Hot cybersecurity trends you absolutely must watch
This year’s nastiest malware could be succeeded by a completely different threat next year. And by the time you resolve your existing vulnerabilities, new ones could be created.
While nobody can predict the future, you can hedge your risks by keeping a close eye on the latest cybersecurity trends. A little bit of looking forward can go a long way to helping you see which incremental changes to your defenses will be needed to fend off the next big attack.
Here are some trends to watch in the coming months.
CYBERSECURITY TRENDS IN SPENDING
Let’s start with the industry as a whole.
How much companies are spending on cybersecurity (and what they’re spending it on), year after year, can be a good indicator of where things are moving. Sudden increases in business continuity spending, for example, can signal rising concerns about a new threat.
12.4% increase in spending
By the middle of 2021, cybersecurity spending was on track to increase by more than 12% over the previous year, according to data from Gartner. This figure is almost double the previous year’s: in 2020, cybersecurity spending increased by roughly 6%.
$150 billion in total
Worldwide, businesses are projected to spend between $150.4 billion on cybersecurity in the next year, based on Gartner’s survey of more than 2,000 CIOs. This is up from $133 billion in 2020 and includes all spending on security software, services and other types of defenses that we break down below.
61% of organizations plans to increase cybersecurity
In Gartner’s survey, 61% of the CIOs indicated that their companies were increasing cybersecurity efforts in 2021. Businesses increased cybersecurity spending in numerous categories, including:
- Application Security
- Cloud Security
- Data Security
- Identity Access Management
- Infrastructure Protection
- Integrated Risk Management
- Network Security Equipment
- Other Information Security Software
- Security Services
- Consumer Security Software
Remote work is driving the increase
Analysts say that the shift to remote work is a key driver for the increased cybersecurity spending. As businesses continue to adapt to a post-pandemic work environment, they are increasingly relying on an array of new technologies and services to support a hybrid workforce. This requires an increased focus on cybersecurity solutions that keep data and systems secure.
41% increase in cloud security
Cloud security is now the fastest-growing category of cybersecurity spending in 2021-2022. 41% of surveyed IT executives said they are investing more heavily on systems and technologies to protect their cloud. This aligns with the overall cybersecurity trend of increasing security to support remote work. In total, cloud security spending is expected to grow from $595 billion to $841 billion. However, despite its rapid growth, cloud security represented the smallest segment of cybersecurity spending in 2021.
Security services grows to $72 billion
Among all the categories of increased cybersecurity spending, the largest by far is security services. Businesses are projected to spend roughly $72.5 billion on security services this year. These services can include cybersecurity consulting, hardware support, technology deployment and other outsourced services, as well as managed and subscription services.
12% increase in application security
Application security continues to be one of the top cybersecurity trends, as businesses deploy various software solutions to combat threats. Common examples of application security include antimalware software, email filtering applications, endpoint security and firewall software, to name a few.
Security testing continues to rise
Services and technologies for testing security are projected to grow faster than all other segments, according to Gartner. The segment was expected to grow about 14% annually over the last few years. Testing a business’s software and hardware for vulnerabilities is a critical part of any disaster recovery plan. This is an area that organizations are beginning to take more seriously as they invest in more rigorous testing solutions.
7.8% growth in data privacy & data loss prevention
Not surprisingly, businesses are very concerned about protecting their data (and keeping it out of the hands of cyber-criminals). Privacy-related security technologies will drive roughly 10% of the market in the next year, according to Gartner, and are projected to grow about 7.8% annually through 2022.
Security services represent nearly half of the market
We mentioned above how spending on security services is expected to grow to $72 billion. That represents roughly 48% of all cybersecurity spending, according to figures from Gartner.
Infrastructure protection is the 2nd biggest cybersecurity trend
Behind security services, infrastructure protection represents the second largest area of cybersecurity spending this year. Businesses are on track to spend $23.9 billion to safeguard their IT systems, which can include both on-premise and cloud infrastructure. This trend has been particularly vital during the shift to remote work as organizations work to harden their defenses.
Network security equipment to grow by 9.6%
Network security equipment represents the third largest segment of cybersecurity spending, following security services infrastructure protection. On track to reach $17 billion, this segment has increased by nearly 10% over the previous year as businesses work to thwart threats “at the edge” and within the network. Network security equipment can include everything from firewall devices to intrusion detection systems (IDS).
