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Key focal points for cybersecurity in 2023

For the past few years, the responsibility of cybersecurity initiatives has moved from the IT department to the boardroom. As we saw in 2022, the attacks launched against organizations, both regulatory and in terms of losing customer trust, have increased in literally every phase of the organization.

Most often, people think of cybersecurity as an ongoing battle between security experts and highly motivated cybersecurity hackers. However, threats are likely to combine their forces together to share their talents. Their end goal is exposing targeted and properly secured networks using very sophisticated phishing attacks against improperly trained employees to gain any leverage available to achieve access.

Here's a brief glimpse of some of the key trends you’re likely to see in 2023:

Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud security

The more devices connected within the network, the more potential doors and loopholes will exist that will allow attackers to get in and access the data. For example, IoT devices may range from home appliances, cars, building alarm systems, to electronic and exercise devices. The reason these devices will be targeted is because the manufacturers haven’t applied recent security patches and updates. Hackers will notice these weaknesses more and more, which carries potential payback ramifications.

Work from home will become a priority for businesses

Since the onset of the pandemic, many organizations have had to rethink their policies to survive. And many organizations have been responsible for providing IT equipment to their employees to meet this objective. However, this can also bring enormous risk depending on the business or organization and whether or not they’ve properly educated their employees in basic do’s and don’ts of cybersecurity practices. With more employees working remotely, it’s very likely that scammers will use sophisticated phishing techniques and target potential employees based upon responses received from highly disguised emails. Scammers use these techniques to have employees download targeted malware so that the hackers can launch split-second attacks to gain as much information as possible before they are detected.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a more prominent role in cybersecurity

Hackers will use every possible advantage to exploit every weakness they can find as the number of attacks continues to rise. Many companies will start trying to use machine learning algorithms to move large amounts of data across the network in real-time for more effective business practices. However, hackers and state-sponsored criminals are growing very proficient at identifying this and developing various algorithms to launch massive denial of service attacks against the organizations and any weak security endpoints they can identify. Both hackers and security agents will essentially be in a race to ensure the newest and most sophisticated algorithms containing the affected malware are targeted against the organization at high levels of speed. This is in the hopes of bringing down the network with a denial of service attack.

Building an effective security awareness training program will be essential to the effectiveness of the organization

It’s no longer good enough for employers or employees to think cybersecurity is an issue for only IT to take care of. 2022 saw an exponentially increased amount of phishing attacks based solely on engineering methods to trick users into divulging various co-worker email addresses, calendar availabilities, or other personnel contacts within the organization. Because of the enormous success these types of attacks serve for hackers in 2022, all employees within any organization will be prime targets for the most disguised schemes to obtain the hackers’ financial gain. For example, last year organizations faced an approximately 34 percent increase each month in the total number of attacks both directly and indirectly made by employees due to lack of training. For some organizations this may not be that severe a risk depending upon what type of data is being stored within the organization’s network. Human error is still a primary cause of data breaches. Organizations will need to structure highly developed security awareness training programs to educate employees to keep their guard up, always. This is essential not to fall privy to these attacks.

Expect the cloud initiative to explode.

As organizations seek to transfer the risk of cybersecurity attacks from their responsibility to cloud service providers, this will bring tremendous challenges to under-financed programs with cybersecurity personnel with very limited experience. Many of these companies will not have the bandwidth to train their internal employees properly for the cloud initiative. This will bring tremendous risks regarding protecting the customers’ data being stored by the organization. These mom-and-pop organizations, including those that have been around for some time, should strongly consider hiring a third-party vendor who specializes in identifying weak points within the organization and a lack of policy documented directives, who can build a close working relationship within that organization and walk them through each step of the process to prepare them for the cloud environment challenges they’ll be facing. Not all cloud environments are continuously scanned to identify weak points with the cloud provider. Therefore, it will be essential for these third-party vendors to come into the organization. Their focus should be to create focal points addressing agenda items, specific time frames for remediation, and to suggest workable solutions that will allow the company to move toward the cloud environment.

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