Email Security Intelligence - How a Recession Will Change the Cybersecurity Landscape

As more analysts anticipate a recession in 2023, CISOs and security leaders are pressured to do more with less. Unfortunately, a recession is likely to incentivize cybercriminals to create new email threats and other threat types, as seen during the 2008-09 Recession when the FBI reported an increase of 22.3% in online crime reports during those two years.

Further research found that cybercriminal activity rose 40% in the two years following the peak during the recession in 2009. This article will discuss cybersecurity's potential impact and importance during a downturn.

How Could the Threat Landscape Change Due to a Recession?

Regardless of the economic situation, businesses must protect themselves from disaster by prioritizing their cybersecurity to be safe during a recession. Here are some ways a recession can impact cyber and email security threats:

Cybercrime Increases

Over the last few years, the threat landscape has increased significantly. IBM reports shcybersecurity recessionow that production increased from 6,368 monthly malware pieces in 2005 to more than 17 million in 2022. CEOs are increasingly reassessing their spending and putting strategic plans on hold. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, surveys found that 87% of respondents marked cybersecurity as an essential concern over 3-5 years, 53% saw an increase in threats, and 80% of companies expected to increase or maintain their tech spending for 2023.

Another survey found that only 9% of respondents don't believe the war in Ukraine will impact their organization, compared to 90% worried about associated cyberattacks. Digital transformation continues to be a top priority for 58% of respondents. Companies may continue improving their cyber defenses due to the increased email security risks of post-pandemic remote culture and new SEC rules on cybersecurity disclosure.

The Expert Shortage Will Increase

Many analysts are concerned that the talent shortage will worsen as economic uncertainty might lead to organizations pausing hiring or cutting existing employees. Organizations that cut costs and decide to refrain from taking on new email security hires will inevitably exacerbate their cyber skills gap, meaning email security leaders will rely on monitoring and analytics-based solutions.

Experts have said that the first impact of a recession is that new hiring gets postponed. Still, the productivity of operations staff can be increased by frequent email security monitoring and analytics tools, many of which are open-source and don't require acquisition spending. However, these solutions "require analyst skills," so organizations must invest in staff with the expertise to configure and use these cybersecurity tools to their full potential. 

CISOs Will Have to Maximize Value 

As organizations adjust to the financial instability accompanying the recession, CISOs will be pressured to optimize cost efficiency. This will involve eliminating expensive cyber security tools while finding ways to get more use out of existing solutions.   

Experts say in 2023, there will be more pressure on CISOs and email security leaders to maximize the value of their existing security stacks. CISOs will need to adapt as opposed to adding more solutions. Businesses that fail to adhere to this will become an easier target for cybercriminals.

The Critical Importance of Cybersecurity

Companies should bolster their cybersecurity posture to prepare for a potential recession. Preparing means adopting essential IT security safeguards like firewalls, anti-spam services, anti-virus software, intrusion detection systems, and cloud email security software solutions, but also the following implementations that will promote growth in your cyber security:

Focus on Strong Defense

Defense is a critical aspect of cybersecurity during a recession. An economic downturn requires a security strategy equipped to fend off threat actors. It's also essential for executives to identify and mitigate potential insider and email threats, which are becoming more frequent and intense. Focus on a solid defense to get through the challenging times of a recession.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security process that verifies your identity by requiring you to provide two or more pieces of your identity to access your account. For example, the system might need something you know, such as a password, and something you have, such as a unique code sent to a mobile device. This tool provides an additional layer of security, making it harder for attackers to hack your devices and accounts.

Limit Access to Sensitive Data

Another measure that can bolster your cybersecurity is limiting access to sensitive data. Make sure that only employees who have to work with specific data have access to it rather than every employee in the business. All of your employees only need access to some of your data. Limiting access to specific data means fewer entry chances for cyber threats.

Implement AI-Based Solutionsartificial intelligence

Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to detect and intercept high-risk actions and unusual behavior throughout the environment. This is essential for identifying malicious entities before they can access critical data assets. AI and ML solutions have made strides in prevention capabilities and provide email security teams the ability to prevent novel threats that haven't been previously seen. However, organizations must keep their expectations reasonable when using AI to help identify more attacks, reduce false positive alerts, and streamline an organization's detection and response functions.

Invest in Cyber and Email Security Awareness Training

Cyber and email security awareness training is one of the first steps a company can take. Many of these attacks can be avoided if employees know the risks and learn to identify them. Since email security is critical due to more frequent phishing email attacks, ransomware, and malware, employees need to learn how to spot these email threats before opening the emails.

Implement Multi-Layered Email Security Protection

Fully-managed vCISO email security services that leverage advanced technology to analyze behavior, URLs, and files help prevent cyberattacks from exploiting vulnerabilities. The critical additional layers of email protection that reputable third-party email security services provide bridge the gaps in static, single-layered defenses such as those built into Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. 

Keep Learning About Strengthening Your Cybersecurity Defenses

The financial outlook for 2023 may appear bleak; however, the cybersecurity industry has traditionally been resilient during periods of economic uncertainty. Implementing proper protocols and a robust email security software solution is the best way to prevent a cyberattack.

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