As 2022 gets underway, people are becoming accustomed to a rapidly evolving reality that has impacted all facets of life and business. Remote work has become the new normal for many industries. Still, managing cybersecurity and data infrastructure when employees work in various locations can challenge companies.

Business owners need to be closely attuned to the monumental significance of new cybersecurity demands. As society becomes increasingly digitized and people spend more and more time online, scammers, hackers, phishers, and other criminals are finding more opportunities to exploit.

To stay one step ahead of them, organizations must shift their strategies and respond in real-time to these threats. It’s the only way for businesses to survive in the 2022 cybersecurity landscape. Analyzing the current IT and cybersecurity trends can help you better prepare your company for what’s to come this year. Below are the top cybersecurity trends as we see them.

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Trend #1: Risk Comes From Everywhere

The old model of creating a barrier around your business to keep out unwelcome parties no longer holds water on its own. Standard security perimeters are becoming obsolete as organizations move their operations to the cloud.

A more pragmatic, zero-trust approach is superior. Under this approach, businesses assume that risk comes from everywhere. Doing so can limit the chances of unamortized activities across different networks, vendors, and anyone else imaginable.

Companies are also realizing the importance of new protections to manage their vendor supply chains. Instead of simply hiring based on pricing and references, it will be essential to see who else the vendors work with and what systems they have. In addition, business owners must get to know the monitoring and access processes partners rely on for their internal resources.

Digital supply chains are coming into the forefront, and it is vital for businesses to thoroughly vet suppliers and train their employees on vendor security measures. Essentially, every single link within a supply chain is a possible vulnerability.

Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence

Although AI identifies unusual behavior patterns and uses this to combat cybercrime, cybercriminals use it for their purposes as well. A major trend in IT in 2022 is to learn strategies for circumventing threats through the use of AI.

With thousands of digital events occurring every second, AI technologies prevent distinct advantages for finding and predicting crimes. Though it is already used in business applications like data analytics and automation, companies will be investing more in AI in 2022 in the areas of fraud detection, security and data transparency.

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AI technologies can detect deficiencies in your current security protocols, identify potential threats and automate repetitive security functions. It pays to speak to a managed services provider like TAG Solutions to learn more about how AI could help you.

Trend #3: Laws and Liability

As our government continues to focus on cyber threats, business owners and managers can expect that their companies will need to conform to new regulations. In addition, employees will have to take more responsibility for their actions.

Experts believe that the United States government may continue to get more involved with data privacy breach requirements and efforts to address cyber-attacks. In March of 2021, The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas outlined a vision and roadmap for their cybersecurity efforts in a virtual address.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is another government agency that has a set of standards that applies to security controls for federal agency information systems. Companies comply with these standards because they reflect best practices for security controls across a wide range of industries, and your company should be well engaged with them.

The DHS website lists current threats on its cybersecurity page, and McAfee’s Threat Center posts monthly threat reports. There are also local laws like New York’s Shield Act, which imposes tougher data security requirements on businesses that collect information on NY residents.

As organizations continue to share more information with each other, they will also need to take appropriate steps to guard any data that may become vulnerable. But how should leaders and security professionals protect their businesses when sharing this information? Furthermore, if there are breaches, who will be held responsible? Company executives may be analyzed and held responsible for compromising security and may well be judged harshly by legislative bodies and the public.

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Trend #4: Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware (also called malware) is akin to holding essential company information hostage until an action is taken or money is paid. In the first quarter of 2021, there were three times more ransomware attacks than in all of 2019. Most technology executives believe that there will be even more this year.

Usually, ransomware involves infecting a device with a virus that locks up the files behind unbreakable cryptography. The criminal threatens to destroy the files unless they receive a ransom payment. This payment is normally requested in cryptocurrency, which is untraceable. It’s thus unlikely your business will ever see its money back.

Another method favored by cybercriminals is to threaten that they will publish the information they steal. This, of course, would incur huge fines, potential legal repercussions, and a risk to the business’s reputation.

Ransomware often sneaks in through phishing efforts. Employees get fooled into clicking links or providing information that then downloads the software to company servers, clouds, or other assets. A newer ransomware software allows viruses to infect devices through USB connections. The best ways to combat these attacks are through employee education and having backups in place for disaster recovery purposes. Although 90% of people have system and network backups, approximately 70% of them have not checked them in more than a year.

Trend #5: Better Endpoint Management

Endpoint management is the practice of verifying and managing access rights for network endpoint devices. Network owners use endpoint security software and apply security policies to protect their information from internal and external threats. Devices that need endpoint management include PCs, smartphones, tablets, switches, routers, and laptops that access the networks, on-site and off.

Businesses need to reevaluate their security policies for virtual teams and work-at-home employees with so many employees working remotely. Endpoints often need patches to keep them secure; in other cases, they are overloaded with various kinds of conflicting software. The term you should familiarize yourself with is Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), which creates unifying security and identity for businesses. Self-healing endpoint platforms are another new trend that offer companies improved security control. Not sure how to set this up? Check with a trusted IT partner for help.

Trend #6: The Skills Gap

As businesses become more digitized, normal employee churn continues, and more cybersecurity threats rear their ugly heads, a skills gap will start to widen. The pandemic has changed how businesses operate, at an alarming rate in many cases. Employees will need to learn the new best-practice cybersecurity protocols, and for those who are not tech-savvy, this can take considerable time.

As more companies digitize their operations for hybrid work, there will not be enough trained and experienced cybersecurity professionals to keep up with the criminals.

Streamlining a company’s security operations can help with this by updating technologies, eliminating redundancies, and simplifying operations. Business leaders can prioritize cyber security and tailor programs that best meet their needs in the least complicated ways. Consolidating the tools into “security ecosystems” is the way to go this year, and is defined as a network of different entities that drive information security services and products. This includes security hardware and software, digital forensic experts, consultants, standardization agencies and other resources.

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Get IT and Cybersecurity Help Before It’s Too Late

Most organizations spend more money responding to cybersecurity threats than they would have ensuring that their networks were protected. According to Security Intelligence,  the average total cost for a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million. This is the highest figure ever reported.

Working with a trusted IT partner who stays abreast of all trends, regulations, and risks can be a tremendous asset in these fast-paced times.

If you would like more information on what to expect in IT this year, as well as help selecting and implementing the right solutions for your business needs, reach out to the experts at TAG Solutions today!