Top 10 Cyber Security Trends to Watch out for in 2021

If we look back at 2020, the main theme is disruption. Although business leaders are used to some level of constant change, COVID-19 impacted the world in ways no one could have predicted. As a result, organizations had to pivot and strategize, adapt and change.

Organizations should be resilient enough to withstand all sorts of changes and disruptions, whether technology related or natural disasters. Focusing on the cybersecurity sector, technology evolution and new trends will shape the environment in the forthcoming year. Embracing cybersecurity trends well in advance can help organizations differentiate themselves from their competitors and gain strategic advantage.

What are the cybersecurity trends business should watch out for in 2021? Here are our picks.

1. Privacy-enhancing computation

As privacy concerns rise due to the prevalence of digital technology and the growth of data generation and processing, the use of privacy-enhancing computation will enable organizations to safely share data in untrusted environments. Privacy-enhancing computation features three technologies that protect data while it is being used.

  • Confidential computing provides a trusted environment where sensitive data can be processed.
  • Decentralized data processing and analytics through privacy-aware machine learning.
  • Homomorphic encryption, which is a cryptographic method that enables third parties to process encrypted data and return an encrypted result to the data owner, while providing no knowledge about the data or the results.

Privacy-enhancing computation enables organizations to share data and collaborate securely across regions while maintaining privacy and security.

2. Distributed cloud

Gartner has named distributed cloud as the future of cloud. Organizations that are reluctant to a total migration to the public cloud model use a combination — or hybrid — of private cloud and public cloud computing. Hybrid cloud breaks the value propositions of public cloud. The organization retains responsibility for their private cloud environment, but they cannot leverage the full spectrum of capabilities offered by the public cloud provider, such as the innovation pace.

Distributed cloud provides public cloud options to different physical locations. Essentially, the public cloud company maintains, operates and evolves the services, but physically executes at the point of need. Distributed cloud helps with low-latency scenarios, reduces data costs and helps accommodate privacy laws and regulations that dictate that data must remain in a specific geographical area.

3. Cloud Security Posture Management

As cloud platform services see an increase in use, there has been an explosion in the number of unmanaged risks in the mission-critical digital industry. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) automates cloud security management across the diverse cloud infrastructure.

CSPM tools empower companies to identify and remediate risks through security assessments and automated compliance monitoring. Since the cloud environment has been expanding over many areas, organizations can use CSPM to consolidate any possible misconfigurations and comply with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA. This strengthens the clients’ confidence and trust in your business cloud security posture.

The use of CSPM tools comes with many advantages, including:

  • Finding misconfigured network connectivity
  • Assessing data risk and detecting exceedingly liberal account permissions
  • Continuous monitoring of the cloud environment to detect any policy violations
  • Ability to automatically remedy the misconfigurations in some cases
  • Compliance with common standards for best practices

4. Location-agnostic operations

With remote working habits destined to be around for a long time, businesses are looking for models to support operations everywhere and every time. Location-agnostic operations should be designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure.

This operating model allows for business to be accessed, delivered and enabled anywhere — where customers, employers and business partners operate in physically remote environments. To offer unique added value, seamless, and scalable digital experiences, businesses are required to invest in technology infrastructure, new management practices, and resilient security and governance policies.

To secure remote access, organizations should consider employing passwordless and multifactor authentication, zero trust security, secure access service edge (SASE) and identity as the new security perimeter.

5. Endpoint Management

Remote workforce and dispersed devices requesting access to corporate assets demand the ability to centrally discover, provision, deploy, update, and troubleshoot endpoint devices within the organization. Managing endpoints is important, as these endpoints can be the entry point to corporate networks for cyber criminals.

Employing an endpoint management solution presents many benefits to organizations such as protecting remote workforce, managing endpoint environments, automating provisioning and compliance, and supporting seamless endpoint troubleshooting.

6. Zero Trust cybersecurity

With the adoption of multiple cloud environments and agile processes, many corporate assets now exist outside of the traditional security perimeter. The use of “castle and moat” security practices are no longer adequate to protect these assets. With business boundaries blurring, trust has become a vulnerability.

