Netwrix 2021 Cybersecurity Predictions Point to More Intense Threats

Ransomware will do more damage in order to motivate payments.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

December 2, 2020

4 Min Read

Ravaging next-gen ransomware, cloud misconfigurations prompting more data breaches and more MSPs under attack are among Netwrix‘s 2021 cybersecurity predictions.

Most of Netwrix’s cybersecurity predictions arise from the digital transformation and new workflows required by the rapid move to remote work this year.

Ilia Sotnikov is vice president of product management at Netwrix.


Netwrix’s Ilia Sotnikov

“The coming year brings many opportunities for MSSPs and other service providers,” he said. “For instance, increased risk of human error, lack of expertise and staff to support newly acquired systems to support remote work will be drivers for organizations to turn to service providers for professional help. I suggest offering bundles dedicated to work-from-home and back-to-office support to ensure each organization will be able to find a solution for their specific needs.”

End clients will increasingly look for guidance from trusted advisers, not just “extra hands” to deploy and manage solutions, Sotnikov said. The ability to demonstrate and communicate risk enhancement over time can be an opportunity to stand out from the competition.

“The trick is not only to provide evidence of efficiency of your service, but also help the business executives on the client side connect this to the risk reduction that can be estimated in dollars,” he said. “At the same time, service providers will have to pay closer attention to security of their own systems next year. Adversaries recognize MSPs are growing and attractive targets so you can anticipate an increase in hacker attacks and phishing campaigns.

Ransomware and Data Breaches

Among Netwrix’s cybersecurity predictions, ransomware will do more damage to motivate payments. Damage from next-gen ransomware is more difficult to recover from. That will force organizations into paying the ransom. Cybercriminals will also expand to new targets, such as operational technology and IoT devices.

Cloud misconfigurations will be one of the top causes of data breaches. The speed of transition coupled with prioritizing productivity over security has made misconfigurations inevitable. That has resulted in overexposed data.

Also among Netwrix’s cybersecurity predictions, hackers will increasingly target service providers. The shortage of cybersecurity experts will lead more organizations to turn to MSPs. Hackers will conduct targeted attacks on MSPs and they’ll try to access not just one organization, but all of the MSP’s customers.

“Service providers should be beware of account compromise, which could potentially be leveraged to reach out to customers’ infrastructures,” Sotnikov said. “They should take measures to prevent the compromise, such as use of multifactor authentication, and maintain visibility into privileged account activity to detect potential intrusions. Accountability of admin accounts, visibility into changes and alerts on malicious activity (such as activity outside of business hours) should help MSSPs protect their business.”

The rapid digital transformation in 2020 will have a delayed impact on cybersecurity in 2021. Malicious hackers will exploit t he security gaps caused by mistakes during this rapid transition. And there will be new data breach patterns like recent Twitter hacks.

Justifying Cybersecurity Investments

Proof of value will drive business conversations, according to Netwrix. Executives will look for specific metrics to assess the value delivered by the products and security measures the company is using. The practice of justifying the value of current investments and the necessity of new investments will become more generally accepted.

Companies will balance cybersecurity and business needs by focusing on risk. Expectations will shift from the unrealistic notion of ensuring 100% security, to determining and meeting acceptable levels of risk and resilience.

“Each organization must conduct risk assessment to understand which risks are more probable,” Sotnikov said. “Then they need to estimate costs for the business if these events happen. They should then create a range for the risks from highly probable and costly, to least probable and less costly. The goal is to identify which cybersecurity incidents hurt business the most, and work on mitigating these risks first.”

Cyber Insurance and Regulation

Insurance and legislation will drive mass adoption of core security best practices. To minimize the risk of incurring steep fines for compliance failures, businesses will turn to cyber insurance. However, those policies will come with their own security standards and requirements. Those include regular risk assessment, and effective detection and response capabilities. Organizations will focus on both meeting those criteria and complying with the regulatory standards themselves.

“As the cyber insurance market is maturing, it is somewhat expected to see it driving executive awareness in cybersecurity,” Sotnikov said. “Insurers force organizations to realize that while 100% protection is impossible, certain cybersecurity fundamentals can significantly reduce the risks. This allows executives to have more meaningful conversations with their technical teams and with service providers.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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