The year 2024 is just around the corner, as are the new cybersecurity phenomena and challenges it brings. Our cybersecurity experts have listed rising themes to consider when thinking about maintaining your company’s cybersecurity environment in 2024. For this article, we interviewed Netox’s Cloud Security Lead, Sami Lamppu, and Cybersecurity Development Lead, Perttu Salmenjoki.

Small and medium-sized organizations targeted by attackers

According to Salmenjoki, cyberattacks have recently targeted increasingly smaller organizations. There are many SMEs, and their level of protection varies, making them attractive targets from cybercriminals’ perspective. Therefore, it’s sensible for smaller operators to prepare before it’s too late. A competent cybersecurity partner supports when a company’s personnel resources are tied to more critical business tasks.

By preparing in time, a significant portion of attacks can be stopped at their inception, once the most apparent gaps in the IT environment are sealed. Lamppu and Salmenjoki remind us that perfection is never achieved, as both attack and defense technologies and the environments in which they are needed are constantly changing.

“Fortunately, the easiest deficiencies to fix can be dealt with quickly. In cybersecurity, one should not aim for perfection but focus on systematically developing the most critical areas,” encourages Salmenjoki.

AI increases the number and quality of cyber threats

Artificial Intelligence, which became a hot topic in 2023, also impacts cybersecurity. According to Salmenjoki, cybercriminals will increasingly utilize AI and automation of various processes. This leads to, according to experts, not only more attacks but also, for example, better targeted and thus more convincing phishing attempts.

Sami Lamppu, Lead Architect, cloud security

“The number of attacks is clearly going to increase further next year,” says Lamppu. “Therefore, now, if ever, it is worth investing in continuous maintenance of cybersecurity with the help of a competent partner.”

Economic thinking in cybersecurity – how to get the most out of It?

Effectively combating cyber threats requires not only expertise and time but also financial investment. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that all features of the tools in use are utilized and the services are configured correctly – this way, an organization can get the best possible benefit from its investment. Lamppu has witnessed situations where an organization doesn’t even know that not all features of the tools are being used. In such cases, a company may end up in an unpleasant situation where it believes its environment is protected, but in reality, it is not.

“In such situations, the service provider plays an important role. When the partner is someone who actively develops their own processes, the client also benefits,” contemplates Salmenjoki. “The greatest benefit, of course, is obtained if a competent partner takes care of both the company’s cybersecurity monitoring and the continuous development of the environment.”

Perttu Salmenjoki, Cybersecurity Development Lead

What if the budget was, for example, to recruit your own cybersecurity person? Experts remind us that in many large companies, there is rarely enough meaningful and expertise-developing cybersecurity work for a professional experienced in a certain area. On the other hand, organizational cybersecurity requires a variety of skills, which are rarely found in one employee.

Additionally, it should be noted that most attacks occur at night, and few companies have the ability to monitor systems 24/7 on their own. These factors should be kept in mind and consider what services could be acquired for an amount equivalent to recruitment and salary costs.

Do you protect yourself in time or repair costly aftermath?

Unfortunately, there are times when an organization has not managed to protect itself in time from cybersecurity threats. In such cases, the damage has already occurred, and the attacker has been able to wreak havoc in the system. Lamppu recalls a case where a customer had already been offered cybersecurity work, and while waiting for the decision, the customer’s environment had already been breached. Investigating the damages took several days, brought unexpected costs, and of course also took the customer’s own work time and resources.

“Of course, such a topic must also be communicated to stakeholders, resulting in reputational damage,” Lamppu reminds us. The price tag of reputational damage is hard to determine, but in the worst case, the entire operation of a company is at stake in a cyberattack.

What to focus on in 2024?

All in all, the year 2024 will certainly bring many new things in the field of cybersecurity. The NIS2 directive comes into force in October 2024 with the aim of raising the level of cybersecurity across the EU, while cybercriminals also develop their technologies and become more aggressive. Only by specializing can one keep up in the race – now is the time for SMEs to invest in a professional cybersecurity partner and free up their own resources for more business-specific tasks.

We at Netox also believe in the power of specialization! We are a top expert in Microsoft Security technologies and a comprehensive cybersecurity service partner. Feel free to contact us, and let’s arrange a brief, non-committal cybersecurity assessment meeting.