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The Cybersecurity Challenges of 2021, Predicted (and How to Prepare for Them)

The events of 2020 have marked a crossroads in cybersecurity. As the global pandemic became a catalyst for digital transformation across organizations of all sizes, so too did cyberattacks continue to rise exponentially. Under the cover of COVID-19, bad actors have taken advantage of a more digitally distributed workforce to wreak havoc on industries everywhere.

From bored teenagers operating out of their bedrooms to organized gangs and their global networks, it’s predicted that cybercriminals will only get more sophisticated from now on, causing $6 trillion worth of damage in 2021. And the extra bad news? Cyberattacks are predicted to become more common, more powerful and more advanced in years to come.

Crystal ball-gazing: The changing nature of cybercrime

A new report from BeyondTrust forecasts a raft of emerging threats which will start having an impact on digitally transformed organizations in coming months. From the hacking of time, to the poisoning of ML data, to the most convincing of deepfakes, these criminal activities are all designed to disrupt IT systems, extort money, steal identities and more. It’s clear that cybercriminals are scarily good at reinventing themselves to capitalize on the post-pandemic landscape.

What can organizations do about it?

With these grim predictions in mind, is it possible to outsmart the cybercriminals? The short answer has to be ‘yes’ – business today leans so heavily on data and technology, there is no other option but to find ways to protect it. Yet just as the fictional goblins tasked with securing Gringotts Bank found, no single strategy is impervious to attack.

Organizations need a multi-pronged approach for protecting people, systems and data from cyberattacks. They should cover everything from risk assessments to protective monitoring, and they need to be continually evaluated and updated in response to the changing threat landscape.

Your people are central to any cybersecurity strategy. Yet securing skilled cyber experts is a big issue – and it’s getting bigger. It’s projected that there will be a staggering 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. This talent drought is being felt across all industries. In healthcare, for example, cybersecurity roles can take 70% longer to fill compared to other IT jobs. If you can’t find external talent to fill critical cybersecurity roles in your organization, then the next best thing is to tap into training to upskill your existing IT workforce.

Another big prediction: Cybersecurity training is set to explode

Already, organizations are adopting strategies to equip staff with vital cybersecurity skills. Spurred by the shift to remote work in 2020 – and the new risks that all these endpoints create – there has been massive growth in this space. For example, in consumer goods and services, there was a 6,343% increase in consumption of cybersecurity courses compared to 2019. Looking ahead, cybersecurity is ranked one of the top six online learning trends to watch in 2021.

Question is, how do you choose the right cybersecurity course or content for your team? You need a training provider whose content is absolutely up-to-the-minute – so you can educate your teams on the very latest threats and show them how to protect themselves. You also need content delivered in an easily accessible format that enables learning from anywhere.

It’s why the VMware Cyber Readiness program – delivered via the VMware Learning Platform and curated by cybersecurity experts GRIMM – is growing in popularity. The training takes users through a range of cyber challenges, from basic to complex, that align to the top vulnerabilities as identified by the SANS Institute, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The content is constantly updated to ensure that users can stay one step ahead of potential threats. And it can all be consumed remotely.

Remain one step ahead of attackers

The hacking of time or the poisoning of ML data may not happen tomorrow. But threats like these are on the horizon, and in the meantime, organizations still have to contend with the very real threats that are out there today. You simply can’t afford to sit still when it comes to cybersecurity. Offering out-of-the-box training to your employees is a cost-effective, proven way to maintain your team’s skills and reduce the likelihood and impact of attacks.

To learn more about how VMware Cyber Readiness could help strengthen your organization’s security posture, get in touch today.

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