ISJ Exclusive: Enhancing the digital ecosystem


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Cybersecurity will emerge as a key safety tool in high-risk digital ecosystems, writes Saloni Walimbe, Content Team Lead, Global Market Insights.

The evolution of technology is seemingly boundless. With speedy advancements in technologies like IoT, cloud computing and AI, new solutions are emerging.

Despite the conveniences brought forth by these solutions, the onslaught of new technologies has also amplified the risk of cybercrime in recent years. According to estimates from CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), as of 2021, a ransomware attack takes place every 11 seconds, a marked increase from the 39 seconds recorded in 2019.

Cyber-criminals are becoming more evolved and sophisticated in their approach over the years, adopting new and advanced ways to break through different security systems. Ransomware, in particular, has become one of the most destructive threats for businesses, given the growing number of vulnerable targets. While there are numerous motivations behind cyber-attacks the most common driver for the attackers is financial gain, be it through business disruption, data theft or monetary theft.

For businesses, the repercussions of a security breach go far beyond just losing confidential and sensitive data; it can lead to long term implications like loss of reputation and customer trust as well as legal jeopardy. Given this increasingly risky business landscape, organisations are undertaking targeted cybersecurity efforts to safeguard valuable data and identify and neutralise potential threats. Based on a report by Global Market Insights Inc, the cybersecurity market is poised to cross USD 400 billion by 2027.

Urging governments to implement cybersecurity protocols

Since the beginning of the digital revolution, the need to safeguard sensitive and confidential online data has been one of the most pressing matters for governments worldwide. With each passing day, federal governments face thousands of cyber-attacks for malicious actors, ranging from seemingly simple attempts such as phishing emails to advanced and focused attacks designed to target the most precious data assets of the nation.

With hackers growing more sophisticated, security threats have transcended global boundaries, leaving critical state secrets vulnerable to attackers regardless of their location. Furthermore, the general ill-preparedness of government and federal bodies to fend off cyber-attacks, as compared to industries like retail or healthcare, make these entities even more vulnerable to breaches. A notable example of such a lapse in cybersecurity was the 2020 SolarWinds hack, suspected to have been organised by a Russian government-funded group, which essentially left every system in the federal government exposed to tampering and access from unauthorised actors.

Given the increasing complexity of modern attacks, however, governments worldwide are now making investments specifically to strengthen their cybersecurity outlook. In the US, for example, the Biden Administration proposed a budget of USD 9.8 billion for the enhancement of government cybersecurity, in the wake of the SolarWinds breach. The government’s plan to bolster its IT security, which was aligned with the general modernisation of the IT sector, was built to support the protection of Federal IT as well as the most valuable and vulnerable information for the nation, including personal data of the US population.

Demand for robust network security infrastructure grows

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 drove most of the global population indoors as a way of mitigating viral transmission, companies have turned largely to remote working models, enabling the emergence of the BYOD (bring your own device) trend. This has allowed employees to use personal devices including laptops, tablets and even smartphones to access work-related files, systems, applications and networks.

According to a 2021 Bitglass BYOD Security Report, 47% of organisations have observed an increase in the use of personal devices for work-related tasks since the shift to remote work during the pandemic, resulting in the active support of BYOD in over 82% of organisations.

While useful for employees, from the organisation’s perspective, the BYOD trend has resulted in diminished control of the company over devices and the way they are being used. This can be risky since the access of sensitive work data from unsecured networks, storage on unauthorised devices and use of unpatched machines can leave confidential company information exposed to cyber-breaches.

Since cyber-crimes like ransomware are on the rise, IT teams across the globe are faced with the growing challenge of addressing weak points in security caused by unprotected BYOD access points, especially those with access to corporate networks. This has, in turn, resulted in a rising focus on network security, which is poised to become a key segment of the cybersecurity industry.

Collaborative efforts from the public and private sectors

The increasingly risky digital ecosystem worldwide has opened up opportunities for dialogue among major players in the cybersecurity industry, with collaboration and partnership strategies at the forefront of the discussions.

Technology industry leaders have been forming alliances with the mutual purpose of boosting their cybersecurity capabilities to make themselves more resilient against advanced cyber-attacks. For instance, in April 2022, CrowdStrike announced its strategic collaboration with Mandiant to help joint customers with identification, remediation and defense against increasingly complex cybersecurity events disrupting operations for organisations worldwide.

Apart from private sector alliances like these, international collaborations between governments have also created opportunities for global cybersecurity market growth. To illustrate, in April 2022, India and the UK announced their commitment to a joint cooperative program to enhance cybersecurity, building on the Enhanced Cyber Security Partnership introduced by the countries in May 2021.

Working collaboratively under the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, UK and India pledged to complete joint work to identify mutual vulnerabilities and facilitate the development of private-public partnerships to enhance their resilience against malicious cyber events.

In the modern world, businesses can no longer rely solely on simplistic solutions like firewalls or anti-viruses to safeguard themselves against the barrage of potential cyber-threats that are becoming more intelligent and adept enough to break through basic defense barriers. In this scenario, the integration of comprehensive and robust IT security strategies has become paramount for an organisation’s success and safety.

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1-ISJ- ISJ Exclusive: Enhancing the digital ecosystem
Saloni Walimbe, Content Team Lead, Global Market Insights

This article was originally published in the July edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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