Predictions of the cyber challenges facing us in 2021: The rise of cyber resilience!

18 January 2021

Most if not all of us were glad to see the back of 2020! A year dominated by Covid-19, lockdowns, tier restrictions, mask wearing, social distancing, Zoom and working from home.

The pandemic has certainly challenged us in a number of ways, but perhaps more so regarding our understanding, reliance and use of online systems and platforms.

Consequently we have seen an emergence of cyber criminals; digital deceivers who have surpassed most of our expectations regarding the ingenuity and versatility of committing cybercrime, sometimes on a mass and devastating scale.

As we embark on a new year, we focus on what will be our major cyber challenges throughout 2021.

Our friends at Professional Security magazine suggest that a recent poll of 350 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) believe the most important technologies of 2021 will be Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (32%), followed by 5G (20%) and Internet of Things (14%).

The poll, commissioned by IEEE revealed the top 2 concerns for CIOs and CTOs regarding the cyber-security of their organisation are security issues related to the mobile workforce including employees bringing their own devices to work (37%) and ensuring the Internet of Things (IoT) is secure (35%). Hardly surprising since the number of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots and drones is increasing dramatically.

34% of poll respondents stated they can track and manage between 26 – 50% of devices connected to their businesses, while only 20% stated they had the ability to track and manage 51 – 75% of connected devices.

Manufacturing (19%), healthcare (18%), financial services (15%) and education (13%) are the industries that most believe will be impacted by technology in 2021. At the same time, more than half (52%) of CIOs and CTOs see their biggest challenge in 2021 as dealing with aspects of COVID-19 recovery in relation to business operations.

These challenges include a permanent hybrid remote and office work structure (22%), office and facilities re-openings and return (17%), and managing permanent remote working (13%). However, 11% said the agility to stop and start IT initiatives within this unpredictable environment continues will be their biggest challenge. Another 11% claimed online security threats, including those related to remote workers, will be their biggest challenge in 2021.

Despite all these concerns, there is some positivity arising from our current Covid-19 crisis. Certain technologies have benefitted from an acceleration of adoption to ensure we have better levels of preparedness. Cloud computing, 5G, AI and machine learning, the adoption of the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and video conferencing technologies are all being fast-tracked to ensure businesses are more robust and responsive to deal with critical incidents such as natural disasters and cyber breaches. 92% of surveyed CIOs and CTOs believe their companies are now much better prepared should the unspeakable happen.

The importance of preparedness for cyber resilience is also being called for by Jeff MacMillan, CTO of StorMagic, writing on behalf of

The significant rise in cyber-crime is directly related to businesses being more dependent on technology and cloud computing. The focus on having reliable and responsive cyber security measures needs to be ‘front and centre’ of all business conversations and decision-making hereon.

Cyber resilience is now mainstream thinking, and has evolved from just fundamental IT perimeter protection to being able to recover and restore from a cyber-attack. This is particularly important due to the quick shift of more employees working remotely.

Agile working practices has exposed the vulnerabilities attributed to home network environments, which are often less secure and more exposed than corporate networks. Embracing remote working will put added pressure on businesses to seek IT security solutions that offer better ‘endpoint protection and response’ capabilities than the traditional ‘moat and wall’ approach. Furthermore, a more distributed workforce places greater importance on the need to safeguard organisational data by means of new encryption technologies.

Jeff MacMillan foresees that during 2021 cyber security providers will be in competition to deliver ‘next-gen’ tools and processes that provide multi-layered protection to better safeguard businesses. Processes such as data encryption, key management and cyber resilience frameworks will be everyday strategies to overcome compromised data threats.

To view the original Professional Security feature see here


To view the original article, see here