3 security threats businesses need to prepare for by 2021

IoT and digital transformation efforts will leave more businesses vulnerable to cyberattack, according to Information Security Forum.

How CISOs can gain a better understanding of their cybersecurity attack surface
At RSA 2019, Emily Heath of United Airlines explained the top security challenges businesses face.

To stay secure in the modern connected world, businesses must keep track of all emerging cybersecurity threats and assess the potential business impacts of when, not if, they will experience a breach or incident, according to a Wednesday report from Information Security Forum.

The report highlights three top threat categories that businesses can expect to face in their day-to-day operations over the next two years, as a direct result of digital transformation efforts and technology developments.

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“By 2021 the world will be heavily digitized. Technology will enable innovative digital business models and society will be critically dependent on technology to function,” Steve Durbin, managing director of Information Security Forum, said in a press release. “This new hyperconnected digital era will create an impression of stability, security and reliability. However, it will prove to be an illusion that is shattered by new vulnerabilities, relentless attacks and disruptive cyber threats.”

Here are three cyberthreat categories that business and IT leaders must be wary of before 2021, according to the report:

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The growth of IoT and automation in the workplace creates a number of new opportunities for businesses. However, with more connected devices comes more security risks across an organization’s critical infrastructure, which will be a major area of weakness.

2. Digital cold war

By 2021, the world will see a digital cold war unfold that will significantly damage businesses, according to the report. Companies racing to develop next-generation technologies will lead to a period of nation state-based espionage, with intellectual property as the main target. Cloud services will likely become a prime target for malicious groups seeking to disrupt business and society, the report said, and drones will be used as both attack vector and target.

3. Digital competitors

Businesses will find competing in the digital marketplace increasingly difficult, as they develop new strategies that challenge existing regulatory frameworks—allowing threats to grow in speed and precision, the report noted. Vulnerabilities in software and applications will be frequently disclosed online, giving less time to fix them before they are exploited. One or more of the large tech giants will likely be broken up, creating chaos for organizations that rely on their products and services, the report predicted. And companies will rush to undertake overly ambitious digital transformation projects in an attempt to remain competitive, leaving them more vulnerable.

“Organizations that adopt a proactive approach to the management of cyber risks should review the threats—the product of significant ISF Member engagement and research—in their own organizational context,” Durbin said in the release.

For more tips on how CXOs can combat cybersecurity threats this year, check out this TechRepublic article.

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Image: iStockphoto/Igor Stevanovic

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