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Evolve or die: The cybersecurity industry’s challenges in the post-coronavirus world

Opinion

Evolve or die: The cybersecurity industry’s challenges in the post-coronavirus world

Organizations must be ready to adopt changes in order to ensure we can securely conduct our new remotely-managed lives

Omri Lavie | 14:18  26.08.2020
The unprecedented and still ongoing spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic across the world has led to shifts in daily routines, such as transitioning from face-to-face meetings to online virtual meetings.

Humanity suddenly realized how easy and simple it is to do almost anything from nearly any location through our computers of smartphones, including activities we are all accustomed to, like consulting with doctors, working out, going to school or working from home.

Omri Lavie. Photo: Vardi Kahana Omri Lavie. Photo: Vardi Kahana Omri Lavie. Photo: Vardi Kahana
This trend has strengthened and expanded the importance of the cybersecurity industry, a sector whose solutions secure nearly every action conducted online. The manner in which this industry will change in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, is a challenge many tech professionals are tackling and trying to determine. The following are some of the most burning issues we as an industry will have to cope with.

Personal tracking technology: These technologies have recently become significant tools when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus. The video surveillance technology market, for example, is expected to grow from $50 billion in 2020 to $75 billion in 2025. The battle against the collection of data on individuals and the controversy over the degree to which such technologies violate privacy have slightly slowed their adoption, but the Covid-19 pandemic proved how necessary they are, provided they actually aid in preventing the virus’s spread. The governments of South Korea, India and Israel, for example, have all employed cellular tracking technology to locate Covid-19 carriers.

The tech giants have started investing in people-tracking technologies. Google, for example, created the Covid-19 Tracker, which uses cellular phone location data to analyze how the movement of individuals within a community has changed due to the pandemic. The company is even collaborating with Apple in this, meaning that the two leading manufacturers of cellular phone operating systems are doing their share to take care of the problem.

Remote work and study environments: Cyberattacks have always been an integral part of life online. But the frequency of cyberattacks has increased significantly following the changes that the epidemic has created in the way we conduct our private and professional lives. These changes have created a necessary transition from a secure work environment in the office to a remote work environment that is largely insufficiently secure. Our home computers don’t have the same enterprise-level protection as our office computers do and as a result they have become popular, easy to breach targets for hackers. In light of this, our organizational awareness and personal responsibility to protect the remote work environment has increased.

Unlike in an office work environment, the home user tends to avoid the use of cumbersome and unfriendly security software and as a result tends to leave his or her online home work environment insufficiently protected. As a result, many organizations have begun to invest in security software adapted for remote work and at the same time instruct their employees on how to deal with security vulnerabilities in the remote work environment.

Organizations will be required to implement stricter cybersecurity policies than before in order to provide remote, but secure, access. Without the stricter policies, organizatoins will leave themselves open to multiple attacks, stemming not from the secured organizational network, but from the remote work environments.

Simplicity is key: The need to simplify the use of security tools in the remote work environment along with the need to enforce strict cybersecurity policies, may exacterbate an existing industry challenge: the overabundance of security solutions that are not synchronized and occasionally clash with each other. There is a need therefore for a horizontal security platform that can combine a number of different tools that work in full synchronicity. Unlike today, when most organizations rely on a collection of individual solutions, such platforms will unite different and separate security solutions, and provide a toolbox to simplify its use in the office and in remote work environments.

Lastly, let us not forget that the cybersecurity sector is challenged on a daily basis by hackers who try to break down the security walls that the industry has erected around the data of each and every one of us. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has altered the way all of us work, study and manage our online lives, produced a series of challenges which the industry will have to find new creative and effective ways to cope with. Organizations who chose to ignore the change will bump up against the evolutionary law that demands us to “evolve or die.”

Omri Lavie is a cyber entrepreneur, the CEO of Orchestra, and the co-founder of the NSO Group

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