As we embrace 2023, it is clear that the cyber risk landscape will continue to evolve. From advances in technology to the proliferation of interconnected devices, there are a number of trends that are shaping the future of cyber risk.
What’s waiting around the corner?
Here are some of the key trends that we can expect to see in the coming years:
- The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to increase the number of potential vulnerabilities. As more and more devices become connected to the internet, the attack surface for hackers expands. This includes everything from smart thermostats and security cameras to industrial control systems and medical devices. Ensuring the security of these devices will be a major challenge in the coming years.
- The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will also present new challenges for cybersecurity. While these technologies have the potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, they also introduce new vulnerabilities. For example, AI-powered systems may be vulnerable to adversarial attacks, in which hackers manipulate the input data to fool the system into making incorrect decisions. There is also the risk of AI-powered systems being used for malicious purposes, such as spreading disinformation or launching cyberattacks.
- The increasing adoption of cloud computing, as part of the ongoing push to digitise businesses and organisations, will also pose new risks. While the cloud offers many benefits, such as increased scalability and reduced costs, it also introduces new vulnerabilities. For example, if a company’s data is stored in the cloud, it may be vulnerable to attacks on the cloud provider’s servers. Additionally, the complexity of cloud environments can make it harder to secure them and to detect and respond to threats.
- The rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will also bring new risks. Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets are a prime target for cybercriminals, and there have already been several high-profile hacks and scams. Additionally, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology means that it can be difficult to track and attribute cyberattacks, making it harder to hold attackers accountable.
- The ongoing shift to remote work will continue to present new challenges for cybersecurity. As more and more employees work from home, it becomes harder to secure the corporate network and to ensure that employees are following best practices for security. This includes everything from the use of strong passwords and secure connections to the proper disposal of sensitive data.
- The increasing sophistication of cyberattacks will also be a major trend in 2023. Hackers are constantly developing new techniques and tools to bypass security measures, and it can be difficult for companies to keep up. This includes the use of advanced persistent threats (APTs), in which hackers use a variety of techniques to gain access to a network and maintain a presence there over an extended period of time.
Cybersecurity: what does good look like?
Ensuring the security of networks and systems will be a major challenge for organisations of all sizes in all sectors, and will require a combination of robust network security, cloud security and physical security. But what security measures work best and how can organisations achieve the right balance between protecting the systems and data they rely upon, while still gaining the competitive advantage technology affords?
Many factors will dictate the right scope and mix of security measures, but here are some information security steps that will improve the resilience of organisations to cyber events:
- Staff training will remain key in coming years. Employee education and awareness is the bedrock of an effective cyber security plan. Recognising and stopping attempted cyber attacks before they become a headache is preferable to dealing with the consequences after somebody has already clicked on something they shouldn’t have.
- Good corporate governance is key. Alongside staff training, it’s important for the C-suite to understand cyber threats and mitigate their impact on the organisation. Cyber risk should be on the Board’s agenda and processes, procedures and controls established to deal with the operational, financial and reputational effects of cyber attacks.
- Protect Email systems. Email filtering software should be enabled to scan and filter all inbound and outbound messages for spam and malicious content.
- A programme of regular software updates and patching will help avoid cyber attacks getting through to core systems and databases via known software vulnerabilities.
- Vulnerability scans are helpful in identifying areas of weakness in a network. Regular scanning can help a business to understand and prevent cyber risks by providing a hacker’s eye view of the organisation, quickly spotting vulnerabilities and remedying them before the worst happens.
- Penetration Testing is an authorised test of a computer network or system designed to look for security weaknesses so that they can be fixed. Stress-testing critical systems makes good business sense, since reliance upon those systems is often mission-critical for the organisation.
- Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is a technique that helps ensure if someone attempting to access the organisation’s systems is who they claim to be. MFA helps to mitigate against password guessing and consequent data theft, extortion and fraud.
- Good data management and back-up programmes will support the organisation in minimising the chance for data thefts or unauthorised network intrusions to result in costly liabilities, regulatory investigations and unwanted bad publicity.
- What else? Here are some additional steps that may be taken to further enhance cyber preparedness:
- Supply chain risk assessments – aimed at avoiding or mitigating the chance of a cyber event suffered by a supplier from adversely impacting the organisation.
- Certification accreditation – such as Cyber Essentials or ISO standards helps to guard against the most common cyber threats and demonstrates a commitment to good cyber security.
- Endpoint security – a cybersecurity technology that continually monitors an “endpoint” (any remote device connected to a network) to mitigate malicious cyber threats in real time.
- Incident Response Planning – it’s always sensible to prepare for the worst case scenario, so having an agreed plan of action should the organisation suffer a cyber attack makes good business sense.
- Security Operations Centres (SOC) can help larger or more complex organisations to prepare for cyber risk. The SOC is like a central command post, whose function within an organisation is to continuously monitor the organisation’s digital estate to detect, prevent, record, analyse and respond to cybersecurity incidents.
How we help you
Partners& provides businesses with the right advice about cyber risk. No two organisations are the same. We take the time to understand what cyber risk looks like in both your industry and in your own organisation. We use these insights to build a tailored insurance and cyber risk management programme.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides a wealth of advice and guidance to help make the UK the safest place to live and work online.
Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises (IASME) certifies organisations of all sizes for cyber security. Their website has all the information you need for Cyber Essentials accreditation.