A pandemic-focused year made the events of 2020 more tumultuous in numerous ways, and the onslaught of cyber attacks across industry sectors heated up the cybersecurity landscape. Attackers embraced new techniques and a hurried switch to remote access increased cyberthreats across the board.
The Arizona Technology Council kicked off its 2021 Tech Speaker Series on Tuesday, February 16 with one of Arizona’s leading IT managed service providers and cybersecurity leaders, AccountabilIT. Focusing on cyber resiliency, experts from AccountabilIT shared their insight and expertise on security predictions for 2021, provided valuable strategies for attendees to protect their business and mitigate cybersecurity risk, attacks and breaches.
“Without a doubt, 2020 was a year full of change in the technology industry,” said Melissa Watkins, business development manager for Scottsdale-based AccountabilIT. “The chaos of last year accelerated technology to speed that we could have never seen coming. Unfortunately, the bad guys were innovating just as quickly.”
Watkins wasted no time launching into the threats that businesses across industry sectors are facing.
“One of the most common security challenges for 2021 will be protecting your company’s data while working virtually continues,” Watkins. The result of many businesses mandating remote working has exposed company assets to a wider attack surface. And unfortunately, most businesses have not yet addressed how vulnerable their remote workforce is, without really pausing to plan for 2021.”
Most common security challenges are:
- Increase in remote work: The impact of COVID-19 on the workforce has accelerated digital transformation rapidly and abruptly increased the attack surfaces of most businesses.
- Security resistance: Budget and routine resistance for needed security changes, new security measures and tools.
- Lack of Leadership risk awareness: Business leaders, lacking a complete view of risks and vulnerabilities, continue to treat security as a business inhibitor due to the lack of a defensible security program that links into business outcomes.
- Lack of clear security roadmap: Lack of prioritized roadmap that clearly links projects and corrective actions to risks, vulnerabilities and the relevant business, technology and environmental drivers.
- Understaffed IT department: Understaffed IT departments are leaving companies vulnerable to attacks. Enterprises are struggling to fill security roles due to the time it takes to hire, rising industry salaries, and employee retention issues.
Watkins added, “Many companies do not have a comprehensive cybersecurity roadmap. Especially as your business grows, it’s imperative to make sure that your cybersecurity plan evolves with your business.”
Leaders in IT solutions and services, AccountabilIT strives to be a seamless extension of its customers’ IT organizations. AccountabilIT is a full spectrum information technology services firm that doesn’t just work behind the scenes, but instead utilizes mature, repeatable processes in a way that is customer focused and delivered in a framework that is aligned with their customers’ priorities. AccountabilIT’s Customer First service delivery strategy is instrumental in leading the industry in customer satisfaction as measured by the Net Promoter score.
According to Watkins, phishing attacks were the most common cyber risk in 2020, leading to ransomware attacks. The monetary damage of a cybersecurity data breach or malware attack can be costly. With the average remediation cost of a security breach running about $600,000, most small to mid-sized businesses would not be able to weather through that financial hurdle. In addition, 50% of businesses had an attack in the last year, indicating that cybersecurity and data protection is more important than ever for businesses across all industry sectors.
AccountabilIT’s Vice President of Sales Brian Lamberger emphasized that ignoring cybersecurity measures at this point is basically engaging in analysis paralysis. As an IT industry veteran, Lamberger recommends that organizations of all sizes should conduct a vulnerability assessment.
” A vulnerability Assessment is a thorough process that touches every part of your company’s network.” Lamberger said. “It will provide you with a comprehensive view regarding the baseline risk for your company, and where you should go from there.”
About the Tech Sector Speaker Series
Join the Arizona Technology Council for its new 2020 AZ Tech Sector Speaker Series that brings together tech titans, outstanding CTOs, advocates, innovators and industry champions of existing and emerging sectors who are reshaping Arizona’s tech ecosystem. This expert panel forum advances Arizona’s tech evolution and growing designation as a tech hub. With a diverse range of experience and technology backgrounds, these tech titans are leading the way and making a positive and lasting impact on the local technology industry. Interested in becoming a panelist, moderator or sponsor? VISIT HERE to learn more about this exciting new event series and to see the topics that we’ll be covering in Phoenix.
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