Spokane Journal of Business

Cyberattack threats likely to increase in new year

Focus on digital security anticipated in tech sector

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Cyberattacks and data breaches likely will increase in 2022, warns Heather Stratford, CEO of Stronger International Inc.

“Cybersecurity remains one of the hottest and most important issues for any executive team to tackle in 2021, and 2022 will see another record year in cyberattacks,” she says.

She says both small and large organizations have started to recognize the capability of ransomware attacks to shut down a business completely, and next year’s focus for companies should be to create a culture of security.

Jeff “Doc” Larson, CEO of Quantum Star Technologies Inc., of Coeur d’Alene, concurs. He says the technology industry next year will continue to see increased investment in cybersecurity.

“Despite the global pandemic, 2020 was a record year for cybersecurity investments. In 2021, over $3.7 billion in cybersecurity investments have been recorded globally, which is on pace to smash the 2020 record.”

Larson says that large companies have realized that investing in smaller startup cybersecurity companies will help improve the overall strength of its existing cybersecurity measures.

Smaller companies likely will struggle with ransomware next year, asserts Larson.

He says that Fortune 100 company solutions to cybersecurity aren’t affordable for smaller businesses. He expects mom-and-pop shops will continue to be battered with ransomware attacks in the new year.

For larger companies, affordability isn’t the primary challenge, however, Larson says.

“They have so many people that one of them will make a mistake and click on a wrong link and it’ll be downloaded into their system,” he says.

Remote work increases the potential of a company getting hacked, and Larson predicts businesses will implement stronger security measures for remote working.

Larson says educating the workforce about malware, ransomware, and phishing scams will be a priority in 2022, because workers have become desensitized to cybersecurity education.

Both Larson and Stratford agree that moving infrastructure to the cloud will be another priority for companies in the next year.

Mike McBride, business and industry analyst at Spokane Workforce Council, says computer occupations in Spokane are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than the overall job market.

McBride says the number of people employed in computer occupations in Spokane has grown 1.6% from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021, even as the overall Spokane job market in that period declined 2.3%. As of Dec. 3, there were 6,562 people employed in computer occupations in Spokane, he adds.

Demand for computer-based jobs is expected to remain high. McBride notes 274 information technology job openings were posted in Spokane County between Nov. 4 and Dec. 3.

—Erica Bullock

Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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