Cybersecurity Risk Management: Emerging Trends & Solutions

Published March 19, 2024
by Dave Stenger
With the number and severity of cybersecurity threats growing rapidly, organizations face a never-ending battle to prepare against a diverse, sophisticated, and expanding network of nefarious cybercrime tactics. Certain cyber threats may be more effective than others against smaller start-ups or larger and established entities, but every organization should prioritize protecting themselves against the most common cybersecurity threats.

Threat: Challenges of Remote Work

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic threw a proverbial wrench into most organizations’ day-to-day operations and traditional workflows, the increased popularity of a remote, work-from-home workforce has introduced many new cybersecurity challenges.

  • Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be exploited to give cybercriminals unauthorized access to organizations’ sensitive data.
  • Although typically located in private homes, most employees’ remote work environments lack the physical security measures in place in traditional office environments. Ensuring secure facilities and adequate access controls to private data or sensitive systems becomes much more difficult in remote work settings.
  • Endpoint security risks significantly increase as remote workers introduce personal devices—smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.—to professional networks. Personal devices are a target of malware, ransomware, or other cyber threats, and they’re a popular point of entry for cybercriminals trying to breach business networks. Employees’ personal devices and outdated hardware are almost always less secure and more likely to contain inherent security flaws than corporate-owned, configured, and managed alternatives. 
  • Many of the most common threats, such as phishing, malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks, tend to have a higher success rate when targets are individually isolated and working remotely. 

Cybersecurity Solutions for Remote Work

While it introduces new cybersecurity risks, many companies recognize the benefits of extending employees opportunities to work remotely from home or anywhere. There are several cybersecurity solutions that, while effective in any professional setting, can especially mitigate risks associated with remote work.

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and more of PC Mag’s best VPNs for businesses, encrypt employees’ internet connections to ensure secure remote access to company networks. 
  • Endpoint Security for remote workers includes comprehensive mobile device management strategies and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies that ensure secure remote access. Singularity XDR and CrowdStrike Falcon are among Gartner’s 2023 Customers’ Choice endpoint protection platforms for safeguarding remote devices from malware, ransomware, and other threats.
  • Advanced Cloud Security is essential, as remote work frequently relies on accessing organizations’ cloud-based services. Many solutions include data encryption, access controls, and monitoring for unusual activity across the expanded attack surfaces inherent with remote work. Netskope recently earned best-overall honors in eSecurity Planet’s analysis of 10 top cloud security companies.

Threat: Evolving Phishing Methods

Traditional phishing emails remain responsible for most catastrophic data breaches and financial fraud. When spelling and grammar errors littered cybercriminals’ correspondence, spotting a phishing email used to be easier. Today, email-based scams are harder to detect due to AI language tools. New phishing methods also threaten organizational security.

Man-in-the-middle attacks, an evolution of traditional phishing, begin with the attacker intercepting email correspondence between two parties. The cybercriminal follows up with both individuals, leading each to believe they’re communicating with the intended person.

Deepfake technology, which uses artificial intelligence to create realistic fake audio or video content, can be used to impersonate individuals. Phishers may use deepfake technology to create convincing messages from seemingly trustworthy sources.

Search engine phishing attacks occur when cybercriminals manipulate search engine results to promote malicious websites. Users searching for legitimate services may unknowingly click on phishing links that appear in search results.

Cybersecurity Solutions for Social Engineering Threats

  • Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES) Solutions use machine learning to scan inbound emails, warning users when unknown senders or unusual attachments appear suspicious. IRONSCALES, Trustifi, PhishTitan, and Abnormal Security are the top phishing protection solutions in Expert Insights’ buyers’ guide.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) tools can help thwart social engineering scams even if perpetrators successfully coerce users into divulging private passwords. After initially signing in using traditional login credentials, users may use a one-time additional password, a physical security key token, or provide biometric identification. Most software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings and cloud services include options for implementing MFA, which all businesses should take advantage of and make mandatory for employees accessing company networks. 
  • Comprehensive Employee Training is often the most effective way to prevent phishing attacks. Proactive training programs can promote awareness and teach team members signs to look for to avoid becoming an unsuspecting target. 

