The more organizations can invest in their defense platforms and employees, the better equipped they are at handling potential threats. It’s straightforward logic, but an important rule of thumb that more organizations are adhering to in 2021.

According to PwC, more than half (55%) of technology and security executives plan to increase security budgets in 2021. In the wake of numerous high-profile breaches and rapid digital transformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations across industries are looking to increase investments in security measures to shore up defenses against similar attacks.

Organizations are Preparing for a Permanently Distributed Workforce

Gartner now projects worldwide IT spending to reach nearly $4 trillion this year, increasing 6.2%. With digital operations ballooning and work from home becoming more widely accepted, security teams are beginning to invest more in digital operations to adequately prepare.

It’s also evident that remote work and hybrid offices will remain in effect throughout the course of the year. A survey from Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) revealed that IT decision-makers expect permanent remote work to double in 2021. As companies lean on digital services, SaaS, and cloud computing to handle day-to-day workflow, they’ll need to put a stronger emphasis on eliminating inevitable network vulnerabilities.

Recent Attacks are Inspiring Change and Action

The SolarWinds attack marked the first major red flag at the end of 2020 that has created a snowball effect leading into the most recent Microsoft Exchange hack, making enterprises acutely aware that security vulnerabilities need to be hastily addressed. As a result, the federal government and new presidential administration are planning new legislation to address and mitigate future attacks.

The latest stimulus bill also included nearly $2 billion to secure and improve government technology, the first package to date incorporating cybersecurity aid to better defend federal systems from cyberattacks. Further, 20% of global security professionals and executives plan on increasing security budgets as a result of the SolarWinds attack, with 96% finding the hack concerning.

The sudden barrage in cybercrime has put the entire industry under a microscope as major organizations face financial losses and scramble to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. CIOs and security leaders need to firmly emphasize that security and digital expansion maintain side-by-side growth, because as we have seen over the past year, systems that are constructed without defense as a top priority are low-hanging fruit for an influx of cybercriminals.

Growing Cloud Adoption Will Drive Increased Security Investments

In June 2020, security spending was estimated to reach $123.8B by the end of the year, with cloud security expected to grow a whopping 33.3%. With organizations quickly pivoting as a result of the pandemic, these recent changes will largely remain in place as companies continue working from home and transition away from on-premises environments.

As cloud adoption is one of the fastest growing areas in IT, supporting infrastructures with proper defenses will go hand-in-hand with future migrations and expansions as it becomes more widely adopted. To accommodate the new and advancing cloud environments, organizations will need to invest in their people, platforms, and defense strategies such as Zero Trust to properly secure systems against a growing number of adversarial actors.

With the cloud also poised to become the predominant operating infrastructure, organizations will need to dedicate time, resources, and training to properly ensure that new environments are safely designed and routinely monitored. Combined, these trends point to one clear rationalization: that key organizational decision-makers must prioritize and invest in cyber defense amid an increasingly vulnerable digital ecosystem.

James Carder, LogRhythm CSO