Written by Amit Spitzer, Chief Security Officer, Cato Networks

Even before the pandemic, technology had become an increasingly important part of the workforce. Businesses were looking at technology as a helpful means of engaging with customers, allowing some workplace flexibility, and for a way to introduce automation and faster processes. However, the spread of the coronavirus and the shutdown of in-person meetings for non-essential businesses accelerated these adoptions immensely. It forced companies to look into creative digital solutions so that the organizations could continue to function remotely and continue to serve their client base.

2020/21 will be memorable years, “digital transformation” stopped being a buzzword and has become a standard in our lives.

However, the negative cybersecurity impacts of these online changes have led many experts to summarize the combined events, during these years, as a growing “cyber pandemic.” In a year and a half perspective, process and technology changes in moving to digital transactions from home have been a type of “Trojan horse” for cybercriminals and nation-state bad actors.

This presents criminals with the perfect playground on which to peddle misleading narratives or target inexperienced users for digital threats, be it for financial or political gain.

Whether it’s through social engineering, ransomware, zero-day attacks, or DDoS attacks, every organization – no matter their size or industry – is at risk. While enterprise-level organizations are more likely to have the resources needed to mitigate these advancing threats, small businesses and startups alike must recognize that they are equally as likely to face a data breach or security incident. For example, whether a company has 10 employees or 1000, the threat of an employee causing a data breach is still one of the top concerns businesses have to mitigate. Similarly, things like weak passwords, vulnerable POS systems, and misunderstanding cybersecurity threats can cause all types of businesses to fall victim to a data breach or security incident.

Every transaction we conduct creates data, from email exchanges with family or friends to purchases at the grocery store, to transferring money between online bank accounts, to making a post on social media, and on and on. Businesses, individuals, and regulatory entities are increasingly demanding clarity and transparency about how data is used and protected by vendors entrusted with that data.

Today, protecting data with a single firewall is simply not enough. Organizations that want to secure their data at the level expected and demanded by consumers and businesses need to select and implement multiple technologies and security controls in order to cover the human factor risks, detection and prevention of technology flaws.  

Security analysts predict a jump in the number of attempted attacks at organizations. Real-time prevention places in the organization will help to be in a better position to defend against the next cyber pandemic attack with a stay-safe approach. The new normal times require that organizations revisit and check the security level and relevance of the network’s infrastructures, processes, compliance of connected mobile, endpoint devices, and IoT.