COVID-19's lasting effect on cybersecurity and what to expect in the new year
As 2020 comes to an end, it’s normal to reflect upon the year’s challenges, innovations, and achievements. When we look back on 2020, the hardships we all endured collectively across the globe seem to stack higher than other recent years. A pandemic swept across the world, rapidly shifting the ways we communicate, work, and connect with others. And hacks, scams, and ransomware attacks were at an all-time high.
Although this past year presented many challenges, there were some silver linings. At Ivanti, we recently acquired MobileIron and Pulse Secure, solidifying our position as a market leader in in Unified Endpoint Management, Zero Trust Security, and IT Service Management.
Here's a roundup from our experts on what to expect in 2021. With employees increasing working from anywhere – driving an explosive growth of endpoints, edge devices and data – and cybersecurity threats reaching catastrophic new heights, organizations must prepare for another busy year.
The Everywhere Enterprise is here to stay
- “The enterprise is now everywhere - data resides everywhere, work takes place everywhere, and employees communicate with customers everywhere. People will continue working remotely from anywhere, not necessarily the office. We won't see 100% of companies go back to the office in 2021, and we also won't see 100% stay remote. Employees will have the autonomy to decide where they want to work — and enterprises will need to take the security measures needed to make it happen. The 2021 working persona will be someone who works on the go using a range of mobile devices, such as tablets and phones. The stagnant desktop employee will no longer be a reality.” – Bill Harrod, VP of Public Sector
- “A hybrid work environment will be considered the gold standard and we will continue to see hybrid work environments leverage remote workers with on-site sessions to help drive innovation and employee mental health” - Rex McMillan, Senior Director, Product Management
- “The world has been permanently changed by the COVID breakout in 2020 and the ripples will continue throughout 2021. Lockdowns, working from home and remote learning for school will continue well into next year until a vaccine is largely distributed and immunity grows. Activity in this highly disbursed/distributed computing environment will continue to grow for both good and bad. Productivity and social media software will flourish, filling the gap to keep people connected; the explosion of Zoom, WebEx, Chime and others were just the tip of the iceberg from 2020. IT and security operations have been slowly adjusting their tools and processes but will rapidly accelerate in both areas in 2021.” - Todd Schell, Senior Product Manager
Hybrid cloud environments will be a prime target for hackers
- “The world has been shifting away from traditional networks to hybrid cloud-prem and device agnostic, an existing trend that was accelerated by COVID-19. Since COVID, perimeters have changed more drastically. Threat actors will continue to target remote workers. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies alone will leave companies exposed. To regain control and provide more fluid perimeters to securely control who has access to applications and data, companies will turn to Zero Trust Access Control.” - Chris Goettl, Senior Director Product Management
- “The growing adoption of cloud services combined with the increased use of mobile devices and laptops amid COVID-19 will make unsecured cloud users a prime target. Many companies use identity access management to combat potential security breaches, but the data part often goes unencrypted. We should expect to see hackers put a lot more emphasis on attacking web applications sitting on the cloud and applications that are distributed in nature. These actions will put a lot of pressure on information security groups, making it even more critical for companies to ensure there are no gaps or silos in their security strategy.” - Mike Riemer, Global CTO
- “In the new WFH era, we're constantly working on the go using a range of mobile devices, such as tablets and phones, relying on public Wi-Fi networks, remote collaboration tools, and cloud suites for work. As we settle into a new year of this reality, mobile workers will be the biggest security risk as they view IT security as a hindrance to productivity and believe that IT security compromises personal privacy.” Bill Harrod, VP of Public Sector
Health institutions will be the most targeted group for ransomware attacks
- “Generally, as a vertical becomes more important, prominent attackers leverage it as their greatest opportunity — so it is no secret that hospitals will be a huge target for ransomware attacks in 2021. With increasing use of tele-medicine, sensitive patient data is flowing throughout modern mobile endpoints and legacy infrastructures 24/7, health institutions will be a hacker's dream.” Bill Harrod, VP of Public Sector
- “2020 saw the early threat actor forays with the expansion of ransomware riding on the desire of people to learn more about COVID. 2021 will have at least one major security breach with worldwide impact and will make the news across the globe.” - Todd Schell, Senior Product Manager
- “Security will become a priority in crisis management. Cyberattacks against healthcare organizations spiked during the pandemic. As organizations (not just in healthcare) assess lessons learned in the aftermath, disaster recovery and crisis management plans will elevate security measures that could compromise systems in future crises.” - Rob DeStefano, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Automation will be the key to a successful cybersecurity program
- “Amid the growing cybersecurity skills gap, the broader theme in 2021 will be the increased adoption of technology that capitalizes on artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate key security functions. COVID-19 resulted in a massive, global shift to a remote workforce. However, next year we will enter a completely new normal when we start to see more workers return to the office while others, who are not yet able or willing to make the transition, remain home. This will result in a split that forces IT departments to handle the demands of both full-scale on-premise and full-scale remote access. The only way to be efficient in the new world of work will be to utilize solutions with automation capabilities instead of relying solely on in-house security teams. Companies will turn to newer technologies such as Zero Trust Network Access and Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) techniques to work smarter in leveraging their workforce.” - Mike Riemer, Global CTO
- “The needed move to modern management has been slow and cautious, but adoption of InTune, Workspace One, Ivanti Neurons and similar tools will pick up pace to handle all the remote devices. With the introduction of new software players and evolving security management processes, the door has opened wider for exploitation.” - Todd Schell, Senior Product Manager
Delivering contextualized, personalized, consumer-like experiences in the enterprise will be crucial
- “Experience-centric service management will become a priority. Monitoring of employee productivity and IT ‘experience’ will increase in importance. The days of ‘IT Satisfaction Surveys’ are numbered, as the technology itself can help IT understand the real individual effectiveness of IT.” - Simon Geddes, Senior Director, Product Management
- “In 2021, advances in AI and machine learning will allow devices to self-heal and self-secure by as much as 80%, allowing IT to set policies and know their devices and data are secure. Not only will this mean that IT can focus on transforming their business to be more competitive in their market, users can expect to receive a more ambient, personalized device experience where they can remain productive regardless of where they are working or the device they use.” - Alan Braithwaite, Senior Director, Product Management
2021 is the year when Ivanti, MobileIron, and Pulse Secure become better together as Ivanti. It’s the year that we enable organizations to proactively and autonomously self-heal, self-secure, and self-service devices in the everywhere enterprise. Security will become a priority in crisis management. Most importantly, our customers will collaborate and innovate more freely, while reducing the risk of data breaches and enhancing employee experiences. We look forward to helping our customers achieve bigger goals next year because we are committed, and We Are Ivanti.