Data protection has long been a concern for businesses of all sizes — and it seems that in many ways, we are getting better at it. According to one recent report, the overall number of data breaches has declined in recent years, indicating that most businesses are getting a handle on the biggest threats to their security and finding ways to keep their data secure.


However, despite the good news, that doesn’t mean businesses can sit back and rest easy, assuming that their data remains protected. In fact, the opposite is true. While existing threats are better understood, many businesses aren’t aware of or protecting against emerging threats, which are proving to be more costly and damaging than anything we’ve seen before. In fact, the average cost of a data breach is already hovering near $1 million, and unless businesses get a handle on the emerging threats, it’s possible that cost could rise.

So what are the emerging threats? Several trends are taking shape that, if not understood and addressed, could prove devastating to your business. These may be only a few of the trends on the threat landscape right now, but they are proving to be the most concerning and the most potentially widespread and destructive to your business.

1. Backups Under Attack

Backups have long been a cornerstone of a solid security and disaster plan. However, there are several trends emerging within the realm of backups that are concerning to security experts.

  • Backups are under attack.Not only is it important to protect primary data, but it’s also important to secure backups, as hackers are targeting backups in order to use data to extort money, expose trade secrets, and worse.
  • Security isn’t keeping up with storage speed. Many organizations have actually fallen behind on their backups due to the fact that their current security solutions cannot keep up with the speed of their flash and SSD storage. Encrypting and decrypting data can slow down transfers, leading to partial, or worse, nonexistent, backups.

Without adequate backups, recovery after a disaster becomes difficult or impossible. Updating backup systems, working with an advanced data centers, and employing data protection solutions to backups is just as important as protecting primary data.

2. Increasingly Sophisticated Malware

Malware and viruses have been an issue in enterprise security for decades. However, malware is becoming increasingly sophisticated, to the point where traditional antivirus solutions are no longer adequate. Drive-by browser attacks, “hacking as a service,” state-sponsored malware and hacking attacks, ransomware, social engineering, and new forms of malware that are better at evading detection are just some of the issues that are affecting businesses. When combined with the ever-growing complexity of managing security plug-ins and updates, it’s no wonder that malware continues to be a concern.

The growing sophistication and risk for malware means that businesses are now charged with developing a more integrated and advanced threat detection and prevention architecture, or else they risk falling victim to dangerous applications.

3. Cloud Security

Currently, the vast majority — more than 80 percent — of businesses rely on, or will begin using within the next two years, the public cloud to at least some extent for vital business applications, including email. While the cloud offers many advantages, it can also present a security risk, especially when the data in the cloud goes unprotected. And unfortunately, for many businesses, that’s exactly what is happening. Most businesses using public cloud applications are not protecting against corruption or inadvertent deletion, leaving themselves vulnerable in the event of a security breach or other failure.

The issue stems from the fact that most businesses rely upon SaaS providers to handle security for them. Adequate security protections are often a selling point for SaaS providers, but businesses need to bear some of the responsibility for securing their data as well. Without additional security protections, businesses are vulnerable to hacking and other disasters.

Understanding these emerging threats is a key part of developing a comprehensive and effective security strategy. It’s not enough to get a handle on existing threats only, but you must also understand the new and potential threats. Otherwise, you risk being caught unaware and facing significant consequences — consequences that could possibly spell doom for your business.