3 Valuable Lessons for Security Professionals in 2021

security professionals

2020 will go down as one of the most disruptive years of all time. For security professionals, 2020 was filled with many challenges. It also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward.

Here are some of the major lessons we learned in 2020 and how we can use them to thrive in 2021:

  1. The importance of business continuity
  2. The need for cybersecurity awareness.
  3. The value of being resilient

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Even before the global pandemic, security professionals found themselves in a world of constant change. In many ways, the global pandemic called us out and asked a very powerful question: Do you have the skills necessary to overcome these challenges?  

During 2020, security professionals scrambled to find answers, mitigate new cyber threats, and identify the skills required to remain operational. 

3 Lessons Security Professionals learned during the Pandemic

As much as 2020 was challenging it also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward. The top 3 lessons being:

The skills required to be successful in 2021 are a mix of time tested leadership skills and new technological techniques that empower us to remain productive & effective.

Lesson #1: Business continuity planning matters. Set realistic objectives, and involve everyone in the organization to avoid falling into the reaction vortex.

“Business continuity planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.”

The pandemic in many ways (was and continues to be)  an economic earthquake with unknown consequences. Security professionals, know that during economic disruption, business continuity planning is there to provide organizations with the resources and framework needed to mitigate the negative impacts of disruptions to normal operations—while continuing to fulfill key objectives.

In 2020 most organizations with a business continuity plan (BCP) were able to actually see if their plans were up to the task. Organizations that focused on BCP prior to the pandemic performed better than those that decided to make it important during the April-July time period.

Lesson #2: Cybersecurity awareness is more important than ever. All security professionals regardless of specialization must focus on raising the security posture of their organization. 

The pandemic forced organizations and individuals to reconsider the very nature of how we work. Suddenly remote work, telecommuting, work from home, became standard operations.

As the world scrambled to figure out how to go from office spaces to work from home setups, many security professionals in positions of leadership were left searching for answers. At the same time, cybercriminals around the world plotted to capitalize on the crisis. 

Many cybersecurity experts documented a spike in phishing attacks, Malspams and ransomware attacks during the highest of crisis. Unscrupulous cybercriminals used COVID-19 as bait to lure confused employees.

The lesson is clear, in 2021, security professionals regardless of their specialty, sector, or region must focus on cybersecurity. At the very minimum, we have to make sure that our organization’s cybersecurity awareness program is strong, relevant, and supported.

Lesson #3:  In 2020 Security Professionals learned the value of being resilient.

It is fair to say that the entire world was tested in 2020. Security professionals in the leisure and hospitality, wholesale and retail trade, education and health services were some of the most impacted by the pandemic.

Throughout the crisis, we saw many examples of security professionals performing at a high level regardless of the challenges. Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart.

Moving forward into 2021, security professionals will have to continue to focus on business continuity and cybersecurity. The only thing that we know for sure about this ongoing pandemic is that is that the challenges are far from over.

As security professionals, we have to continue to cultivate our resiliency both within our organizations and ourselves. Let’s have a safe and successful 2021!

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