2020 is ready to bid adieu and the entire world is optimistic about 2021. If 2020 has taught us anything, then it’s definitely the flexibility of IT strategies. Throughout the year, we have been reminded repeatedly about the continuous shifts in technology, IT threat patterns, drastic alteration of IT policies, mid-year shuffle of cybersecurity budget and topsy turvy change of work culture. Nobody anticipated that they would have to retool IT operations overnight due to the sudden pandemic and lockdown situations. COVID-19 has not only forced 360 degree turn in our personal lives, but also affected businesses and enterprise work culture.
2021: Security Expectations & Threat Possibilities
In the last three quarters, cybercriminals have capatlized on cyber vulnerabilities. Several incidents of data breaches, malicious activities and abuses of privileged credentials even in big enterprises have given nightmares to the IT security community. More than 80% organizations claim that the threat pattern has become more sophisticated and it is worsening in the passage of time.
So what is our expectation in 2021? Needless to mention, the entire world is praying for a secured ‘new normal’ and the cybersecurity policies must aggressively confront the risks. We need to brace ourselves with smarter mechanisms as more complex cyber threats are bound to unleash. ARCON, being a thought leader in the advanced IT security domain, have observed, identified, selected and prognosticated the below trends that could top the list of boardroom discussions in the coming days.
APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats): The malicious actors in this prolonged and targeted cyberattack gain illegal access to endpoints and remain undetected for an extended period of time and move laterally to exploit sensitive information.
The information includes financial records, intellectual property, business contracts, manufacturers’ and stakeholders’ identities. Even national defense plans, military strategies are prime targets of APTs. Considering the change in work environment, this threat can wreak havoc both on-prem and remote work conditions. Hence the chances of APTs are stronger in 2021.
While continuous malware detection and responses solutions such as Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Network Detection and Response (NDR) are very important to mitigate APT, A robust ARCON | Privileged Access Management (PAM) tool can enable security and risk management teams to thwart attacks on sensitive data, thanks to its robust set of features that prevents unauthorized access to target systems.
Targeted attacks: The attackers in this type of threat compromise a target entity’s IT infrastructure for a longer period of time while maintaining anonymity. The most dangerous part of this threat is that the attackers often customize and modify their methods depending on the nature of the victims. Most of the organizations fail to circumvent the disaster as the source of the threat remains anonymous. The scenario turns worse when the malicious actors target privileged credentials with the help of undefined malware and eventually obtain illegitimate access to confidential data assets.
A robust Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution could safeguard organizations from targeted attacks by reinforcing user authorization, multi-factor authentication of the users and stringent password management policy where privileged passwords are randomized, rotated and changed frequently to maximize the security. Strong user authentication mechanisms prevent anonymous users from accessing the critical systems and applications at any point of time.
Remote Access Security: Almost 89% of the global workforce is working remotely today due to the pandemic. To ensure uninterrupted business processes, the organizations are imposing mandatory remote work culture. With obvious reasons the organized cybercriminals are continuously lured to exploit the vulnerable situations to reap maximum illegal benefits from the remote work processes.
ARCON Remote Access has already experienced a rising demand in most of the industries for Single-sign-on (SSO), real-time monitoring and user restrictions capabilities. The privileged users in the enterprise network are allowed access to the target systems strictly on a ‘need-to-know’ and ‘need-to-do’ basis. Hence, it ensures that only legitimate IT users are accessing the critical systems in the entire IT ecosystem.
Cyber Insurance: The demand for cyber insurance will keep rising in 2021 as it covers cyber risks with a highly competitive monetary margin. Organizationals normally stumble to recover massive financial losses in a disastrous aftermath caused by data breach or cyber incidents. They might not always have adequate resources to recover. Hence cyber insurance is going to top the list of IT requirements in most of the global organizations.
In this backdrop, organizations would invariably try to reduce their premium on insurance policy. In order to do that, adequate IT security policies should be in place and the organization should be compliant to the global security standards like EU GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA etc. Deploying a robust and reputed Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution can help organizations to stay secured both financially and technologically.
Social Engineering: When we talk about social media, it seems that we are prying more into individual perspective. However, continuous monitoring of corporate social media accounts is going to be highly crucial in 2021. The cyber goons are not just targeting individuals but businesses as well since most of the organizations are promoting or doing their marketing activities through social media platforms to stay afloat in this challenging time. For example, a malicious actor’s post about hosting a webinar may seem to be a legitimate business activity. The main objective is to drive the visitors to any malicious website to siphon off personal information. If the user authentication and verification practices of the organization are poor then this might lead to disaster. Moreover, many organizations depend on third-party service providers who manage their social media accounts. Due to shared credentials and mutual access permissions, the risks double up. Lightweight password vaults and robust authentication can address these challenges.
UBA (User behaviour Analytics): Since remote work conditions are the ‘new normal’ of the IT world, monitoring users and analyzing their behaviour is going to be the top priority of a secured IT environment. The absence of a behaviour profiling mechanism is the reason behind data abuse, misuse of credentials and cyber espionage. Any anomalous end-user behaviour, majorly influenced by greed, wrong motive or revenge results in disruption of day-to-day IT operations and the overall business process. Digital workforce is expanding fast and simultaneously the number of endpoints and applications are also increasing. In this backdrop, continuous assessment of the users’ trustworthiness can prevent misuse of IT assets.
ARCON’s User Behaviour Analytics (UBA) tool helps organizations to overcome this ambiguity with a detailed report of all user activities performed on a given date and time to help the administrators take crucial IT decisions. With the help of real-time threat detection capability, this tool enables the security team to configure baseline activities as per rule and role-based policies. Moreover, the user access is granted with “Just-in-time Privilege” to restrict the duration of the activities and thus improves the overall access control mechanism of the IT ecosystem.
High demand for Cloud Security: For better technological and operational convenience, most of the industries are opting for the cloud-based IT infrastructure. It enables to quickly scale up data storage and data processing capacity as per organizations’ requirements. The flexibility of cloud storage helps to select where the organizations wish to run their systems. However, there might be chances of some grave security risks as poor access controls, absence of user authentication mechanism in the IaaS environment could invite heavy and permanent damage in 2021.
ARCON | Privileged Access Management (PAM) offers multi-factor authentication to ensure secure access to applications, databases, and cloud resources. It creates a robust shield around the privileged accounts to ensure secured access in the IaaS environment and prevent unauthorized access. Hence, security of the privileged credentials is highly imperative to ensure risk-free sessions. For more convenience, the comprehensive report of daily logins assures the risk management with a safe IaaS platform. A live dashboard depicting seamless monitoring of all the tasks is an additional benefit.
Like every year, we would like to retaliate our message of ‘prevention is better than cure’. We all hope for the best but it is wise to be prepared for the worst possibilities. To avert anything catastrophic, the stringent IT policies have to be in place and should be followed proactively. ARCON always believes in being proactive – not reactive. Happy 2021!
ARCON is a leading enterprise risk control solutions provider, specializing in risk-predictive technologies. ARCON | User Behaviour Analytics enables to monitor end-user activities in real time. ARCON | Privileged Access Management reinforces access control and mitigates data breach threats. ARCON | Secure Compliance Management is a vulnerability assessment tool.