Stuart Jubb, Managing Director of Consulting at Crossword Cybersecurity talks about some of the trends we should all be watching in 2022.

ransomware  security trends

This year as we (hopefully) transition out of pandemic mode, we are hearing a lot of clients say they want to get refocused on the projects that will grow their businesses, rather than just keep them running. Business leaders are optimistic and motivated to make some real progress.

It is important to recognise that whilst many sectors have experienced major disruption, the digital world has not stood still. From cybersecurity developments and privacy controls to major new virtual reality (VR) opportunities, here are just some of the key IT trends that we see impacting many businesses operationally and strategically as they move into 2022 and beyond.

The law gets serious on ransomware

Ransomware may be nothing new itself, but how companies deal with it could start to be under much closer scrutiny in 2022, particularly as the US senate reviews the Ransomware Disclosure Act.

It will require those that receive, and then pay a ransom demand, to provide detailed information about the payment, something they have been able to keep private to date.

This is a trend we can expect to follow in regulatory jurisdictions around the world, and will place companies under even greater pressure to ensure their security provisions are as strong as they can be and employees well trained to avoid phishing attacks and other behaviours that can open a door to ransomware.

Zero-Trust security

Trust and confidence in Zero-Trust security architectures will really accelerate in 2022. New approaches to identity and access management (IAM) that embrace the Verifiable Credentials W3C standard and Self-Sovereign Identities (SSIs) will be better understood as a way to implement zero-trust, with the first products that bring together SSI and OpenID Connect SIOPV2 appearing in the market.

The reliance on blockchains for SSI will increasingly disappear as more organisations realise they are not an essential component.

An injection in the arm for VR and the metaverse

2022 will of course see excitement around the metaverse – does anyone talk about anything else in Silicon Valley right now? Its underlying core technologies (VR/AR) will thrive as tech companies start to scrabble for their position in the conversation and emerging market – this will be largely thanks to the announcements from Meta and Fortnite in 2021.

As a result, we will also see more real-world adoption in VR use cases such as architects, construction, 3D modelling and other industrial applications.

VR will also fuel interest in alternative human-computer interfaces. Initially in body-computer but potentially advances from organisations such as Neuralink, 2022 could put computer-brain interfaces in the spotlight again, with greater discussion on data privacy and ownership expected.

Data privacy

Analysts predict that by the end of 2023, modern privacy laws will cover the personal information of 75% of the world’s population. There is a wide breadth of legislation that covers this data, of which GDPR was the first, but we will see the inconsistencies on data privacy legislation grow as it becomes more refined.

Areas such as using behavioural analysis for the purpose of detecting human risk factors such as ‘insider threats’, will become more tightly controlled with polar approaches existing even in different states. This will further exacerbate the challenges of managing data privacy and security within organisations.

A year to watch

It’s impossible to cover all the technological and regulatory advances we can expect to see in 2022, but we know the cyber security challenges each business will face will be as big as ever.

Whatever your IT and digital transformation plans for 2022, cyber security risk management will be integral to their success. Data privacy and ransomware, for example, will impact every business regardless of the vertical market: hackers are getting smarter, and regulatory muscle will be flexed and strengthened further. VR and the metaverse will become the norm.

Watching these and other trends will make sure your business plans are not blindsided and revisions can be made to ensure their success.

The digital world is advancing faster than ever, so make sure your enthusiasm to hit the ground running this year is not at the expense of being able to adapt to the rapidly changing environment around you.