Every year in the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity, companies distinguish themselves through development of new techniques and products, refinement of existing services, and work at the forefront of emerging threats. In 2021, these companies are continuing to contend with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, developing important solutions and making crucial predictions for security issues across the healthcare industry, distributed professional teams, and the ever-burgeoning internet of things.
The five companies we profile here are advancing the field of cybersecurity this year through their innovation and vision. Read on to discover some of the forward-thinking organizations you could go on to work for with a master’s degree in cybersecurity.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) have been around for some time, but with the sudden and drastic move to distributed workforces across the business landscape in 2020, they’ve suddenly become indispensable. Businesses worldwide have been forced to think much harder about ensuring the security of their data in locations outside the office, and cybersecurity experts predict a rise in attacks on home computers and unpatched systems with architectural weaknesses uncommon in the corporate world to continue into 2021.1
ExpressVPN is highly rated by tech industry press and cybersecurity professionals for its speed, user-friendliness, and commitment to ensuring customer privacy by not maintaining logs of users’ online activity. While many VPNs may claim to maintain a zero-log policy while never actually being asked to prove that it is true, ExpressVPN’s policy was actually confirmed in practice during a high-profile investigation into a 2016 political assassination in which an ExpressVPN server was investigated for evidence. And further cementing its status as part of the 2021 zeitgeist, ExpressVPN accepts Bitcoin for payment, a relative rarity among commercial-grade VPNs and a welcome commitment to privacy even at the level of their business transactions.2
Another type of software that has risen in prominence since 2020’s paradigm shift in which computers used for work are typically located within users’ homes than in a centralized office setting is cloud antivirus software. Antivirus software by nature requires constant updates to account for new threats, fix newly discovered vulnerabilities and ensure all its users can remain confident that there are no gaps in their protection. Because maintaining software of this nature remotely across a network of computers is a headache for any organization, a single-endpoint, cloud-based solution is extremely desirable.
One producer of well-regarded cloud-based antivirus software is Sophos, a British company that has been a mainstay in the cybersecurity world since the 1990s. Their single-endpoint system can protect an organization’s entire array of devices from one management console that is either installed on the company’s server or on the cloud. They also utilize cutting-edge machine learning algorithms for threat detection and mitigation, automating previously arduous and error-prone processes and simplifying their management for a distributed workforce.3
Amazon may not be the first organization that comes to mind when you think about cybersecurity companies, but their prominence across practically every sector of contemporary tech and commerce means they have a major role to play in this discussion. In particular, their prominence as a developer and seller of the connected digital home devices that comprise the internet of things (IoT) puts them at the forefront of the shifting threat landscape and makes them a key player in ensuring data security for their millions of customers.
To this end, they have recently revamped the privacy features of their ubiquitous Alexa digital assistant device. They’ve given users more control over their recorded data, including the options to review and delete any audio recordings that their Alexa has created and to toggle off recordings altogether.4 By putting greater control over privacy features in their users’ hands, Amazon hopes to improve consumer confidence in their commitment to data privacy and to allowing the people who use their connected devices to minimize their own potential vulnerabilities.
FireEye and their subsidiary company Mandiant, which they acquired in 2014, have long been among the most prominent cybersecurity companies in the world. Notable not only for their security products and services, FireEye position themselves as thought leaders in the field. Their annual report on emerging security issues guides strategy industry-wide and helps all companies who are willing to invest the time and resources in proper threat detection and mitigation position themselves for success.
Their 2021 guide focuses on security issues specific to the post-COVID digital landscape. Notably, they predict an increase of cyber attacks on companies in the biohealth and healthcare spaces, including state-sponsored attacks on well-known makers of the COVID-19 vaccine.5 Their report continues to be a vital prism through which to view the security environment and to understand the impact that global current events have on cybersecurity and vice versa.
The evolution of cryptocurrency and its growth in prominence in the global financial landscape show no signs of abating. But as digital currencies continue to proliferate, even ones built on as supposedly secure of a technological basis as blockchain, new threats are likely to emerge surrounding them as bad actors gain greater familiarity with their mechanisms. Consequently, companies working to assess and mitigate threats in the cryptocurrency space will become increasingly important in the cybersecurity marketplace.
One such cryptocurrency cybersecurity and intelligence firm is CipherTrace, who tracks cyberattacks and losses resulting from cryptocurrency theft as well as incidents in the adjacent decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. Their research indicates that cryptocurrency theft losses declined slightly throughout 2020, but decentralized finance attacks rose rapidly, making up more than 50% of all thefts and hacks worldwide.6 With insights like this, CipherTrace will continue to be a valuable watchdog for a crucial financial space well into 2021.
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- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/the-top-21-security-predictions-for-2021.html
- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from cnet.com/news/best-vpn/
- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from techradar.com/best/best-cloud-antivirus
- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from futurumresearch.com/research-notes/amazon-devices-launch-leans-into-sustainability-innovation-and-privacy/
- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from content.fireeye.com/predictions/rpt-security-predictions-2021
- Retrieved on February 4, 2021 from cryptonews.com/exclusives/crypto-security-in-2021-more-threats-against-defi-and-indivi-8380.htm