FREMONT, CA : The COVID-19 has been hard on security teams. Ransomware attacks increased. Remote work changed and weakened security operations. 2021 will be better, right? It will be different, and some things are likely to become worse. Here are four key trends to project how they might play out in 2021. All have been driven or influenced by the global pandemic, which will have a long-lasting effect on the threat landscape and how security teams guard people and assets.

Cybercriminals are opportunists. The pandemic made firms more vulnerable as they scrambled to cope with the fallout. That made a boom year for ransomware attacks in terms of increased volume. Cyber insurance providers report that ransomware accounted for 41 percent of all cyber insurance claims filed in the first half of 2020. Businesses struggling to cope with the pandemic could ill afford to have their systems off-line due to a ransomware attack, and attackers know they are consequently likely to pay. Increasing pressure to submit to extortion and tactics that make it complex to recover encrypted data will keep ransomware the most profitable business for cybercriminals.

  • Increasing Importance of CISO

COVID has raised the profile for security. A bigger attack volume has caught the attention of CEOs, CFOs, and boards of directors, and they are looking to CISOs to respond. The pandemic-inspired rush to transform organizations digitally could raise their risk, and CISOs require being part of that process. The sudden requirement to safely help scores of remote workers has raised concerns over systems and data vulnerability. The key for CISOs to navigate these new regulatory demands is to have a good relationship with their firm’s general counsel and privacy groups.

  • Reassessing Security Strategies

The pandemic has also spurred firms to start or accelerate digital transformation projects, which most significantly means moving more systems to the cloud. That, too, needs a rethinking of security strategy and infrastructure. Security steps taken on the assumption the move would be temporary must be reconsidered. To cope with these permanent changes and threats, firms are looking at several technologies to pilot or implement in the coming years.

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