In 2021, IT security can’t just be predictive—it needs to be preventative.

It’s no crystal ball, but as IT experts study trends in cyberattacks and consider developments in technology, they can often definitively pinpoint where and how hackers will target their next victims. As important as it is for IT-focused leadership to prioritize accordingly, it’s equally important to know in what ways your organization may be at risk in your unique environment.

According to PwC’s 2021 Global Digital Trust Insights, 71% of enterprise executives plan to incorporate IT security into company-wide risk management strategies this year, focusing specifically on early cyber risk detection. It’s all part of a larger, more critical movement to establish preventative IT security practices, an approach that will contribute to a broader recognition of and response to identified cyber threat trends.

Part of building a resilient, adaptive IT security strategy is knowing what’s most important to address. Because those priorities shift from year to year according to the threat landscape, it’s important to keep up with recent developments in the digital world to anticipate your organization’s biggest concerns—and potential vulnerabilities.

Knowing the top five cyberattacks expected to sweep 2021 can help you adapt your IT security strategy to be proactive and truly ready to rise to any risk occasion.

Anticipating 2021’s Top 5 Cyber Attack Fronts

  1. Attacks in the Cloud

Devoted readers of our blog will know that the future of IT security is in the cloud, but with that future comes an onslaught of cyberattacks. Because cloud servers are hosting an increasingly large volume of data for organizations of all sizes, data breaches are a particularly severe concern.

The most important solution to counter potential risks is to secure every step of your data transfer process. That can involve everything from ensuring your employees have a secure connection to your organization’s network (and aren’t using an unsecured VPN) to taking advantage of encryption, a simple and widespread security measure that protects your data on the go. Encryption will ensure that if your data is intercepted mid-transfer, a risk that a storage space such as the cloud poses, that data will be incomprehensible to the hacker.

  1. Rising Ransomware

Ransomware is a particularly hot topic this year, and when 44% of cyberattacks in 2020 involved ransomware or another form of malware, it’s not positioned to disappear anytime soon. Malware attacks aren’t always easy to detect, but your organization has the opportunity to invest in frequent malware detection and purging, as well as exercising cyber resilience. It’s never a bad idea to look into your network vulnerabilities as well, to zero in on the assets most appealing to ransomware attackers and prioritize them in your protection.

  1. Disruption to Critical Services

A crucial consideration for any entity gearing up to defend against cyberattacks is how those attacks may target essential services, particularly if your organization is part of the healthcare industry. Malware can bring your systems and, by extension, your ability to process patients and customers to a grinding halt. And while that is a costly inconvenience at best for all organizations, those in healthcare know it can be a life and death situation at worst.

Adaptability is a central value in ensuring your IT security strategy holds water in every circumstance. Therefore, your network should have contingencies in place for attacks or unrelated blackouts, for which implementing updates and patches is key, as well as investing in backup servers and additional functionality.

  1. State-Sponsored Infrastructure Attacks

In recent years, border-crossing cyberattacks have elevated everyone’s international perspective on risk. PwC reports that one of the most anticipated methods of cyberattack in 2021 is military cyber-division assaults on governments and businesses alike. These attacks are usually meant to expose and exploit national infrastructure vulnerabilities, gather intel, and/or exploit money from systems and people—a motive shared with countless domestic hackers.

It may be difficult to imagine your organization the target of an organized state-sponsored cyberattack, but they’re concerningly prominent, particularly if your business is related to a prevalent public service (consider healthcare again, as well as telecoms, utilities, and education, among others). In addition to defending with basic security measures, your organization would also do well to integrate best practices into its culture, ensuring that even highly coordinated attacks like this won’t catch your people off guard. You can also isolate your most sensitive IT security systems and data stores to give state-sponsored hackers a run for their strategies.

  1. Disinformation Campaigns

The digital world fosters plenty of misinformation daily, but organized disinformation campaigns can enable widespread scams, phishing attempts, fearmongering, and social engineering of your employees, leading them to click on appealing but malicious links or inadvertently give up sensitive information.

Whether you’re on the job or off, it’s always a good idea to check the sources of digital content and certainly to practice critical thinking before clicking. But in building a more preventative security culture company-wide, your organization can educate employees on how not to fall for potentially inflammatory or simply false information by staying abreast of hackers’ present-day methods and informing employees as they become known. One of the most popular phishing scams of 2020 had to do with offering high-demand COVID safety supplies that were, of course, false in nature. Ask a friend, a search engine, or your IT security team—there will always be a way to bust, instances of disinformation.

Prevention: Where To Begin

Concerned as to whether you’re covering the basics to head off these 5 threats in 2021? Or is your organization ready to deploy preventative measures that bolster an already robust IT security strategy? BAI Security’s exhaustive IT Security Assessment will give you a complete and accurate understanding of your risk status, as well as customized solutions for your unique environment.

For more information about options to prevent and defend, contact us today.