Many businesses still racing to comply with GDPR
The deadline for EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed in May 2018, but many organizations (including those outside the EU) are still catching up and expected to invest in GDPR-related consulting and implementation services in the next year. GDPR dictates the protocols that companies must follow when collecting and storing users’ data.
Costs of an attack are increasing
A survey of 660 IT security professionals found that the cost of a successful cybersecurity attack now averages $7.1 million, up from $5 million the year before. More specifically, the average cost for each compromised endpoint is $440, while small- to medium-sized businesses average even higher at $763 per endpoint. These costs include losses in productivity, IT and data theft.
We’ll dig into some additional, specific drivers for security spending in the “Technologies” section below. But first, let’s look at some of the emerging cyber-threats you need to be aware of in the months ahead.
THREATS & VULNERABILITIES
When the WannaCry ransomware attack infected more than 200,000 computers in May 2017, many businesses were completely blindsided. In fact, many of them had never even heard of ransomware before. But in the years since, attacks like this catapulted ransomware into the cybersecurity spotlight, and today it is one of the most dangerous cybersecurity threats to businesses and government agencies.
If you want to proactively defend against the next big style of attack—whatever it looks like—before it happens, then here are the top cybersecurity trends you should be watching.
Ransomware is still the #1 threat
In a survey by Datto, more than 70% of IT providers said that ransomware is a top threat facing businesses today. But despite the troubling high-profile incidents, like the attack on Colonial Pipeline and the software supplier Kaseya, there is still a disconnect between IT providers and small businesses. 84% of surveyed IT providers indicated they are “very concerned” about the state of ransomware today, but only 30% said their clients shared their concern.
IT providers are now a top target
Savvy hacker groups are using a new strategy to reach a wider range of businesses. They’re increasingly targeting their IT providers in an attempt to gain access to the secure platforms they use to manage security for different clients. 95% of surveyed IT providers said their own businesses are now being targeted.
Cryptojacking / cryptomining jumps 600%
Without a doubt, one of the biggest cybersecurity trends in the last few years was the meteoric rise of cryptojacking. While it doesn’t make as big of a splash as threats like ransomware, cryptojacking bogs down your systems by quietly mining cryptocurrency on your machines. It steals your computing resources, hurts worker productivity and wears down your hardware.
Fileless attacks increasing and 10x more likely to succeed
Malware is typically delivered by email, when unsuspecting users open file attachments or click links to suspicious websites. But increasingly, hackers are bypassing the end user by exploiting system vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be in the operating system, applications, browser plugins and other software. 77% of IT systems that were successfully compromised in 2017 involved fileless attacks, according to Barkly. Fileless attacks are 10 times more likely to succeed than traditional file-based attacks.
Email 2x more likely than exploits
Even while fileless attacks are on the rise, email remains the #1 attempted entry point for attackers. Symantec says attacks by email are twice as likely as those from exploit kits (though they aren’t as successful), with 1 out of every 9 users encountering email malware.
Phishing emails are the leading cause of ransomware
54% of surveyed IT providers said the phishing emails were the cause of successful ransomware attacks on their clients. This is why social engineering is such a reliable method for hackers. By leveraging user deception, hackers can get past even the most rigid cybersecurity safeguards. Once hackers fool a user into providing their login information, that information can be used to infiltrate a business’s most secure systems.
Supply chain attacks on the rise
When you look at who’s receiving all these malicious emails, some telling patterns begin to emerge. Increasingly, hackers are targeting specific types of industries believed to have more vulnerable systems. For example, Symantec found that 23.8% of surveyed users at wholesale trade companies have malicious emails sent to then, compared to only 14.4% of users at retail trade companies. This is also emblematic of a larger trend of hackers targeting supply chains: so-called “third-party” or “fourth-party” attacks that can disrupt not just a single business but many organizations down the chain.
Most common malicious email: bills & invoices
Symantec found that malicious attachments disguised as “bills” and “invoices” now make up 9.2% of all malicious emails. The reason? Users open them. Unsuspecting employees interact with these messages because the messages look like they’re legitimate. But in reality, the attachments infect the user’s computer as soon as they’re opened. (This underscores the importance of thorough cybersecurity training for employees.) “Package delivery” emails make up another 9.1% of disguised emails, followed by “scanned documents” at 8.4%.
