As we enter 2020, we take a look at everyone's favorite subject: security. The risk from cyberattacks is still front of mind for IT and channel leaders as we enter a new decade.
Being educated on the threats and trends we can expect to see in the coming year will help us stay ahead of the curve and know what we are set to face. As we enter a new year, we ask industry players what the top five security trends are set to be for 2020 and how channel partners can stay on top of them.
For anyone thinking that we may have just about started to get on top of phishing, think again. 2020 is set to see the fast-becoming-favorite modus operandi of hackers only increase in a number of ways.
First and foremost, it's 2020 and yet we still need to remind clients that their biggest threat is "walking through the door", Karl Bickmore, CEO at Arizona-based MSP Snap Tech IT, told CPI in an interview.
"This year we'll see a higher number of more successful attacks that simply walk in the door without using a virus or malware, but through social engineering, by a phishing email, phone call, text or one of the various methods [hackers] use. And that's important to realize, because that means those attacks happening in their network are not going to be detected… by your antivirus or your firewall because they're walking in the door, figuratively, via your employees."
Elad Schulman, CEO at Israeli-headquartered MSSP Segasec, agrees. He told CPI that not only will we see a rise in the number of phishing attacks in 2020, but also the severity of those attacks.
"Scams will become much more intelligent, violent, abundant and difficult to tackle," he said.
Schulman also expects phishing scams to move into the native application world. As we come even more heavily reliant on our smart devices in 2020, so native applications will become more of an exposure point.
"Native applications are available to do anything from hailing a ride-share to booking a vacation, and attackers are well aware of the data they could steal from intercepting these communications, so we're likely to see a rise in phishing scams that use mobile apps as a result," he said.
Logicalis security expert Ricky Magalhaes tipped behavior analytics as the biggest security technology to take off this year, driven by a need from customers to understand their own threat landscapes and how their own users are behaving on the network.
"At Logicalis, the end point stuff is slowing down quite dramatically. The encryption is not slowing down but it is steady, but the user behavior analytics is speeding up. Just before the end of the year we had three orders for that in just two weeks. So we know that this year we're going to be deploying user analytics for some big customers," he said.
"Five years ago customers were implementing solutions that the vendors told them they needed. They implemented them and they still weren't secure. What's happened recently is that customers now understand that the user's behavior is really something they haven't been controlling. Once they understand that, they can have a better idea of what they need to buy from their vendors.
"Five years ago they were just buying what the industry was telling them they needed. But customers are tired of that now, they want to surgically find what they should be doing, and that's what user behavior analytics does. You can customize it for what is right for your company."
Services integrated into security
It may seem like nothing new, but the security staffing shortage is set to take on a whole new face in 2020 as the scarcity creates problems of complexity, according to Frank Dickson, program VP, cybersecurity products at IDC.
Dickinson notes that what this will bring in 2020 is a rise in services being integrated in products in order to meet customer demand for complex solutions that they feel are necessary but don't have the expertise to implement.
"What customers want is a solution - you go to the store to buy a loaf of bread, not to buy flour, water, sugar, and then come home and make your own bread. The same applies to security. We just want the solution, and more and more people are expecting services to be integrated into our products because we're looking for a complete solution."
This is good news for the channel, Dickson said, as it will drive business towards MSSPs, as customers seek to have services integrated into their products.
Size doesn't matter
For channel partners with smaller customers, 2020 is set to see those customers become an ever-vulnerable target of cyber criminals. We know that this has been the case for some time, but in 2020 we are going to see a big increase in the number of SMBs being targeted because of a continuing lack of security investment and incorrect attitudes to risk exposure.
Schulman notes that this doesn't go unnoticed in the cybercriminal world and makes such businesses particularly vulnerable. "Hackers are realizing that there's money to be made by victimizing SMBs as well as large organizations, and that often smaller brands don't have the resources it takes to tackle this major problem, making the attack much easier to achieve," he said.
This is coupled with a complete lack of security on mobile devices, which is often more pervasive in smaller firms where only a handful of employees have work-related devices, meaning most employees are using their own device to connect to the company WiFi (and possibly) network.
Smaller MSPs should also be mindful that they will be increasingly attractive targets in 2020, by virtue of being not only a small business, but because hackers will see them as having the keys to the security kingdom of their clients.
TDR and MFA have arrived
If the channel and the industry as a whole is going to tackle the continuing rise of cyber threats, it's time for threat detection and response (TDR), which Bickmore said the channel is "finally waking up to" and will embrace fully in 2020.
Instead of relying on antivirus and firewalls, 2020 will see channel players utilizing managed detection and response and endpoint detection and response, and other types of threat detection, Bickmore said.
"We're all waking up to that and realizing there's this whole new category that most of us have been ignoring for years. And so 2020 is the year that it's really going to take off. It's gotten a little momentum here in 2019, and I think everybody who's not going there in 2020 is going to be sorely mistaken and really missing a major competitive opportunity."
2020 will also be the year for multi-factor authentication (MFA), Bickmore said. For channel players with clients on Office 365, this means utilizing the new Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection feature and turning on MFA.
"Those are things that the leading-edge providers started doing in 2018 and 2019, and I think the general population is going to head there in 2020," he said.
AI and ML
It's often debated as to just how effectively artificial intelligence, machine learning and behavioral analytics are in the fight against security. In 2020 the answer is set to be "very", and those MSPs and MSSPs who harness this will see competitive advantage and safer customers, according to Dickson.
The days of finding malware based off a signature are over and analytics have taken over, he noted, and in 2020, it's sophisticated analytics that will become the go-to for leading security professionals.
"We used to be able to find malware and threats based upon a signature - we found the malicious file, we basically took a ‘photocopy' of it and then we compared all files against that ‘photocopy' looking for threats. Now, we can't do that. We're going to have to use sophisticated analytics."
For channel players in 2020 this is where they can differentiate themselves because they can create a machine learning skill set to be able to find threats much faster than traditional methods, according to Dickson..
"Being able to spread that expertise across hundreds of different, particular customers gives [channel partners] the ability to add value."
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