Top 7 Network Security Trends Heading into 2024

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Some of the most significant industrywide pain points of 2023 will become the top network security trends in 2024. Enterprises that want to remain secure and protect their most valuable assets must understand the threats and emerging available solutions.

  • The first key takeaway revolves around proactive behavior. Security executives can only protect their enterprises if they actively address these issues as soon as possible. Early strategization and intervention are vital.
  • The second key takeaway involves technological investment. Since cybercriminals will take full advantage of breakthrough tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), IT professionals must also not hesitate to adopt them. 

Here are the most substantial network security trends enterprises will face as they head into 2024.

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1. Greater IoT vulnerabilities 

As the IoT grows substantially, experts project tens of billions of connected devices will come online in the near future. It has remained one of the top network security trends of 2023 and shows no signs of slowing down as we head into 2024.

Although the growth of connected devices may open up many doors for your organization, you should know the potential downsides. Over 5.85 million IoT attacks occurred in December 2021 — the number increased to 10.54 million by the same time the following year. Since these incidents nearly doubled in such a short span, the trend will likely continue into 2024.

IoT devices have infamous security weaknesses and create a much broader attack surface, which spells trouble for even the most secure enterprises. If you plan to adopt more in 2024, you must protect against larger botnets, new vulnerabilities and more distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

2. Ransomware attack damage keeps growing

The number of ransomware attacks has steadily increased in past years, making it a chief concern for many chief information officers. Cybercriminals adopted new intrusion, encryption, and theft techniques in 2023, and it remains one of the top network security trends heading into 2024.

Ransomware attacks happen once every two seconds on average, which experts estimate will cause $71.5 billion in global losses by 2026. If you don’t strategize accordingly, your organization will face noncompliance fines, data corruption, and costly downtime.

Even though ransomware has been around for ages, you shouldn’t underestimate it — technological advances like AI have made it easier for cybercriminals to launch this kind of cyberattack. As a result, promptly addressing this trend is vital for keeping your organization secure.

3. Prolonged skills shortage

IT teams have long dealt with an industrywide labor shortage. Unsurprisingly, it seems this trend will continue into 2024. One study revealed around 95% of cybersecurity professionals believe their industry’s skill scarcity has remained a pain point in past years.

The same study found that 44% of professionals feel confident that the lack of skill has only worsened. Frankly, they’re not wrong — as scarcity-driven issues drive IT professionals to different industries and older workers retire, the gap grows.

Since many IT teams have dealt with high workloads for years, you don’t have to imagine how it impacts cybersecurity. A lack of skilled workers leads to critical gaps and human error, resulting in more successful attacks. Heading into 2024, cybersecurity incidents caused by the labor shortage remain among the top network security trends.

4. Cybersecurity fatigue uptick

Notably, 2023 was an exceptional year for rapid technological advancement. Unfortunately, while every new development brought benefits, they also caused frustration. Growing security tech stacks containing tools like multifactor authentication (MFA) and zero trust access controls put more pressure on teams to evolve at an unsustainable pace.

Most IT professionals have seen how this fatigue has impacted their enterprise. In fact, 51% of cybersecurity decision-makers believe high alert volumes consistently overwhelm their teams. Since workers spend too much time unintentionally chasing false positives, they miss critical notifications and lose motivation.

When an IT team abandons crucial tools because they feel overburdened, their organization’s network security weakens substantially. However, workers often feel they have no other choice because they can’t learn and manage each new technology at the rate it advances.

Since the industrywide skill shortage remains one of the more pressing network security trends, it should come as no surprise that cybersecurity fatigue also stands out. Consistently overwhelming workloads and the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity should be one of your chief concerns as you head into the new year. A robust defensive strategy against these problems is crucial.

5. Widespread generative AI use

AI took the world by storm in 2023. Generative models stood out as one of the top trending technologies. Nearly 55% of organizations already utilize it to some extent because of its versatility and power. Further, 18.2% plan to invest more in it in 2024.

You’d be right to assume the widespread adoption of this technology is inevitable. After all, it offers automation and insights. Proper implementation will strengthen your network security and support your team as they deal with increasing volumes of cybersecurity incidents.

Positives aside, generative AI has also become a valuable tool for cybercriminals. It aids them in social engineering attacks, helping them tell convincing narratives and pose as real people. This trend was firm in 2023, so it stands to reason that 2024 will be no different.

As you head into 2024, a defense against these kinds of attacks and scams is paramount. Although AI makes an incredibly powerful ally, it also offers threat actors the same advantages. Navigating this trend is of the utmost importance if you want to maintain network security in the new year.

6. Remote work security gaps

Although the remote work trend primarily began years ago in response to COVID-19, it has shown no signs of slowing down. Many IT professionals discovered they could do their jobs just as effectively from the comfort of their own homes. Unfortunately, security protocols haven’t kept pace alongside them.

People who work from home have little oversight. As a result, they are often unintentionally lax with security protocols, raising the chance of a cyberattack. Around 95% of cybersecurity incidents are caused by human error. Even if you have faith in your team, something as small as an unsecured smart device could become an entry point for cybercriminals.

Since remote work has embedded itself as an industry staple, it must be one of the top network security trends leaders face in the months ahead. They must strategize to adequately address potential gaps.

7. Third-party attacks

Third-party attacks are one of the most pressing network security trends — even if (or because) many organizations are oblivious to the danger. One study discovered nearly 50% of organizations experienced a cybersecurity incident in 2022 because of their vendors.

Moreover, the same study found that 48% of organizations are unaware of their vendors’ levels of network access. Because they work with many third parties simultaneously, their overly complex relationships become difficult to navigate and regulate.

Whether IT professionals use vendors for cloud computing or data analytics, they operate on trust. Unfortunately, one of the latest industry trends revolves around a lack of third-party compliance. Poor oversight leads to critical security gaps, substantially raising the chance of network intrusions and cyberattacks.

Bottom line: Stay ahead of network security trends — or fall behind

The above network security trends will substantially impact IT departments across nearly all industries heading into 2024. Fortunately, your awareness of them gives your enterprise a crucial advantage. Identifying their role in your team and strategizing accordingly will help you stay one step ahead of threat actors.

Get more information on some of the top network security trends of 2024:

Devin Partida
Devin Partida
Devin Partida is a contributing writer for Enterprise Networking Planet who writes about business technology, cybersecurity, and innovation. Her work has been featured on Yahoo! Finance, Entrepreneur, Startups Magazine, and many other industry publications. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.

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