The security perimeter needs to be defined around the identity of the person or the device requesting access. Strong and effective authentication and authorization enables a granular, responsive security approach by centralizing policy orchestration and distributing policy enforcement. Zero trust security is not a set of technologies, rather a culture that security needs to evolve to meet current needs.

7. Cloud PKI

Public key infrastructure (PKI) is a fundamental security tool used by most organizations today. However, with the introduction and proliferation of IoT, cloud and DevOps, the role of PKI is changing.

PKI is complex, requiring secure facilities, trained personnel, and the right hardware and software to run it effectively and keep it under control. To achieve this goal with limited IT and security resources, more and more organizations are moving their PKI to the cloud.

Agility and security of cloud infrastructure has enabled highly secure cloud-based PKI deployments, which are hosted and managed by a trusted partner. Cloud PKI benefits businesses in numerous ways as it ensures seamless and secure operations, reduces cost and accelerates time to value, and saves significant time and resources by delegating labor-intensive PKI management functions to the cloud.

8. Responsible AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is maturing rapidly as an incredibly powerful technology with seemingly limitless application. Combining human creativity and ingenuity with the scalability of machine learning is advancing our knowledge base and understanding at a remarkable pace. However, with great power comes great responsibility.

AI raises concerns on many fronts due to its potentially disruptive impact. These concerns include workforce displacement, loss of privacy, potential biases in decision-making and lack of control over automated systems and robots. Responsible AI focuses on ensuring the ethical, transparent and accountable use of AI technologies in a manner consistent with user expectations, organizational values and societal laws and norms.

Responsible AI can guard against the use of biased data or algorithms, ensure that automated decisions are justified and explainable, and help maintain user trust and individual privacy. By providing clear rules of engagement, responsible AI allows organizations to innovate and realize the transformative potential of AI.

9. Hyper automation

Hyper automation is a process in which businesses automate as many business and IT processes as possible using tools like AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, and other types of decision process and task automation tools.

Anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated. Many organizations are supported by a “patchwork” of technologies that are not lean, optimized, and connected. Legacy business processes that are not streamlined, create immensely expensive and extensive issues for organizations. Therefore, hyper automation is the key to operational efficiency and resilience for organizations.

10. IoT (in)security gap

IoT devices are expanding, boosting productivity and innovation across a variety of industries and organizations. Industrial IoT have transformed critical infrastructures such as healthcare, automotive, maritime and shipping. On the other hand, consumer IoT are being used extensively in homes to make our lives smarter and easier.

However, despite the benefits, IoT present many risks mostly coupled the lack of visibility and secure architectures, resulting in an increased threat surface. A single compromised node can be leveraged to break into corporate networks with severe consequences.

Sensors’ data is making the IoT a lucrative target. Insecure designs and architectures will result in non-encrypted personal data, hardcoded passwords, software and firmware updates from unverified sources. Issues related to wireless communication security will also increase.

Conclusion

Gartner says that the cybersecurity trends for 2021 will focus on three themes

  • People centricity. People are still the center of business operations. They need to be empowered by digital tools to interact and function in today’s shifting environment.
  • Location independence. A technology shift to support remote working business operations.
  • Resilience. Withstand global challenges and risks in a constantly shifting and volatile world.

The common theme behind all trends we analyzed in this post is IDENTITY. You cannot safeguard your business assets, value and reputation without enforcing the protection of identities. Protecting digital identities of individuals and devices/services is critical to ensure robust corporate cybersecurity posture.

AppViewX provides solutions for all businesses seeking to become risk and threat resilient. The AppViewX Platform is a modular, low-code software application that enables the automation and orchestration of network infrastructure using an intuitive, context-aware, visual workflow. The platform enables Ops teams to translate business requirements quickly and easily into automation workflows that improve agility, enforce compliance, eliminate errors, and reduce cost.

Muralidharan Palanisamy

About the Author

Muralidharan Palanisamy

Chief Solutions Officer

As Chief Solutions Officer, Murali is responsible for the overall product vision, development, and technical direction of AppViewX.

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