The State of Cybersecurity in 2022

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2021 was an interesting year for all of us working in IT security. It wasn’t just the spike in supply chain attacks, most notably SolarWinds and Kasaya. It wasn’t just the waves of vulnerabilities leading to privileged access and remote code execution (RCE) in Microsoft Exchange, in printer drivers, externally exposed remote desktop protocol (RDP), and, of course, in OSS projects like Log4J.

2021 saw the largest GDPR fine ever paid, over three-quarters-of-a-billion euros1 (nearly $858 million US dollars); ransomware payments reached new highs2; the average cost of a data breach was up 10%, representing the largest single-year cost increase in seven years3; and, to make matters worse, the overall number of breaches jumped more than 25%4.

Yet, despite all the headlines and vendor trumpets touting new acronyms and supplemental tools nobody asked for, it was a year of reflection for organizations, for IT security professionals, and for business owners. The rapid changes made nearly overnight to infrastructure, applications, and access controls during 2020’s huge shift to remote work were now under scrutiny, while security teams were still busy defending against the litany of attacks and attack methods. As a result, it’s no surprise that burnout is a real issue impacting our industry.

What IT Security Decision Makers Are Focused on Today

The research and analysis in Arctic Wolf’s 2022 Trends Report brings insight into the cybersecurity hearts, minds, and log files of organizations across the globe. It includes lessons to put into practice, confirmation that others face the same decisions and risks as you, and—most importantly—a reminder that cybersecurity is not all doom and gloom.

There are many well-documented steps organizations can take to reduce risk, which include steps to deploy password managers to help your colleagues use unique credentials, introduce multifactor authorization (MFA) to reduce exposure when credentials are gathered, implement the Center for Internet Security (CIS) controls, and address the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10.

Of course, having helped many customers navigate these exact issues, we know this is often far easier said than done. The challenges these issues bring become the big driver behind why so many organizations reach the realization that they need help. Too often, however, that supposed help comes from vendors selling more tools within an industry that has overpromised and under-delivered for far too long.

Companies both large and small want to level-up their security posture, regardless of their overall security maturity. And one thing is for sure: purchasing more tools will not get you there.  The only thing that strategy guarantees is increasing complexity in IT, and maintaining the status quo or worse in security.

At Arctic Wolf, we believe security operations is the solution. Organizations that embrace security operations are more secure, more resilient, and better able to adapt to changing circumstances like we’ve seen during the pandemic. And the future appears just as challenging.

We’re only a few weeks into the year, but the opening chapters of cybersecurity in 2022 have given us a glimpse of the adversarial roadmap for the rest of the year: Ransomware and destructive attacks, vulnerabilities and exploitation at scale, and nation-state activity keep rolling into the mainstream by accident or circumstance.

Whether you are new to security or a decades-long veteran, I believe that even one small change you make or one “aha” moment you take from this report will be more than worth the time you invest to read it.

See for yourself.  Read The State of Cybersecurity: 2022 Trends Report

Picture of Ian McShane

Ian McShane

Ian McShane has over 20 years experience in cybersecurity and operational IT. As a former Gartner analyst, Ian has advised the largest and fastest growing technology companies in the world as well as tens of thousands of organizations world-wide. He is well known as a trusted advisor and popular commentator in our industry, and prior to joining Arctic Wolf Ian has spent time at Symantec, Gartner, Endgame, Elastic, and CrowdStrike.
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