4 predicted trends in 2021 that will influence the digital future

It is the time of the year for numerous predictions for the incoming new year. In terms of cybersecurity, the rise of incidences of attacks is expected to continue in 2021 due to the impact of accelerated progression to digitalization. This will leave many businesses vulnerable.

Global cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks posts these four major cybersecurity trends as digital transformation is expected to further gear up in 2021.

1. Travel bubbles and green lanes will amplify the data privacy debate.

As more countries put up travel bubbles and reciprocal green lanes as they try to revive their travel and hospitality sector, personal data of travelers need to be shared across borders to ensure rigorous contact tracing and timely access to complete data to flatten the curve or prevent the further spread of the virus.

Data privacy safeguards are somehow put aside these days due to contact tracing. Aside from public sector initiatives, private sector efforts are also rolling out to support monitoring measures, like Apple-Google Exposure Notification system, which is used by many countries.

2. The wait for 5G is over.

The emergence of the iPhone 12 and other 5G-enabled smartphones paves the way for the rise of 5G networks. This is expected to encourage the acceleration of rollout of 5G networks as telcos seek to deploy new services for consumers and governments that tap digital opportunities for economic recovery in 2021.

The number of nodes that need to be installed makes the 5G network deployment more challenging, significantly increasing the potential for cyberattacks. Private sector infrastructure owners may not afford deployment of the same approaches designing and rolling out 5G networks, lest they fall victim to the same types of attacks as they did in 3G and 4G.


3. Working from home will get smarter and safer.

As the adoption of cloud tools continue to increase in the new normal, there is a reduction in the need for pricier devices as virtualized desktops become increasingly popular. Businesses could now provide their employees with simpler, connected devices that enable access to programs and resources needed online, delivering work to them directly, and protecting their crown jewels.

Solutions like the secure access service edge (SASE) becomes the new cybersecurity norm. Those bring about flexibility, simplicity, and visibility.


4. Blue-sky thinking will go as IT teams return to basics.

An additional layer of identity and access management (IAM) governance is now needed as organizations continue to scale their cloud presence. Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 researchers have observed that a single IAM misconfiguration could enable attackers to comprise a whole, massively scaled cloud environment and bypass just about each security control.

2021 is expected to see more businesses shifting IT focus inward to get the fundamentals right and refocus on more important things, to do the same things for less. This will come as the pandemic steering IT teams away from blue-sky towards more nuts and bolts issues.

Palo Alto Networks believes that security will have to work at the speed of the cloud for companies to prevent the exponential growth of vulnerabilities.