5 Cybersecurity Trends to Watch Out for in 2024


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Friday, March 8, 2024

Discover the pivotal trends shaping cybersecurity in 2024, and how you can respond and stay proactive in safeguarding your digital assets.

Article 7 Minutes
5 Cybersecurity Trends to Watch Out for in 2024

In today's cybersecurity landscape, it can sometimes feel like the only constant is the risk of evolving threats. With nearly 1 attack occurring every 39 seconds, IT and security leaders must remain vigilant about emerging threats, while staying informed about the trends that will shape the landscape this year, from the rise in AI to the widening skills gap. 

1. Increased Adoption of AI in Cybersecurity 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to be both a transformative and disruptive force in the year ahead. 

When it comes to speed, accuracy, and scalability, AI technology has already proven its advantages over peoplepower. Its capacity to gather vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate insights in real time can be a significant timesaver, freeing up valuable human resources to focus on more complex and strategic processes. In the context of cybersecurity, we can expect to see AI playing a significant role in both threat execution and defense. 

Cybercriminals are already leveraging AI to launch more sophisticated and targeted email attacks. With machine learning algorithms, they are capable of crafting convincing phishing emails that effectively mimic legitimate senders. These AI-powered attacks are better able to evade traditional email filters and security measures, making them difficult to detect and mitigate. In this way, cybercriminals are amplifying the scale and efficiency of their attacks, posing significant challenges to traditional cybersecurity defenses. In one recent report, over 74% of respondents noted an increased use in AI by cybercriminals, while more than 85% believed that AI will be used to circumvent their existing email security technologies. 

In order to combat these attacks, cybersecurity experts are increasingly turning to AI-driven solutions of their own. According to one Gartner survey, 34% of organizations are already employing AI security tools to mitigate the risks posed by generative AI, while over half of respondents are exploring such solutions. These AI-based defenses leverage similar machine learning techniques to analyze email traffic, detect anomalies, and identify phishing attempts with greater accuracy. These technologies are also enabling the development of other proactive security measures, such as predictive analytics and threat intelligence, to anticipate and prevent cyber threats before they materialize. By embracing the power of AI for cybersecurity this year, organizations can better defend against the ever-evolving tactics of today’s cybercriminals.  

2. Continued Evolution of Ransomware Attacks 

The threat of ransomware will continue to play on leaders’ minds this year, with more than 93% of survey respondents ranking ransomware protection as ‘very’ to ‘extremely important’. This heightened concern is not unfounded, given the exponential rise in ransomware attacks targeting organizations of all sizes and sectors during 2023. According to one report from the National Crime Agency (NCA), ransomware will continue to be one of the most persistent threats affecting businesses this year, particularly given the increased use of AI to power these attacks.  

Planning and implementing a robust backup and recovery strategy could prove critical this year in mitigating the risks associated with ransomware incidents. According to a recent Veeam Ransomware Trends report, threat actors actively targeted backup repositories in at least 93% of incidents from 2022. Of those impacted, less than 25% stated that their backup repositories were not affected by the attack. Meanwhile, the average time taken for an organization to fully recover from an attack was more than 3 weeks. By investing in resilient backup and recovery strategies, organizations will be better placed to minimize the potential fallout of a successful ransomware attack. 

Even more pressing is the need to effectively detect ransomware attacks in the first place, before they have the chance to unfold. One study by Futurum Research highlighted better ransomware detection capabilities as one of the most significant priorities of CISOs and other security experts, with more than two-thirds of the 163 respondents planning to use data analytics and machine learning (ML) tools to identify suspicious activity. At the same time, many organizations are extending the responsibility for cybersecurity beyond the IT function, providing employees with cybersecurity awareness training. This training ensures that everyone in the workforce is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and vigilance needed to identify and respond to potential threats, thereby strengthening the overall security posture of the organization. 

3. The Emergence of Zero Trust Security 

Zero Trust security, a concept that has gained momentum in recent years, will continue to be a dominant trend in 2024. Based on the principle of "never trust, always verify”, Zero Trust assumes that every user and device is a potential threat, regardless of their location. Whilst this approach requires continuous authentication, strict access controls, and monitoring of network activities, it does offset potential risks. For instance, it can help mitigate the risk of data breaches, which currently originate from internal actors in 36% of incidents for companies employing over 1,000 individuals and in 44% of incidents for smaller businesses

This year, it will extend beyond a technical network security model to a holistic and adaptive approach using AI authentication and active monitoring. This evolution will provide organizations with enhanced security resilience. It will also broaden its scope beyond the corporate network to encompass IoT devices, partners, and remote workers, something that has been a necessity since 50% of US workforces went remote in 2020, most with very little cybersecurity training. 

4. Talent Shortages and the Skills Gap 

With cybercrime on the rise, organizations are struggling to find sufficiently skilled cybersecurity professionals to combat evolving threats. The current shortage of skilled individuals has left 59% of cybersecurity teams understaffed, and this challenge is expected to persist over the next few years. Gartner predicts that by 2025, a lack of cybersecurity professionals will be responsible for over 50% of significant incidents. To mitigate the risk this poses, IT and security teams must work together to shoulder the responsibility of maintaining a resilient infrastructure. 

Along with chronic understaffing, cybersecurity leaders are also facing significant challenges in retaining their existing workforce. As demands for robust security measures escalate, workload increases are putting additional strain on already stretched resources, leaving 71% of cybersecurity professionals considering leaving their current positions. With more than half of cybersecurity leaders reporting difficulties with retaining their talent, organizations must consider investments into training and upskilling initiatives. Not only do 58% of professionals believe this is how to shrink the skills gap, but doing so can also strengthen a business’ cybersecurity capabilities and increase their capacity to respond to sophisticated threats. 

To increase the profile of cybersecurity within their organization, some businesses are also advocating for security professionals to become members of their board of directors. This not only fosters a culture of security awareness throughout the organization, but also facilitates better collaboration between the security team and other departments. It is thought that by 2026, 70% of boards will have at least one member with expertise in the field, so that business leaders know protection is top-of-mind for their company. As part of this movement, many have recognized that the requirements for IT talent is not just about technical expertise anymore, but also about soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. 

5. Outsourcing Cybersecurity Expertise 

Given the current landscape, many IT teams are looking to delegate the security processes they lack the expertise for in-house. Outsourcing allows organizations to leverage the specialized knowledge and resources of third-party cybersecurity providers and grants them access to a diverse pool of skilled professionals. 

Among larger organizations, there is a growing trend of outsourcing through Security Operations Centers (SOCs) that offer monitoring for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, and Managed Detection Response (MDR) services. Through these channels, organizations of all sizes can focus on their core business requirements while ensuring their cybersecurity, detection, response, and defense needs are handled by experts. 

Overall, the cybersecurity trends for 2024 reflect the evolving nature of cyber threats and the need to be proactive and innovative to overcome potential challenges. From the increased adoption of AI to the growing importance of cyber insurance and changing regulations, organizations must adapt to the changing landscape and invest in robust cybersecurity measures. By staying informed, leveraging emerging technologies, and fostering a culture of cybersecurity, businesses can effectively protect both themselves and their digital assets. 

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