Double Down on Innovation in the Face of Uncertainty

Sixgill’s CEO, Sharon Wagner, shares his top tech and business predictions in light of the pandemic’s first birthday.

2020 is the year that blindsided humanity. COVID-19 reshuffled the deck and humanity got dealt a very challenging hand. We managed, however, to keep business going and each development held risks, challenges and opportunities. From WFH to shifts in security services, HR, insurance, education and trust, humanity quickly developed in SaaS technologies. Innovation was an important ace up our sleeve the past year, and will continue to be going forward into 2021.

The age of endpoint corporate culture

The global pandemic sent a lot of people home - to work. Surprisingly, a lot of companies successfully managed the shift to working remotely, and many employees adapted quickly even in the more conservative industries. This actually trickled up to enterprises that came with the right products to enable and empower employees to work even more effectively from home. 

What happens when you’re dealing with sudden changes? Errors and mistakes.

Where do they happen? Usually outside the organization. COVID reduced risks on-prem, but increased risks on endpoints (WFH). Due to the transition, the exposure level jumped exponentially. So one prediction is that we’ll see a spike in data leaks/breaches on endpoints. IoT, remote/devices - we’ll see a lot of investment in VPN defense/protection technologies.

Disgruntled employee at home = a serious threat 

The dark web is brimming with credentials leaked by disgruntled employees, which can have a serious impact on the ultimate success of your business. It has become increasingly important for businesses to identify these employees early on, and effectively manage them. Due to lack of personal intercommunication in COVID times, identifying disgruntled employees early on is extremely hard. Maybe one of the most challenging tasks for executives today is to assess the work health of an employee. I think we’ll see a dramatic increase in new sophisticated HR tools to evaluate and manage employees’ work health.

The rise in cyber exposure and cyber insurance 

COVID-19 amplified certain cyber exposures as remote work became a major security consideration. We saw a spike in compromised remote desktop protocols (RDPs) and other leaked credentials offered for sale in the deep and dark web. Organizations’ cyber exposure grew exponentially almost overnight, and with it the need to underwrite those risks turned into a must. WFH bumped up the average cost of a breach to $137,000 [1]. Cyber liability coverage can help offset the financial pain in case of such devastating incidents. Moreover, more companies are requiring their partners to carry stand-alone coverage to protect against third party threats. These policies also become more precise and clear regarding the risk and the coverage. I believe we’ll see some brilliant innovations in insurtech this year - it’s exciting to see where innovators will take the industry.

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It’s small-medium businesses’ time - big time!

The pandemic forces tectonic shifts on the IT services’ side. A lot of organizations suddenly found themselves in need to operate in a distributed manner, without the right security policies, methodologies and best-practices in place. The bigger enterprises have the tools, resources and technologies to quickly adapt, but smaller companies found themselves in bigger trouble. I think MSSPs will probably shift their offering to help cater to mid-market needs. We can expect to see more products, tools and services that used to be available only for big enterprises, being adapted in terms of technology, pricing/business models and so on.

The knowledge Gap is going to get bigger, before it gets smaller

A lot has been written about the increasing talent gap. As organizations shift to remote work, cyber exposure multiplied. Cyber security practices and education will only be more desirable and the cyber talent gap will only increase. We’ll see more and more tools that automate human labour - not to take a human’s place but because there are not enough people. There is a need for technologies that increase security professionals’ performance by reducing the workload, taking first stab at separating the wheat from the chaff and helping individuals focus on what’s important and get more done - faster. We’ll see tools that enable MSSPs to achieve this at scale - cover more assets, eliminate blindspots, with less people. In addition, the entire cybersecurity workforce will need to step up its game, “moving the middle”[2] faster.

We must trust ourselves and innovate

Probably for lack of a better option, companies learned to trust cloud-based security products and vendors. The pandemic and our need to quickly adapt has accelerated the development and adoptions of mechanisms, technologies, processes and products that allow us to establish trust digitally. Companies like Docusign or Cloudflare did a tremendous job, helping humans to feel safe to connect and work online, saving us years of digital adoption. This increased trust will further propel the creation of new technologies, as well as adaptation of existing, towards safer digital environments and a better digital future.