Trends to Watch for in 2021
It’s the time of year when a number of companies come out with their security and risk trends for the coming year. Cybersecurity continues to be a hot topic for 2021, and with more businesses operating with a virtual staff more than ever before, security and risk is becoming a growing concern, ensuring the safety of the details of your business and, above all else, your customers must be an absolute priority for the New Year.
As we think about up-and-coming security and risk trends in 2021, here are six trends we think you should watch:
1. Moving from Business Continuity to Business Resiliency
Worldwide, no one considered a scenario in which much of the global workforce would work remotely or how they would keep business systems secure in such a situation. Many companies had business continuity plans in place, but those didn’t account for the duration of this pandemic nor its breadth. Moving forward, planning must extend beyond the confines of traditional business continuance towards business resilience, allowing organizations to adapt to both known and unexpected disruptions. Business leaders should be reviewing their risk management solutions and contingency strategies to be ready if another crisis like COVID-19 forces employees home once again. This will become a top concern for 2021 planning and going forward.
Remote workers will be the focus of cybercriminals.
2. Cybercriminals follow the workforce.
The SWZD report found that 64% of businesses enabled a remote workforce in 2020, and over half plan on retaining these policies even after the pandemic. This has caused additional security concerns, as employees operate outside of the corporate network core and perimeter. Rebyc predicts that cyberattacks in 2021 will spike by 20% to 40% in a remote working environment. Cybercriminals will continue to take advantage of this disruption to launch phishing, vishing, ransomware, and a whole slew of other attacks that targeted gaps in companies’ security postures, as many were not prepared to support a remote workforce securely throughout 2021.
3. CSOs and CISOs will seek convergence across security solutions
For some companies, 2021 will demand some very harsh changes in personnel and spending to support the survival of the organization. Forrester predicts that U.S. tech investments will fall another 1.5%–a $135 billion drop from 2019’s peak. This comes as no surprise, given the fact that the U.S. economic deficit grew from $779 billion at the end of 2018 to $2.8 trillion as of July 2020. Convergence and simplicity will be key in 2021. For security executives, the answer will be doing more with less, driving companies to assess the cost/value relationship of the tools they are using, evaluating competitive solutions that either cost less, offer more value, or provide more flexibility. In addition, there will be an acceleration of the trend toward merging ERM, business continuity, physical and cybersecurity into a unified risk/security structure that gains some economies of scale and centralizes responsibility for the C-suite and board of directors.
4. Accelerate digital transformation efforts
Digital transformation has been an ongoing objective for countless organizations since the early 2010s. If stay-at-home orders were never enforced, it is possible that digital transformation still would have been on many organizations’ to-do lists throughout the next decade. Throughout 2020 we saw accelerated 5G to keep remote workers connected, organizations expand their use of AI and ML-powered analytics to grow their businesses, and increased cloud adoption to enable businesses to achieve simplified innovation, faster time-to-market, easier scalability, and more. This digital transformation will continue to accelerate throughout 2021, granting organizations more flexibility, cost savings, and an overall edge in their business plans to conquer any other obstacles the future might bring them. Risk and security professionals in 2021 will strive to safeguard these new environments in a more complete fashion.
5. Intelligent video surveillance
A rapidly emerging set of intelligent video solutions will change the face of video surveillance in 2021 by recognizing license plates, people, weapons, threatening interactions, and much more. More cameras offer various built-in analytic and facial detection analytics have become more sophisticated over time. These systems can trigger structured alerts to allow immediate and more proactive response by the physical security teams. Teams are spotting threats using virtual tripwires or object detection and protecting individual privacy with video anonymization. Developments in deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will only help achieve better results throughout 2021.
6. A close eye on Audit
Investor scrutiny is going to increase in 2021 and, as a result, so will audit and compliance activities to ensure investors that effective controls are in place to protect against insider threats and that financial statements are accurate. The closer examination of risks and controls stems from the surge of remote workers, the conditions for potential growth in fraud cases, and unsteady revenue growth. Stakeholders will want added assurance. They will want better risk management data and the peace of mind that assets are protected from externals and internal threat equally.
What do you think? Are there others that should be on the list? What do you see as being a changing risk and security trend for 2021?