will put you in a vulnerable position moving forward. Take the time to study and act. Your disciplined investment will not return empty handed.