Threat: Malware and Ransomware Attacks

Malware is a prevalent cybersecurity threat, with over 5.5 billion worldwide attacks detected in 2022, according to Statista. Emails and websites are the two main attack vectors for malware, which can inflict severe consequences on unsuspecting organizations. 

Malware can be designed to steal sensitive information, such as payment or financial data, login credentials, or valuable intellectual property. Other forms of malware can become even more dangerous, targeting software or systems for which patches aren’t available to prevent or remedy the attacker’s “zero-day” exploits. Some malware includes spyware, while others aim to disrupt computer systems and cause damage that causes significant, costly, and unproductive downtime for organizations. 

Ransomware represents the most profitable type of malware for greedy cybercriminals. By encrypting a target’s critical files or systems, ransomware attackers demand payment in exchange for a decryption key while threatening to delete data or publicize sensitive materials permanently. Even if victimized organizations comply, there’s never a guarantee attackers will follow through. The financial losses due to downtime, business disruption, potential regulatory penalties, and reputational damage may be impossible for organizations to overcome.

Cybersecurity Solutions for Malware and Ransomware

For the best protection against ongoing malware and ransomware threats, organizations should deploy a combination of solutions to provide a multi-layered defense. In addition to many of the previously discussed cybersecurity solutions, the following measures protect against ongoing malware and ransomware threats. 

  • Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software may be included in endpoint detection and response (EDR) platforms. At the same time, additional solutions can independently scan for, detect, and remove known threats or malicious code across networks and endpoint devices. When choosing an antivirus tool to defend against malware and ransomware, seek solutions that regularly update their databases of known threats and include additional security features. TotalAV emerged as the best option in Cybernews’ recent hands-on testing and reviews. Norton and Bitdefender were also recognized for their ransomware protection.
  • Off-Site Cloud Backup Solutions can help make cybercriminals’ ransom demands irrelevant, providing an effective means to get businesses back up and running more quickly.

Threat: Insider Threats

Cybersecurity is a highly technical field featuring state-of-the-art infrastructure tools and technological advancements. However, most debilitating data breaches and successful cyberattacks involve the human element. 

Insider threats can come from disgruntled employees or vendors who take advantage of their privileged access or from victims of a social engineering scam. Whether or not they intend harm, insiders can pose a significant threat to organizations’ systems and operations. Unfortunately, insider threats can be challenging to prevent or detect because they involve trusted individuals.

Cybersecurity Solutions for Insider Threats

Effectively defending against insider threats requires a balanced combination of technological solutions, internal policy implementations, and thorough employee education. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed a comprehensive overview of insider threat mitigation, including fundamental resources and training tools to help organizations protect their people, information, and infrastructure.

  • Employee Security Training that fosters a company culture of security awareness is one of the most effective ways to mitigate the likelihood and impact of insider threats. Help employees recognize signs, actions, and behaviors that could indicate others are compromising business data or internal systems. Implementing a confidential method for reporting potential insider cybersecurity threats can encourage those employees who see something to say something before it’s too late.
  • Access Controls and Activity Monitoring Tools are critical features of many identity and access management (IAM) solutions. These tools can be customized to limit user or vendor access based on the principle of least privilege, ensuring individuals have only the minimum level of access necessary to perform their job functions. Activity monitoring software can track users’ actions, log activities, and generate alerts for suspicious or unauthorized behaviors.

Find Solutions from Experts in the RAMPxchange Marketplace

Many cybersecurity threats mentioned in this post are not new. Yet, they are poised to remain potent, prevalent challenges for organizations of all sizes for many years. Public and private sector entities alike must be proactive to ensure their networks and infrastructure are secure. The RAMPxchange marketplace represents a one-stop shop for finding cybersecurity experts to help address your organization’s threats. Connect with a RAMPxchange representative to join, learn more, and begin or continue your cybersecurity journey today.