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The forecast for 2023: cybersecurity storms with a high chance of cloud

2022 has been a crazy year – perhaps not as shocking and unpredictable as the two years that came before it, but certainly a transformative one. As we end the year heading into recession, with energy costs at an all-time high and continuing to rise, many business leaders will be feeling pessimistic about the year ahead. So, how should businesses prepare for 2023?

Some of the leading experts at Commvault, global enterprise leader in cloud data management, share their predictions of what 2023 may have in store and how organisations can hold strong no matter what the next 12 months throw their way.

2022: a year of recovery

Steve Young, UKI Sales Engineering Director

Since COVID threw everyone into a spin almost three years ago, the past 12 months have been a recovery period for many. As Steve Young, UKI Sales Engineering Director, recognises, “when COVID hit, all businesses saw cloud as their saviour and, therefore, accelerated their migration to accommodate the remote working that was essential during lockdown. Yet, in 2022, as we returned to a ‘new normal’, businesses started to evaluate what was sustainable in the long-term. Especially with the rising costs that we have seen throughout the year, many business leaders are moving out of the cloud to save money. Bringing some data back to on-premises servers, or simply having a clear out and deleting unneeded data, are both recommended actions for deciding a long-term solution in the post-pandemic world, whilst also reducing costs. We have seen a massive rationalisation of the cloud this year and I expect that will continue into 2023.”

Brian Brockway, Global Chief Technology Officer

Brian Brockway, Global Chief Technology Officer, adds to this point, explaining how the COVID recovery has made business leaders more aware than ever of the importance of being able to adapt quickly. “Agility is no longer a strategy but a reality,” he says. “We are now living in a much more agile world where change happens in 30-day sprints and IT needs to keep pace. Yet, with the technology industry struggling with the skills gap, a lack of people and expertise makes it even more difficult to keep nimble.”

Stuart Abbott, Area Vice President & General Manager of UK & Ireland

In order to plug the skills gap and get the most out of your employees, Stuart Abbott, Area Vice President & General Manager of UK & Ireland, encourages business leaders to “measure staff based on output rather than hours in an office. This will create a workforce that is more engaged, more productive, and has better work-life balance. Hybrid working is not going away anytime soon and those who mandate a permanent return to the office are at risk of losing their workers and widening their existing skills gap.”

2023: what lies ahead?

A key trend that we have seen throughout 2022 is the continued rise of ransomware. With global damages from such attacks set to exceed $30 billion in 2023, cybersecurity will certainly be a priority as we start a new year.

“Ransomware and other cyber threats are some of the most dangerous risks for businesses and individuals alike,” Brockway warns. “In 2022, we have seen ransomware become a boardroom issue, but the threat level has heightened so that it is no longer even an issue that is contained internally within businesses. Due to the fast nature of cyberattacks and the catastrophic damage they can cause, businesses have to be very public with reporting when they fall victim to such attacks. There is a lot more focus now on what cyberattacks mean for the outside community and this will only grow in 2023.”

“The sophistication of cybercriminals is a key part of the speed in which ransomware is being deployed and they will only become more intelligent and cunning,” adds Young. “They are now offering Ransomware-as-a-Service, whereby they will deploy ransomware on the behalf of others for a fee. It is a business for these people. They make money from it, so they take it very seriously.”

As the threat of ransomware and other cyber threats continue to rise, businesses must be prioritising cybersecurity.

“Due to the sheer amount of threats facing businesses, there is beginning to be an understanding that not everything can be stopped,” notes Brockway. “Organisations should turn their focus to resilience. It is almost inevitable now that businesses will be attacked at some point, but what really counts is how quickly you can recover from it. Regular backups should be taking place so that, even if the worst does happen, downtime is kept to a minimum and normal business operations can be restored as quickly as possible with little lasting damage.”

Whilst backup and recovery will remain essential throughout 2023 and beyond, Abbott explains how new technologies like cyber deception can help protect organisations: “Cyber deception puts organisations one step ahead of the attacker and is set to be a game-changer for the cybersecurity market. The technology deploys decoys to throw the attacker off course and lure them to fake assets. This reduces the likelihood that the cybercriminal will find the real asset as it is hidden amongst a crowd and cannot be differentiated from the fakes. Once the attacker touches a fake asset, the organisation will be alerted, allowing action to be taken to protect the real systems before the bad actors can get to them.”

Yet, no matter how many different cybersecurity solutions an organisation has to protect itself, it is essential that they can all be managed easily and effectively.

As Brockway acknowledges, “Currently, the security space is very convoluted. There are so many tools out there and lots of businesses have multiple solutions to make sure that they are fully protected. However, the industry is starting to consolidate as it is important to avoid having a disparate environment. All of the components need to work together in order to operate at maximum efficiency and stand the best chance of being protected. Consolidating them into one platform will be essential to ensure that you are getting the best out of your solutions and having a single pane of glass is key to managing them. Especially as costs continue to rise, organisations must ensure that they are spending every penny wisely and getting optimal output from every purchase.”

Looking ahead to 2023, Young concludes that, “ultimately, we will see a continuation of much of what we have seen so far this year. Ransomware will continue to rise and businesses will have to continue adapting to whatever cybercriminals come up with next. Every organisation will be hit with growing costs and will be looking for ways to cut back – some may bring things back from the cloud as those prices skyrocket, others will purge old and redundant data to save on storage costs. One thing that is for certain is that organisations will be more open to change and adapt. Even those who have previously been reluctant to adopt new technologies will have to embrace them in order to survive the tough few months ahead and whatever else 2023 throws our way.”