There are two maxims essential to the understanding of security. First, no security system is 100% effective. Second, hackers are always preparing for future attacks, and you need to be ready, too.
Future-proofing cybersecurity is notoriously difficult because no one really knows what’s around the corner. However, many of the principles that will keep you safe in the future are already well known.
Are you prepared for today and tomorrow? Here’s how to protect your business from the inevitable.
Master Cybersecurity Basics Now
One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself and your company for future cyber threats is to master today’s basics. It’s a surprisingly simple concept, but for many, it still hasn’t happened. Statistics show that 50% of people use the same passwords for both work and personal accounts. What’s more, people are now more likely to share their passwords with colleagues than they were before. Password hygiene is one of the most accessible security concepts out there, and yet, few continue to follow it.
The issue with failing to ensure baseline protection is two-fold. First, it already leads to cyber attacks today. What’s more pressing, however, is that those attacks could not only be more frequent but much more dangerous. The advent of 5G networks and the Internet of Things means the sheer number of vulnerabilities available will explode along with the number of devices.
If you’re not sure where your teams stand on cybersecurity issues, now is the time to find out. You should be discussing both threats and modes of protection with your team to ensure that everyone has a baseline level of training in cybersecurity as well as knowledge of evolving threats.
Learning from Vulnerable Industries Will Be Crucial
When the average person thinks of cyber attacks, they think of treasure troves of data collected from social media sites or credit card issuers. These are the traditional types of loot found on data dumps. However, even industries and jobs that you might not associate with cybersecurity are on hackers’ radar, and the value of their data is continuing to grow.
As noted by Bradley University, healthcare and healthcare-adjacent industries will continue to have a huge target on their backs. In fact, according to Radware, 39% of healthcare organizations experience daily or weekly attacks by hackers. Most organizations reported an increase in malware attacks, but they’re also watching as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and socially-engineered attacks grow. Thankfully, ransomware attacks are trending down, but healthcare is still more likely than other industries to experience them.
Improving cybersecurity in healthcare largely includes the establishment of a security-conscious culture and ensuring the infrastructure exists to protect the network from invaders. However, this will likely change again as the healthcare industry adds more and more devices and develops a greater sense of patient involvement. For every new log-in and device, there is a new vulnerability. The lessons that the healthcare industry will inevitably learn over the next five to ten years will help inform other industries as they become more and more ‘online.’
Addressing the Skills Shortage Could Save You
There’s no amount of software that can protect you from future attacks. This much we know today: spending on cybersecurity has never been greater, yet it has in no way diminished the number of attacks that occur each year. However, in addition to spending on holistic programs, you also need to spend on education and skills.
There’s a huge cybersecurity skill gap that isn’t budging. As technology advances and tools like Artificial Intelligence become implemented into Cyber Security routines, the number of unfilled jobs in the field is expected to grow to 1.8 million by 2022, which represents a 20% jump from 1.5 million back in 2015. There’s a real skill shortage, and it doesn’t seem like it can be solved in the traditional classroom. Not only is there a lack of formal cybersecurity programs in third-level education, but those courses are increasingly and exceptionally expensive. It’s no surprise that so many of the people who do have these skills are self-taught.
Rather than relying on IT professionals to come to you with these skills, it’s important for businesses to invest in them on a regular basis. Thankfully, new tools designed by those same self-taught ethical hackers are popping up and available to IT professionals with a need for new skills. Hacker101 and Google Gruyere are two programs that teach the kind of ethical hacking and relevant exercises that will help your teams develop the skills to not only identify vulnerabilities and patch them but stop hackers in their tracks.
But it’s not just an inability to fill cybersecurity-specific roles that threatens your future. As mentioned earlier, a lack of skills among non-technical staff is detrimental to your security, too. So in addition to sending your current IT staff away for more certifications and courses, you should also be taking a step to ensure that your broader staff is trained. For example, hiring an IT training specialist to bring the subject to life and remove barriers to learning can ensure that your team not only learns the material but how to employ it as well.
Future Security Starts Now — Are You Prepared?
While looking ahead to the future of cyber threats is important, a security team’s ability to combat future threats lies in its ability to instill a security culture today. Without a secure foundation of skills and the decision to learn from industries already most threatened, your cybersecurity team won’t be able to stop the threats of today much less what’s coming down the pipeline tomorrow.
Ransomware Protection Checklist
Ransomware attacks are increasing, but they’re not unstoppable. There is no single layer or control that can be implemented which will completely protect you. Using a layered approach to fight against ransomware and going back-to-basics is the best method to use when defending against attack. Download this checklist for a starting point to protect your organization from the preventable threat of ransomware.
Author Bio: Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer from the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in topics related to technology, AI, Machine Learning, and Cybersecurity. If she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling the U.S. and being curled up in a blanket, reading a good book. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Jori is a guest blogger. All opinions are her own.