In The New Normal in Cybersecurity Part 1, we examined three leading trends in the cybersecurity community over the past year. In this installment, we will take a look into the future and make predictions about where the cybersecurity landscape is potentially headed in 2022 and beyond.
#1: New Laws and Regulations
In the future, it’s likely that new laws and regulations will be enacted as the U.S. government increases its focus on cybersecurity activities, including increased data privacy legislation, increased executive liability, regulations around ransomware payments and rules of engagement for bad actors, and more focused controls over cyber liability insurance. Let’s take a look at each of these items more fully.
We have already seen the Executive Order from President Biden aimed at improving the security of Federal Government networks. With threat actors showing a focus on taking down critical infrastructure, the government will likely step up its efforts to address attacks and data privacy breach requirements. Specifically, for 2022 and beyond, there will most likely be increased emphasis on financial reporting aspects when it comes to privacy, including the cost of a breach to the organization.
Another likely forecast for the future is the increase of liability. Looking across all the information companies have and what the U.S. government possesses, it is critical to determine the steps organizations can take to help one another—and how will that impact liability. For example, when it comes to sharing information, how can security professionals and organizational leaders preserve their own company if they share information? Can shareholders and individuals’ right of action use this information against the company? Addressing liability related to data sharing will be a significant emphasis going forward, so the security community can pull pieces of information together and actually get ahead of the curve without facing significant barriers of liability. Listen to more on this from Chris Reffkin, Chief Information Security Officer, Fortra.
In the future, we will also likely see more executives scrutinized for not identifying what those data points and red flags mean to the organization in a compromised situation. The public will judge companies more harshly for not taking the right actions or being aware of security concerns within their organization. As organizations grow, executives must take a very active role in cybersecurity—and in the event that something happens, they have specific multi-layer strategies that prove despite their best efforts, an incident occurred.
Finally, with cyber insurance rates skyrocketing, it is essential for organizations to demonstrate good cyber hygiene to retain their policies at an affordable rate. If companies have poor cyber practices, they will likely not get coverage for the future or will encounter cost-prohibitive policies they cannot afford. As we have seen, cyber insurance carriers have exited the market at an alarming rate, so we may see the shift of companies moving toward a self-insurance model, rather than relying on a third-party provider.
#2: Heightened Cyberthreat Landscape
Now and into the coming year, organizations must buckle down on cybersecurity basics to protect against bad actors. And prevention really is the key to this. Once an attack has taken place, organizations scramble to respond and are reactive to the situation. Companies must take a proactive approach to focus their efforts on security fundamentals. Looking to 2022 and beyond, we will likely see:
- Increased Supply Chain Attacks
- Increased OT/IoT Attacks
- Increased Ransomware-as-a-Service
- Increased Use of Unique and Custom Cybersecurity Toolsets
Let’s highlight more in-depth two of these points. In the future, ransomware-as-a-service will likely increase tremendously. Why? Because breaching a network and gaining a foothold is still a viable option for bad actors. With so many flaws that exist in an organization’s security posture, breaches are common. Ransomware is really just automating a series of steps post exploit. So until the security fundamentals are shored up, these quick smash and grabs are still possible, particularly for SMBs.
Finally, in 2022 and beyond, we will likely see an increase in more skilled bad actors customizing their toolkits for specific targets. They are more difficult to detect, but it also gives them a custom signature. We will also likely witness more bad actors creating a business out of this. Because they have customized their toolkits and have gained a foothold—where the compromise may be undetected for days, months, weeks, or years—bad actors are creating a viable offering, providing illicit access as a means to insert additional malware, ransomware, trojans, backdoors, and to extort more ransom from the organization.
#3: Changes in Market and Organizational Behavior
With all the changes and forces at work, organizations are becoming overwhelmed. They have too many security solutions to monitor and cannot keep up with the demand for alerting and mitigation. In the future, by necessity, companies will look to consolidate their cybersecurity vendors and seek to get security tools and services from a single source or fewer sources. A recent IBM study found that, on average, companies use 45 cybersecurity tools in their networks. With the cybersecurity tech stack spiraling out of control, organizations will look to simplify their approach and work with security providers that can consolidate the greatest number of services under one umbrella.
Finally, and perhaps most overdue, cybersecurity will finally gain a seat at the board table. Organizations cannot unsee what has occurred over the last few years. Now there is greater recognition—and funding—for cybersecurity strategies and solutions. This means we will likely experience a marked shift around organizational playbooks. Specifically, from a risk management activity perspective, companies will move from a focus on asset protection to a focus on loss prevention. They will invest in loss prevention capability, bringing in data security and protection officers and bulking up their security teams. Executives and board members will also likely become more involved in cybersecurity as the need will only intensify in the coming years.
Adapting to a More Uncertain Future
Agile risk management will continue to play an even greater role as organizations adapt to changing conditions and global events. And while there is no guarantee the predictions for 2022 and beyond will come true, there is one thing that is for certain—cybersecurity is more essential than ever. At Fortra, we are bringing together cybersecurity solutions, including infrastructure protection, data security, and identity and access management, with intelligence and automation solutions, including threat intelligence, IT and security automation, and centralized analytics, to help companies protect business-critical data and build a more secure, autonomous organization.
Watch Cybersecurity in a Changed World: 2021 Trends and 2022 Predictions
Get more in-depth analysis from our cybersecurity experts when you check out our on-demand trends and predictions webinar.