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The Importance of Cybersecurity during and after COVID-19

The Importance of Cybersecurity during and after COVID-19

This year, the pandemic has boosted cases of cyber threats, causing great concern for Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and IT Directors across the world. One reason for this increase is that more people are spending time online, whether working remotely or killing time under lockdown and isolation.

On the flip side, the pandemic has given a significant boost in innovation to the software and cloud services companies. The popular collaboration software, Slack, has just been bought for $27.7bn by Salesforce, and Microsoft says they’ve achieved two years of digital transformation in only two months.

As the world spends increasing amounts of time online, more opportunities are being presented to cybercriminals and hackers, making anyone or any business a target. Thankfully, the pandemic has also pushed the cybersecurity industry to improve its skills. Here’s why cybersecurity is so critical right now and why it will continue to be vital after everything settles down.

More Online Activity = More Opportunities

SaaS, Cloud, and other remote working tools were already popular before the pandemic struck. But it’s only now that we’re starting to unlock the real power behind them. This increased usage of online software makes everyone more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

A recent report from Interpol showed an alarming increase in cybercriminal activity during this year. In just four months, they found nearly a million spam messages, just under 750k malware incidents, and 48,000 malicious URLs.

The report also predicts a further increase in cybercrime in the near future, with vulnerabilities of working at home as one of the critical factors. The release of a COVID vaccine is also likely to create a spike in phishing incidents and the sale of fake medical treatments.

Software Competition

The pandemic has helped many software companies to boost their revenue this year. The competition between providers like Microsoft, Salesforce, and IBM is likely to continue. One of the most important factors for customers will surely be the level of security being offered.

The cybersecurity industry is expected to see a considerable increase in demand for its knowledge and skills. The focus is likely to be on cloud services, AI, automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT). As software providers compete to give their customers the tools they need to adjust to a new remote way of working, they’ll need a higher security level than ever before. The focus should be on enhanced and sustainable information resilience and safeguarding physical, digital, and intellectual property.

Reliance on Technology

The less time spent in the office with our colleagues and time without family and friends, the more time we’re all spending on our devices. This is yet another point of vulnerability and a chance for cybercriminals to attack. It’s not uncommon for people to have access to three or four devices at any one time.

All these devices are becoming more and more connected to one another. Having a Mac computer linked to an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch is not uncommon. This increased connectivity and linking between devices can make people more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

With many people working at home and combining work with our personal lives, linking tech devices has become more common worldwide. This creates new opportunities for information to be compromised by cybercriminals. But it goes way beyond handheld devices and wearable tech. People are now connecting their TVs, home thermostats, door locks, home alarms, smart home hubs, garage door openers, and more to the same network.

Each time a device is connected, a new connection point for hackers is created to access IoT ecosystems and private information. As we move into 2021, the need for enhanced security for device protection will become increasingly critical to protect both businesses, employees, and the general public.

Many cybersecurity providers are already tackling these new cyber risks and challenges. In the future, it is vital that cybersecurity evolves and progresses at the same rate as innovation and technology to protect us all from cyber threats, criminals, and from becoming victims of cybercrime.

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.