*** Written exclusively for Waverley Labs by Lilith Croswell

In this day and age, cybersecurity is no longer a concern limited to financial institutions and tech companies. Smaller entities like startup firms and small-scale businesses are also at great risk. Cyber Defense Magazine reports that more than 40% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, and 91% of these attacks were launched with a phishing email. When it comes to data breaches, more than 8,000 cases have been reported between 2005 and 2018 amounting to billions in lost revenue.

Most of the 2019 cybersecurity predictions released by experts last year have come true. For instance, Arctic Wolf Networks CEO and co-founder Brian NeSmith correctly predicted that supply chain attacks would rise and vendor risk management would need a lot of improvement. In this post we will look at more statistics for this year and what they say about the current cyber crime situation.

Increasing number of CISOs

2019 certainly isn’t the first year in which the threat of cyber attacks has changed the nature of business structures. Maryville University recalls how previous expert predictions pointed to 2018 as the year more chief information security officers (CISO) would report directly to their respective CEOs. This shows a shift in how seriously companies are now taking cyber crime threats. TechHQ explains that most board discussions this year will revolve around mitigating cyber risks and looking for effective preventive measures. The site noted how the number of CISOs would also increase in big and small businesses. However, there was another trend that is a cause for concern. TechHQ noted that while 60% of CISOs reported directly to the CEO, “only 9 percent of respondents said they regularly report all data breaches to the CEO and board of directions”. A clear sign that despite the growing number, they need a louder voice in their respective companies.

IoT opening door to hackers

It’s also important to note the current statistics surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT). The experts were right to predict that the IoT would improve a lot of industries, from transportation to medicine and manufacturing. The global IoT market forecast for this year is projected to nearly double in size. However this has also caused some issues, as the IoT has led to an expanded network layer with numerous endpoints that can make it easier for anyone to compromise a network. In cyber security terms this means that companies must be more careful when it comes to ensuring that there are no gaps in their networks.

Cloud security

Cloud security threats are also on the rise. Although cloud-based solutions are flexible and cost-effective, they have made networks vulnerable to attacks, which include sudden information leaks, malicious insider attacks, and unidentified system vulnerabilities. Nerdio cloud CEO Andrew Bunyi stated that cloud security should undergo a lot of improvements this year, as the average cost of a data breach increased by 6.4% in 2018. “As the online climate grows more dangerous and as the value of critical data stored in the cloud rises, this is one number that you can expect to continue to increase in 2019 and beyond. The era of the ‘smart attack’ is upon us,” he explained.

So many of these cybersecurity threats can be prevented by actively putting defensive measures in place. For one, businesses, no matter how small, always need to equip themselves with the latest security programs. Juanita Koilpillai notes that digital risk reduction solutions need to be a priority as reducing risk is better than overcoming an attack or breach. Additionally, enterprises, government organizations, and service providers can opt for Software Defined Perimeters, which are emerging key components in security measures. These help businesses manage digital risks through hybrid, collocated, or on-premise data centers. While many of the predictions made for 2019 proved correct, they also show how much work still needs to be done.