Let’s Talk About The Top Security and Risk Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Abhilash Khalkar
5 min readSep 13, 2021
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Remote working, security-savvy board of directors, and cybersecurity mesh are just a few of the security and risk trends for 2021, many of which are driven by recent events of security breaches and COVID-19. With regulatory compliance and cybersecurity becoming the top two main concerns across organizations, leaders are considering adding cybersecurity professionals particularly to identify and investigate security and risk issues.

The previous year and its tumultuous events have turned all organizations inside out. As the new normal continues to set and take shape, companies across industries will require to formulate an always-connected defensive posture. Organizations will also need to get clarity on the business risks that remote users might be exposed to, to remain secure.

The security and risk trends listed herewith highlight the strategic realignment in the cybersecurity space that aren’t being widely recognized as of yet. However, these trends are expected to have a profound impact on organizations and at the same, a potential for digital disruption.

Trend № 1: Cybersecurity mesh

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The cybersecurity mesh is a novel conceptual approach that can enable distributed organizations to deploy and extend security capabilities where they are needed the most.

While accelerating digital businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the trend wherein an increasing number of individuals and digital assets are being located outside the traditional infrastructure. Moreover, the cybersecurity teams in organizations are constantly being asked to secure numerous new technologies. The advent of such events requires a flexible, composable, scalable, and agile security option — one which will enable an enterprise to move securely into the future.

Trend № 2: Cyber-savvy boards

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The COVID-19 has caused a significant uptick in security breaches and complex security setups. This has caused boards across organizations to pay more heed to cybersecurity. It is important to prioritize the state of security and formulate dedicated committees that can focus on cybersecurity matters. Such committees can often be led by a board member with significant experience in the security field, such as a former CISO.

This also suggests that CISOs in organizations can expect to face increased scrutiny and heightened expectations, along with an increase in resources and support. CISOs will also need to improve their communication and at the same time expect tougher questions from their leadership.

Trend № 3: Vendor consolidation

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The reality of the cybersecurity world today is that leadership in security has too many tools. Alongside tools, companies also have multiple security vendors. Such a scenario can increase the complexity of security operations and an increased security headcount.

Many companies identify vendor consolidation as a pathway to reduce costs and bring about better security. Large security vendors are responding well to this shift in the mindset of companies, and are offering better-integrated products. That being said, consolidation for organizations is difficult can take up to years to roll out. Lower cost is the driver of this trend, however, reduced risks via streamlined approaches are often more achievable.

Trend № 4: Identity-first security

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused remote working and technical and cultural shifts, to become a norm across the world. The pandemic brought in a perfect storm of events that made identity as the new perimeter, a trend. Identity-first security has remained a gold standard for quite a while now, however, it wasn’t a focus because many organizations were still stuck in their traditional ways.

Now that the pandemic has caused companies to operate fully or mostly remote, this identity-first security trend has become crucial to address. The cultural and technical shifts caused by the pandemic will also ensure that this “identity-first security” now represents how all information workers will operate, regardless of whether they are office-bound or remote.

Trend № 5: Managing machine identities as a critical security capability

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With the progression of digital transformation, organizations are witnessed an increased number of non-human entities, which suggests that managing the identities of machines has now become a crucial piece of the security strategy. Machine identities include workloads (i.e., services, applications, containers) and devices (IoT/OT devices, desktop computers, mobile devices).

As the number of devices, we work with grows and continues to grow -formulating an enterprise-wide strategy to manage secrets, certificates, and machine identities will ensure a secure pathway for an organization towards digital transformation.

Trend № 6: Remote working is now just work


Remote working which was once available only to senior staff and executives; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now available to all, with plans to shift employees to permanent remote working. From the cybersecurity standpoint, this will require a complete reboot of tools and policies, and better monitoring of machines, to mitigate risks efficiently.

Trend № 7: Breach and attack simulation

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A new market has begun to take shape to assist companies to verify and validate their cybersecurity posture. Breach and attack simulation (BAS) provides organizations with the capability to constantly test and validate the security controls of their architecture against external threats. It also offers companies enhanced assessments that highlight the potential risk to their confidential data. Besides offering these benefits, BAS also provides companies with training to empower their security teams.

Tools such as the BAS will assist organizations in identifying issues when it comes to detection capability, configuration issues, and security controls. This functionality to run deep assessments continuously and across an array of attack techniques, enables companies to tackle threats in real-time.

Trend № 8: Privacy-enhancing computation techniques

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Privacy-enhancing computation (PEC) techniques help protect data while it is being worked on or used, as against while it is at rest. PEC technique thus assists in enabling secure sharing, processing, transfers, and analytics, even in unchartered territories.

The transformed security landscape of today has caused this technique to quickly move from academic research to delivering real value in projects, thus enabling new forms of sharing and computation with an alleviated risk of data breaches.



Abhilash Khalkar

Abhilash, a serendipitous writer, aims to create an impact in this world with his writing. He enjoys espressos, as should all right-thinking people.