Where Do We Go After 2020? Weekly Cybersecurity Brief

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In last week’s Cybersecurity Brief, we started to explore the question of what the future of cybersecurity looks like. While discussions around the election may have reflected a growing significance placed on the role of cybersecurity, there are many other aspects of both society and the field that are likely to shape the trajectory of cybersecurity. As 2020 nears its end, we continue to share what this year has taught us and where cybersecurity professionals go from here.

Security Magazine recently made their own predictions on what will impact cybersecurity the most as we move into the new year. At the top of the list is a continued focus on protecting remote workers. Because many people will keep working from home due to the pandemic, the magazine cautions that enhancing cybersecurity measures for personal devices will be critical. The article reported that around 72% of companies utilizing “bring your own device” practices were not fully equipped with proper malware protection. Some of the other projections included an increased use of zero-trust security models as the weaknesses found in the reliance on VPN’s becomes more apparent and an overall growth in the occurrence of cyberattacks. According to the article, there were 4.6 billion active internet users as of July 2020, and as that number and ability of technology expands, so does potential risk.

However, Security Magazine suggested that the transition to a work from home system forced by the pandemic has also made it more cost efficient to invest in cybersecurity and potentially opened up the possibilities of how we approach cybersecurity. That is not the only transition impacting cybersecurity concerns though. In a piece on PVTech, Alice Grundy writes about the consideration of cybersecurity and the growing solar energy industry. As society shifts more toward the renewable energy source and the system behind it becomes increasingly digitally reliant, maintaining cyber health will be important. Although, the article points out that such energy sector attacks are not very common, the writer posits that vigilantly updating the cybersecurity of the networks supporting solar industries should certainly become commonplace.

One of the most important impacts on the future of cybersecurity, though, lies in the people progressing the practice. According to the Detroit Free Press, there will be 3.5 million open cybersecurity positions by 2021. Cities like Detroit are home to programs working to train and diversify the future professionals who will fill those positions and the ones to follow. Organizations such as JOURNi and University of Detroit Mercy’s Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies are providing spaces where students from all communities can learn cybersecurity skills in an effort to create a “pipeline” to the industry. Because of such programs, not only will the future of cybersecurity adapt to developing demands but will hopefully represent the next generation and a broader group of skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Key Takeaways:

“Seven Cybersecurity Predictions for 2021” – Anurag Kahol, Security Magazine

https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/93887-seven-cybersecurity-predictions-for-2021

  • Remote workers and technologies used from home will continue to grow as a key focus for cybersecurity as cybercriminals look to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of bring your own device practices.
  • According to the article, 60% of enterprises will turn to zero trust networks instead of VPN’s by 2023.
  • The growing population of active internet users and the increasing use of technology such as 5G add to the likelihood of cyberattacks becoming more frequent as we go forward.

“How Cybersecurity is Becoming Crucial in Solar’s Digital Age” – Alice Grundy, PVTech

https://www.pv-tech.org/editors-blog/how-cybersecurity-is-becoming-crucial-in-solars-digital-age

  • Cyberattacks on the solar energy sector are not common, but the industry’s trend toward automation means that implementing cybersecurity practices is becoming more significant.
  • Ali Mehrizi-Sani, associate professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, suggests that one of the system’s vulnerabilities lies in the inverter controls and monitoring systems.
  • Because solar farms are reported to last for about 20 years, it is predicted that it will be critical for their cybersecurity systems to be frequently updated.

“Cybersecurity Industry in Detroit is Growing, and Mentors are Starting with Young People” – Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press

https://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2020/11/12/cybersecurity-growing-detroit/3748616001/

  • By 2021, there will reportedly be around 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions.
  • In 2019, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that African Americans made up 16.6% of the information security analyst industry.
  • To ensure that young people and people of diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to learn about the field of cybersecurity and that the trend toward diversity carries on, programs in the city of Detroit are continuing to develop to begin teaching such skills.

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