It is true to say that there’s never a quiet year in cybersecurity. The focus and professionalism of cybercriminals, allied to the ever-evolving threatscape, mean that anyone working in cybersecurity is facing a constant battle to keep their organization secure.
But it’s also true to say that some years are more difficult than others and 2020 has to be right up there with the most challenging we have ever seen. That applies to the wider world just as much as it does to cybersecurity but there can be little debate that for our industry, 2020 has been a landmark year.
Dealing with COVID-19
Even when news of the COVID-19 pandemic first reached us at the start of the year, no-one really imagined the scale of the devastation it would cause. As it spread with increasing speed across the globe however, it soon became clear that its impact would be substantial.
By March, most people that could do so were now working from home. That created a number of cybersecurity challenges that had to be addressed as a priority. One of those was a significant increase in the volume of phishing campaigns based around COVID-19. Relying on people’s fears and concerns about the pandemic, these campaigns sought to gain entry to corporate systems via malicious links or files.
This was an issue because many homeworkers were now lacking the corporate protection they had when working in the office. In May 2020, HelpSystems research ‘The Unknown Threat’ with UK public sector employees, revealed a widespread lack of awareness of cybersecurity and the best practices required to stay on top of it.
Almost half of respondents had either not heard of or did not know what ransomware is. Furthermore, one-quarter of public sector workers had either not heard of or did not know what phishing is. Also, 11% admitted they had clicked on a link in an unsolicited email at work.
The research revealed an obvious vulnerability and one that organizations needed to address quickly with training.
Cybersecurity and Homeworking
Perhaps the biggest cybersecurity challenge though, was in managing this remote workforce. Further HelpSystems research ‘Cybersecurity Challenges in Financial Services’ in November 2020 revealed that securing the remote workforce had become a key objective for 42% of global Financial Services (FS) firms and more than one third said increased homeworking was the cyber threat with the potential to cause the most damage. Although the research focussed on FS, undoubtedly the situation was similar for most other sectors.
With many employees still working from home, the need to securely collaborate has never been greater. In fact, almost two thirds of our survey respondents had already increased their investment in collaboration tools – ones that allow employees to share important information quickly and securely.
A good example is GoAnywhere’s Managed File Transfer working alongside Clearswift’s Secure ICAP Gateway. Together they provide an automated solution for secure file transfers, with unprecedented protection against data loss and cyber threats. This highly effective partnership was recognized recently at the Computing Security Excellent Awards where it won the award for best Enterprise Security Solution.
Product Integration and Digital Transformation
Creating best-in-class cybersecurity solutions is the model HelpSystems will continue to follow in 2021. We offer a suite of data security tools, including recently acquired data classification technologies from Titus and Boldon James. The goal is to continue integrating more products into the portfolio, delivering better value for customers, and ensuring greater protection against a variety of threats.
Plans also include offering flexibility in how our products are deployed. Almost half of respondents in our FS research said that the biggest challenge facing them was digital transformation and moving products to the cloud can help achieve this aim. We recently made the Clearswift Secure Email and ICAP Gateways available on AWS Marketplace and have plans for further integrations in 2021.
Cybersecurity in 2021
2020 has been transformational in how cybersecurity professionals keep their organization safe and secure. Such has been the impact of COVID-19 that it is highly unlikely we will ever return to how the world was previously and the old approaches to cybersecurity are also unlikely to return.
It’s all a question of being agile and keeping cybersecurity at the forefront when new challenges appear. When the pandemic first took hold, cybersecurity professionals managed to switch to an almost entirely distributed workforce overnight and those that did this best were the ones that made sure people, process, and technology all played a key role.