Staying ahead of the curve: Navigating the top 6 cybersecurity challenges of 2024

As cybersecurity risks escalate and evolve, organizations will need to be highly adaptive and proactive, while leveraging proven digital identity solutions to combat them in 2024 and beyond.

As we step into 2024, the cybersecurity landscape continues to present significant, evolving challenges. Organizations will need to reassess their security strategies, while becoming more nimble, adaptive, and proactive to stay ahead of the curve. Here’s a look at the top security challenges in store for ‘24, as well as recommendations to mitigate risks you may encounter.

Embracing Zero Trust architecture

Zero Trust’s foundational role is vital to cybersecurity, and it will only grow in importance in the coming years. That calls for a strategic shifting of gears to embrace it – if you haven’t already done so. The encouraging news is that more organizations are getting on board and increasing their investment in Zero Trust architecture. According to Gartner, by 2026, 10% of large enterprises are projected to have a comprehensive and mature Zero Trust-driven program in place.

Based on the mantra “never trust, always verify,” Zero Trust is centered on the principle of least privilege, granting users and devices only the minimum necessary permissions to perform their designated tasks. At the heart of Zero Trust is a framework of integrated digital identity solutions that support key cybersecurity capabilities including governance and administration, identity management, authorization, and access and authentication.

Navigating the offensive and defensive powers of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are revolutionizing cybersecurity, both as a new vector for attack and as powerful tools that enable organizations to defend against increasingly menacing cyber threats.

On the offensive side, malicious actors are leveraging AI to launch more sophisticated attacks. Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly convincing, due to the use of generative AI to create personalized and targeted emails. Adaptive malware is also emerging, capable of evading traditional detection methods and modifying its behavior based on the environment.

On the defensive side, AI-driven data security solutions can be used to automate many of the tasks that are currently performed manually, such as proactive and reactive monitoring of network access for suspicious activity, responding to threats in real time, and investigating security incidents. This frees up IT teams to focus on tasks that require their strategic expertise, such as developing and implementing security policies and procedures.

Combatting the unsettling evolution of ransomware

The evolution of ransomware has seen the rise of increasingly advanced tactics and tools. An alarming recent development is the emergence of ransomware-as-a-service models. These models operate similarly to legitimate software-as-a-service offerings, providing cybercriminals with access to ransomware tools, infrastructure, and support services for a subscription fee. This democratization of ransomware capabilities lowers the barrier to entry for threat actors, allowing even less skilled individuals to participate and increasing the volume of attacks.

To stay ahead of these evolving threats, organizations must adopt a proactive approach. This includes investing in robust security measures based on Zero Trust architecture as discussed above, regular security awareness training on these new tactics, and vigilance about maintaining up-to-date security patches and software. Additionally, organizations must ensure they have a comprehensive, regularly reviewed data backup and recovery plan in place to minimize the impact of ransomware attacks.

Mitigating supply chain vulnerabilities

As recent high-profile attacks illustrate, supply chains and third parties continue to pose a significant threat to organizations of all sizes. To mitigate these risks, organizations should carefully vet their suppliers and ensure they have robust security measures in place. This includes requiring suppliers to adhere to strict security standards, such as ISO 27001 or NIST 800-53, and regularly assessing their security posture.

As part of that, organizations should also secure third-party access to their privileged assets. This includes extending Zero Trust principles to third-party users by implementing a vendor privileged access management solution. A comprehensive solution has features including identity governance and multifactor authentication, as well as crucial session monitoring and recording, enabling organizations to identify suspicious activity and respond in a timely manner.

Tackling the increasing complexity and burden of data privacy regulations

Data privacy regulations are constantly evolving, and organizations need to stay on top of them to avoid costly penalties and damage to their reputation. The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has set a new standard for data protection, and many other countries (and states) are following suit with their own stringent regulations. This vast regulatory landscape is increasing the compliance burden for organizations, which must now navigate a complex web of laws and regulations to protect the personal information of their customers and employees.

Organizations need to invest in robust data privacy management programs that include policies and procedures for collecting, storing, processing, and sharing personal information. And those capabilities should be supported by regular data privacy risk assessments and security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.

Overcoming the cybersecurity talent gap

The cybersecurity skills shortage continues to be a significant challenge for organizations, as 74% of cybersecurity leaders think that staffing shortages can put their organization at moderate to extreme risk for cyber attack. The gap is due to several factors, including the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, the complexity of cybersecurity threats, and the lack of qualified individuals entering the field. This shortfall is compromising security and efficiency, while hindering the ability to focus on core business priorities and strategic goals.

Organizations can overcome their resource gaps by extending the power of their IT teams with managed service solutions. That typically includes hands-on implementation support, ongoing maintenance and administrative support, as well as advisory support to guide technical change and strategic planning.

Cybersecurity success in 2024

There’s no question that 2024 promises to be a bumpy cybersecurity ride, especially as bad actors step up their game by leveraging more sophisticated attack methods and tools. But the best defense is an adaptive mindset, along with a proactive approach that makes the best use of strategic, integrated digital identity solutions.

For information on securing all privileged identities and access in your enterprise, see our eBook highlighting the Imprivata access management suite of integrated digital identity solutions.