Canadian Security Magazine

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IT security predictions: 2021 edition


Matt Tyrer is the Ottawa-based senior manager, solutions marketing for the Americas, Commvault (www.commvault.com).

1. Deep fake technologies will drive growth of the data integrity testing and verification market

AI has developed to the point where deep fake AI technologies can produce realistic images and videos of people doing things they have never done. These technologies can be used for fun — for example, by making Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. the stars of Back to the Future.

However, they also pose a risk. These technologies make it harder than ever for enterprises to ensure their images, video and other data streams have not been secretly manipulated by AI.

For companies making important decisions based on this data, the risk of making the wrong decision after being deceived by a deep fake or other AI- manipulated data increases by the day.

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To reduce the risk that they might deceived by AI-manipulated data, expect companies in 2021 to start demanding data integrity and verification solutions that allow them to detect images, video and other data streams altered by AI. And in response to this demand, expect both established IT leaders and start- ups to introduce new data integrity and verification solutions that allow these companies to avoid being fooled by deep fakes.

2. Security, governance and other data analytics come to the cloud

I expect over the next six months we will see more than one company that jumped unprepared into the cloud suffer a ransomware attack, data breach, be hit with a major fine for lax data privacy compliance, or similar incident.

This is not because the cloud is inherently insecure or hard to govern. However, while most companies have
in place at least some technologies and processes to secure, govern and otherwise intelligently manage the data found between the four walls of their data centres, many do not have the same technologies and processes in place for the data they now have on multiple clouds.

That is why I am hearing extensively from customers that one of their priorities in the new year will be the extension of their core data centre security, governance and other analytics services to cloud. And it is why I expect that in 2021 we will see strong growth for data analytics solutions that allow companies to audit their data, comply with data privacy regulations, secure data from ransomware and other cyberattacks, and rapidly recovery their data after a disaster, whether this data is located on-premises or in the cloud.

3. Organizations finally realize they need a business continuity plan for ransomware attacks

As recent ransomware attacks on hospitals that halted radiation treatments for some cancer patients demonstrate, despite organizations’ best efforts, it is impossible for security solutions to be 100 per cent effective. As organizations finally come around to realizing that no security system is perfect, they are now asking themselves not what they will do if a ransomware or other cyberattack locks or destroys their data, but when.

The answer to this question is to have a business continuity plan in place that accounts for a ransomware or other cyberattack, allowing the organization to recover from the attack quickly, so that any disruption to their operations is minimal.

This year, expect to see organizations finally start working to ensure they have in place the business continuity processes and disaster recovery solutions they need to rapidly recover not just from natural disasters, but malicious cyberattack disasters as well — helping them transform ransomware attacks from three-car pileups into mere bumps in the road.

4. As more people work from home, intelligent endpoint data management emerges as a priority for IT

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in employers around the world asking millions of employees to work from home that had not done so before. However, one drawback facing companies whose employees are working from home is that they have much less control over data protection, data privacy regulatory compliance, and other aspects of data management than they do when these employees connect their laptops to their office’s corporate network.

At the same time, ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasing, while governments are implementing and enforcing stricter data privacy regulations.

Because of this, this year, expect to see more companies deploy solutions that allow them to intelligently protect, govern, and otherwise manage the data on their employees’ laptops and other endpoints.

In particular, expect to see growth of intelligent data management solutions that use AI and similar technologies. Using these technologies, these solutions can detect anomalous behaviour indicating a ransomware attack, or private customer information stored in a place or manner it should not be, allowing companies to nip ransomware, data privacy and similar data management problems in the bud.