Another year has gone by. 2020, for many, will be one of those years not to be mentioned again, well, at least not fondly!
The COVID-19 Pandemic, US Presidential Election, civil unrest, wildfires, hurricanes… 2020 was a year full of terrible news. Amidst the already terrible, the bad actors didn’t give this year a rest either. Instead, cyber criminals exploited people's fears and the sudden transition to online technologies for their gain.
Cyber attacks and ransomware saw a significant rise this year and continues to escalate and cybersecurity was top of mind for our clients. As such, we really pushed hard on basic security practices such as MFA, End Point Management, and cybersecurity education for our clients.
Did the pandemic force us to “pivot”? No, not really. SiFr has been a Cloud first company since the beginning and we’ve long advocated the use of technology to make business, and more importantly, peoples' lives better. We’re thankful that our model works and we’re able to use our experience to deliver value to our clients when they needed to adopt a remote work model fast.
At the end of the day, our core business belief is unshaken – we deliver sound advice and quality implementation services.
Ransomware risk is still potent. What’s worthy of note is that while ransomware could have previously been mitigated by having adequate backups to restore from, attackers have upped the stakes by sharing data gathered if the ransom isn’t paid.
As people become more vigilant in protecting themselves against Phishing attacks, attackers have moved toward “smishing”, SMS based phishing attacks. SMS spam mitigation isn’t nearly as sophisticated as computers. There is no safe-link detection, no anti-virus, no “hover-links”, which make smishing attacks harder to detect.
Creators of malware have discovered it's profitable to license their malware as you would any other software. This makes malware more readily available to attackers without them needing specific technology skills. This of course triggers a further rise of ransomware.
Threats Targeting Non-Computer Computers (IoT)
Nowadays, just about every piece of hardware device is networked and has internet access. Smart phones, Smart Speakers, TVs, even Smart Fans… This makes them equally vulnerable targets for attack as your typical computer. We've seen an increase of exploits targeting these smart devices that are connected to the internet.
Digital Transformation Continues
As businesses were forced to transition to remote working, or deliver their business with the reliance of the internet, we saw an acceleration towards the adoption of digital tools. While Digital Transformation was not a new concept or practice, the pandemic has certainly accelerated its adoption.
We saw an increase in client adoption of Cloud technology, such as Microsoft 365, Google Workplace, and of course Zoom.
Zero Trust. What It Is and Why It’s Important
Zero Trust is a security concept that is centered on the belief that an organization should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters, and instead, must verify everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access.
Zero Trust is ever more important with a distributed work force where IT Administrators have less control of an organization's perimeters and the end users' devices. The old "castle and mote" model of protecting the organization's premises is rather antiquated in this age of #WFH.
We saw an increased focus on client's user identity management, as well as mobile endpoint management requests this year as a direct response to the trend in remote working.
Global Talent Pool & Gig Economy
With the pandemic, there was an obvious trend towards Working From Home (WFH) as businesses responded to health directives. Businesses were also subjected to a dual concern of layoffs due to financial reasons, as well as a difficulty in hiring staff back to work due to government benefits that supplemented people's income.
As a result, we saw a trend in more businesses turning to "virtual staff" in order to meet their business needs. Virtual staff are those that can be retained on a temporary or as needed basis to help complete whatever tasks they were contracted to do. This allowed businesses to still get their work done, while not being on the hook for ongoing salary or benefits. In addition, remote working has opened many businesses to the global talent pool by no longer limiting their hiring to local resources.
Have you experienced other trends this year that we didn't cover? How was your experience with this year's technology trends? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to join us on LinkedIn, Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay connected to the most up-to-date news about Information Technology and Cybersecurity.