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Top Five Cybersecurity Challenges In 2021

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By: Nihad Hassan

March 24, 2021

IT leaders increasingly appreciate the importance of cybersecurity to their organizations, the recent cyberattacks against high-profile organizations show the vital work that should be done to overcome and mitigate such attacks as possible.

The ongoing spread of COVID19 disease has forced most organizations to adopt the work from home model. The massive shift of the workforce to become remote has increased the attack surface of organizations. The attack surface is defined as the number of entry points exploited by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access or to execute other forms of malicious attacks.

This article will shed light on the most prominent five cybersecurity challenges that organizations are likely to face in 2021.

Cybersecurity Challenges In 2021

The increased number of cyberattacks during 2020 has ringed the alarm bill and drawn decision-makers' attention to the importance of securing their IT systems against the increased number of cyberattacks. Here are the primary cybersecurity challenges that global organizations should consider in 2021.

Increasing the Number of Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering (SE) attack is a term used to describe many attacks executed via human interactions. The most notable types are phishing (which comes through email, SMS, or social media messages and IM chat) and spear-phishing, which customize the attack according to each target. They aim to gain sensitive information from the victim by disguising themselves as a legitimate entity. For instance, cyberattacks pretend to be a connection from your partner organization, your bank, or social media company where you have accounts and try to gain sensitive information such as login credentials to gain unauthorized access to target computing devices or IT systems.

The number of SE attacks is expected to intensify this year; as the number of people working from home increases, their exposure to it will also increase an employee's computing devices are less secure than their work devices.

It is considered the only vulnerability that cannot be patched or mitigated using traditional security solutions. The key to overcoming it is through end-user training and cybersecurity knowledge. Of course, installing antivirus and keeping OS and installed applications up to date, in addition to using IPS and firewall, will lower its impact. However, it cannot stop someone from revealing his/her account password!

Grown Dependence of Cloud Infrastructure

The ongoing COVID19 crisis will force most organizations to speed their adapting to cloud technology. According to Gartner, it is one of the fastest-growing IT spend segments, as, by 2024, more than 45% of IT spending will move from traditional solutions to the cloud. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, many organizations were forced to shift within days to remain operational during the general lockdown that lasted for months. In 2021, more organizations will move their work to it. This will raise security and compliance challenges as more people (employees and customers) will use their home devices to access cloud data. Customer's personal information will become subject to various compliance and data protection regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because of this technology that stores data in different geographical locations globally.

Complex Data Protection Rules

As the digital transformation is moving steadily, countries around the world are enforcing their rules on cyberspace to protect their citizens and local organizations. They have to deal with various data protection regulations when storing, processing or handling customers' personal information. The desperate nature of cloud IT infrastructure worldwide will make a company working in the USA subject to data protection laws issued by the EU (GDPR), USA (California Consumer Privacy Act), Japan, and even East Asia. The complex nature of privacy regulations will impose real challenges for markets that must adhere to precisely.

Progressed Interdependence on Third-Party Providers

The boost in remote work is projected to remain even after the post-pandemic era; many organizations will keep a part of their workforce to operate from home. This will increase the dependence on few IT service providers worldwide to handle the connection between remote employees and their jobs. For instance, attacking 5G service providers and internet service providers who facilitate connection will directly impact everyone using their services.

The new ecosystem where global organizations are operating will raise serious security challenges boosted by the huge adoption of modern technologies.

Cybersecurity Skills Gap

The shortfall in cybersecurity expertise will remain a significant challenge that moves with us from the previous years. As the cost of cybercrime is projected to increase to an explosive rate during the few coming years the need for professionals to handle the security defenses will remain in high demand.


We have learned a lot during 2020 from the different cybersecurity incidents, which will be no different this year. IT leaders should consider these rising challenges and handle it before it poses a threat to their organizations.

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