2019 Cyber Environment Presents Challenges and Opportunities

As a company that manages IT security and tech support, the new year is time to take stock of the cyber security landscape. Our own experience has taught us that cyber challenges will only increase, although the nature of those threats continually evolves. Here is  what leading experts expect to emerge in 2019. 

The reality of cyber threats in 2019 

It almost goes without saying that cyber security issues will become more complex in the coming year.  At the same time, a critical shortage of IT security professionals makes an agreement with an IT security firm a business imperative. Just ask any business , small or large, that has been breached.

We pulled together data from experts on the current state of cyber threats to business and the implications they expect as the year unfolds.

  • Small Business: For the average hacker, small business will continue to be their best target. On average, they have older, less secure technology and a false sense of security that they have no value to hackers. Yet more than 4 of every 10 small businesses were breached last year, and 60% of those went out of business within 6 months.
  • Mobile security threats will multiply as business increasingly relies on mobile platforms. Experts predict more sophisticated malware, more malicious apps in app stores, and increased mobile spear phishing---personalized, highly believable malicious emails targeting business and nonprofit executives and delivered straight to mobile devices. (Thinking fondly of rotary phones, anyone?)

A whopping 91% of cyber attacks start with phishing.

  • Phishing will continue to be the attack method of choice, as attackers target susceptible people with malicious emails to penetrate their systems.  The only way to thwart them is teaching employees how to avoid them.
  • Ransomware: Industry site TechCrunch predicts a resurgence in ransomware in 2019, saying ransomware attacks come in waves, and we're overdue for a big one. As it is, the FBI reports more than 4,000 ransomware attacks daily, with one every 14 seconds as the year came to a close. 
  • Malware of all types is expected to see phenomenal growth. Last year saw a three-fold increase in just the first few months of 2018.
  • Crypto-jacking: Think hijacking but with computers. Crypto-jacking is the method attackers use to secretly take over your computer, borrow your computer processing power, and expose you to more different types of attacks to increase the size of their network and firepower. 

"Privacy First" approach to data protection

  • Data Protection: 2019 will see an increase in cyber laws and regulations that govern the cyber world, predicts editors at  CSO Online. Rising concern over how companies use and protect personal information will encourage many Americans to hold those companies more accountable and drive new privacy legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act and Europe's GDPR.
  • Identity theft is becoming the third certainty in life after death and taxes. As a result, Inc. Magazine  is predicting a boom in consumer-friendly solutions to protect your identity. 
  • The Internet of Things is what business executives--and hackers--call "a growth opportunity", because applications are moving faster than the ability to secure them. The Internet of Things is a network of sensors that connect and exchange data in devices, vehicles, and home appliances, promising a new point of entry for cyber criminal.

Cybersecurity is simply risk management

The cost of a cyber attack, on average, is expected to exceed $300 per employee in 2019. Businesses and non-profits need to plan strategically for IT security as a cost of doing business.  There are many ways to reduce business risk. Assessing it is step one. Prioritizing security gaps is step two. Few businesses have the resources to put a comprehensive security structure in place all at once, but the cost of starting is far less than the risk of waiting.

Talk to us about options to build your security one layer at a time to protect your business and your clients' trust in you. Summit supports hundreds of small and mid-size companies, associations and nonprofits in MD, DC and Northern VA. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Katula

Robert Katula is Summit's Sr. Account Executive and has over 30 years combined experience in politics, business development, technology applications, marketing, writing/blogging, sales, and social media. Rob’s hobbies include fishing, golfing, listening to live music, cooking, finding new restaurants to try out, wine tasting, and watching sports. He is a major fan of Ohio State football and basketball.

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