55% increase in attacks on businesses
Mid-2018 saw a huge jump in the number of malware detections at organizations around the globe. Attacks on businesses increased by 55% in the third quarter of 2018, according to Malwarebytes. In contrast, attacks on consumers increased by only 4% during the same period. Researchers at Malwarebytes explained, “Threat actors are searching for more bang for their buck, and business targets are returning more value for their efforts.”
607% increase in malware in agriculture
In 2020, agriculture quietly became an increased target for malware as detections skyrocketed over the previous year’s figures. According to Malwarebytes, the agriculture industry suffered through a 607% increase in malware detections. Overall, the agriculture industry is ranked 7th in total malware detections, tied with the automotive industry.
Business services are the top target
Across all industries, business service companies report the largest share or malware detections. According to Malwarebytes, roughly 18% of all commercial malware detections are occur within business services, followed by software and technology at 15%, education at 14%, manufacturing at 10% and healthcare at 10%.
Big spike in banking Trojans
Over the last few years, banking Trojans have been among the most common types of malware detections for both businesses and consumers. This malware runs quietly in the background and spies on users when they log into online banking websites, thereby stealing their login credentials. And it’s not just workers’ personal banking accounts you need to be concerned about. Banking Trojans can also steal login information for your business’s banking accounts and other online financial services. Three big Trojans to watch for are Emotet, Panda Banker and UriZone.
Antimalware solutions aren’t keeping up
IT professionals estimate their antimalware software is only blocking about 43% of attacks, according to a survey by Ponemon Institute. This means more than half of attacks are getting through, despite having safeguards in place. Respondents also said that their antimalware solutions were reporting more false positives, alerting them to problems that didn’t actually exist. Better safe than sorry; however, these false positives only add more work for busy help desk teams.
We mentioned a few trends in cybersecurity spending above, but it’s worth highlighting a few more big ones. Here are some technologies that experts say will be crucial for defending against evolving cyberattacks in the next few years.
- Cloud security: The shift to the cloud is still happening, and many businesses are just now looking at public/private/hybrid cloud architecture options for the first time. In the process, they are also seeking the best security for their data. GBH Insights forecasts that cloud security services and hardware will become one of the biggest cybersecurity technologies in the next 3 to 5 years.
- Next-generation firewall technology: In recent years, firewall technologies have gotten better at identifying threats within deeper layers of data packets. Analysts believe further advancements in these technologies will be key to keeping malware out of our networks and applications in the years ahead. GBH Insights sees next-gen firewall technology as a big driver for cybersecurity spending in the years ahead.
- Data backup: Backing up data is nothing new, but newer solutions in recent years are helping businesses achieve new levels of business continuity. For example, technologies from Datto, such as Inverse Chain backups, hybrid cloud replication and instant virtualization, result in far more resilient backups, higher backup frequencies and much faster recoveries. In the years ahead, these backup technologies will remain key to helping businesses stay up and running after a destructive cyberattack like ransomware.
Not enough can be said about the importance of routine employee training for thwarting attacks. Today’s cybersecurity trends show that some businesses are taking this more seriously, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. In a survey by Datto, 26% of IT providers said that ransomware attacks on their clients were due to a lack of cybersecurity training.
Training should be conducted at least once a year and as part of the employee onboarding process. All users (including executives) should be trained on how to spot potentially malicious emails, what to do about them and safe practices for using the web, network and devices while at work.
The latest cybersecurity trends show many organizations are investing more heavily in technologies and services to keep their systems safe. But threats continue to evolve. Threats like ransomware and social engineering will continue to disrupt businesses in the years ahead. For those that are unprepared (particularly small businesses), the financial losses can be too great to overcome. This is why deploying multiple layers of security, including network protection, antimalware and data backup, is essential to keeping threats at bay.
Get the best protection for your data
Protect your data from a cybersecurity disaster with business continuity solutions from Datto and Invenio IT. For more information, request a free demo or contact our experts today by calling (646) 395-1170 or by emailing success@invenioIT.com.