2021 is just around the corner. Here’s our list of the top five cyber threats our experts believe businesses will face in the year ahead and beyond.

1. Remote work.

In early 2020, organizations were forced to figure out how to support remote workforces very quickly because of unexpected pandemic-related stay-at-home orders. They didn’t have time to take extra steps to protect their online assets against the new realities of people doing their jobs at home. Cyber criminals took advantage of it. They launched a record number of phishing, vishing, ransomware and other types of attacks that targeted gaps in remote security procedures. Many business systems fell victim to these attacks because the equipment and wifi connections used by remote workers hadn’t been adequately secured.

Did you know: Even before the pandemic, more than four out of five companies had bring your own device (BYOD) policies for employees, partners, freelancers and other stakeholders? However, 72 percent of them lacked any form of BYOD malware protection. This hasn’t changed much since the pandemic started, leaving companies as vulnerable as ever.

Experts report that at least one out of four organizations has been forced to pay unexpected costs to deal with cybersecurity breaches and malware attacks this year. The number and scope of incidents is expected to increase unless businesses do something different in 2021 than they did in 2020. They must take steps now to protect the equipment and assets used by remote workers.

Are you interested in guarding against cyber attacks on people working from home? Contact the experts at GeeksHD to find out how we can help.

2. Legacy security architecture.

Some organizations have been using old-school security architectures, such as VPNs, to protect the systems and equipment used by remote workers. However, it’s not a sustainable solution because VPNs introduce latency, reduce productivity, are hard to scale and often give employees access to internal resources they don’t need, putting these systems, software and records at unnecessary risk.

Add to this the fact that unpatched VPNs are easy for cyber criminals to attack with ransomware. Even the best VPN setups are vulnerable to getting hacked.

So, what can you do to upgrade your cyber security protection? Replace your VPNs with a zero trust security model. With a zero trust implementation, users are only given access to the most limited set of assets required to get their work done. It’s a proven way to limit business risk. The experts at GeeksHD are available to help you figure out if a zero trust security set-up is a good option for your organization.

3. Budget cuts.

After years of increasing budgets, many IT departments had to deal with funding cuts in 2020. Budget reductions are likely to continue in 2021 if the economy takes a long time to recover and for business activity to return to more normal levels. Add to this the reality that IT teams are currently being forced to do more to keep up with the accelerated pace of digital change. They’ll have to get creative to figure out how to do more with less.

The answer: Think convergence, simplicity and outsourcing.

For much of the year ahead, IT professionals will need to find solutions that solve multiple problems in the simplest and most cost effective ways possible. Plus, if headcount is reduced, more work will have to be outsourced. The pros at GeeksHD are experts at both. Contact us to find out how we can help you do a LOT with less.

4. Pandemic related breaches.

Most of the phishing attacks on businesses this year involved the coronavirus pandemic. Cyber crooks sent out emails that looked like they came from legitimate healthcare or government agencies. They provided workplace information about the pandemic. The emails included prompts that asked recipients to click on a link or download an attachment to learn more. When they did this, malware was released that harmed software and systems or stole data and private information.

This is likely to continue in 2021. People will be looking for information about all the different coronavirus vaccines and how the vaccination program could impact businesses, along with ways that companies can support them. It will be critical for organizations to provide ongoing education and information about these types of phishing attacks to the people who work for them. It’s a good way to prevent them from bringing down your organization.

5. The pace of digital transformation.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend toward doing more business online. This promises to continue, and even speed up more, in the year ahead.

Many operations were left vulnerable to hacks because of the unexpected and rapid shift to conducting business virtually. There’s no excuse for this to continue in 2021. IT professionals will need to stay abreast of all the latest cybersecurity threats even as they develop new systems and software. This can be challenging to do during constantly changing times like these. That’s where GeeksHD comes in. It’s our job to stay on top of all the latest cybersecurity threats so you don’t have to. We will make certain your operation is protected against anything cyber criminals could come up with in the year ahead and beyond.

If you do anything before the end of the year, make a resolution to contact the experts at GeeksHD to discuss how we can help you enjoy a safer and more secure 2021.