Accelerated Digitalization Calls for Managed IT Services

The world’s reaction to COVID-19 has changed the way people do business. From physical stores, many businesses have opted for online stores. From office workers, many businesses have allowed their workers to work from home.

The accelerated digitalization of business processes brings about the following cybersecurity trends in 2020:

Trend No. 1: Continued Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Long before COVID-19, cybersecurity skills gap was recognized as a problem. Estimates of cybersecurity labor shortage come by millions.

A 2017 report from Cybersecurity Ventures projected that the cybersecurity skills gap would create 3.5 million unfilled jobs globally by 2021. This projection, however, didn’t foresee the current pandemic.

The 2019 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study estimated for the first time the total number of cybersecurity workforce worldwide at around 2.8 million professionals. The 2019 study noted that the cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 145% to close skills gap and better defend organizations worldwide. Again, this study didn’t take into account the current pandemic.

In 2019, Gartner predicted that there would be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by the end 2019. According to Gartner, the pandemic has further escalated the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals. “In spite of a decline in new job postings between February 1 and April 10, both the U.S. and the U.K. saw a surge in demand for infosecurity roles,” Gartner said.

Managed IT services answer the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals. A managed IT services provider is an IT firm that provides cybersecurity services and expertise to businesses or organizations. In the past, IT services were typically provided by in-house IT personnel.

It isn’t uncommon to find businesses with no in-house IT personnel. This is a reality especially in small and medium-sized businesses. Large enterprises are often the ones that host in-house IT staff or cybersecurity experts.

Even with large organizations, many don’t have in-house cybersecurity experts. A survey conducted two years ago by Gartner showed that only 65% of large organizations have an in-house cybersecurity expert.

Trend No. 2: Security Process Automation Emerges to Eliminate Repetitive Tasks

According to Gartner, the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals and the availability of automation within security tools have driven the use of more security process automation. “Automated security tasks can be performed much faster, in a scalable way and with fewer errors,” Gartner said.

Automating some security tasks allows cybersecurity professionals to focus on more critical security functions. Combating distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), for instance, calls for an automated solution.

DDoS is a type of cyberattack in which attackers overwhelm a target, for example, a corporate website, with traffic, taking down this website and depriving customers from assessing the site. There are manual ways to combat DDoS. This includes manually blocking certain IP addresses.

In DDoS attacks, however, attackers don’t just use a handful of computers in bringing down a target. DDoS attackers have been known to use botnets in launching DDoS attacks. A botnet is a group of computers, including Internet of things (IoT) such as surveillance cameras and routers, that are hijacked by attackers.

This group of hijacked computers or botnet is then controlled by the attackers in overwhelming the target with traffic. Notorious botnets have hijacked, not just a handful of computers, but hundreds of thousands and some even millions of computers.

According to Norton, the millions of devices that constitute the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) are being hijacked and used to become part of the botnets to launch DDoS attacks. Manually blocking IP addresses of hundreds of thousands or millions of computers takes time. And time is what attackers need to make their DDoS attacks successful.

In August of this year, Radware and the FBI warned about a global ransom DDoS campaign targeting businesses worldwide. Radwarereported anew of an increase of ransom DDoS demands targeting organizations across the globe. A managed IT services provider, for instance, can introduce your organization to an automated security tool that automatically detects and mitigates DDoS attacks on your websites, applications, networks, DNS and IPs within three seconds.

Trend No. 3: Network Security Transformation with the Evolution of Remote Office Technology

As COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of remote office, remote workforce and cloud applications, network security calls for a newer approach compared to the days when employees still work in the office.

“A large number of Canadians continued to adapt to COVID-19 by working remotely in September, with over twice as many people working from home (4.2 million) than those who usually do so (1.9 million),” Statistics Canada’s September 2020 Labour Force Surveyshowed.

Peter Firstbrook, VP Analyst at Gartner during the virtual Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit, 2020, said, “The pandemic, and its resulting changes to the business world, accelerated digitalization of business processes, endpoint mobility and the expansion of cloud computing in most organizations, revealing legacy thinking and technologies.”

Traditionally, internet-exposed network resources are protected via virtual private network (VPN). In the COVID-19 era, VPN products have been actively exploited by attackers, specifically those unpatched ones. Your managed IT services provider can offer your organization patch management service and alternatives to VPN to better protect your organization’s network and your organization’s remote workforce.

While many aspects of today’s realities are not under our direct control, our experts at GenX can quickly evaluate the current state of your IT and come up with a perfect, customized solution to address your requirements, on budget. Looking to improve your IT services and safe money? Call us today at (416) 920-3000 or email us at

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