Top Business Security Threats for 2020

It’s the dawn of a new decade — but too many businesses are relying on digital security strategies from the 1990s. Advanced technology comes at a cost, and that cost for every business, from small to mega, is ensuring that each and every digital device is well-guarded against current and emerging threats. If you aren’t sure how your security strategy should change in the new year — or the new decade, for that matter — read on to learn security experts’ insights about top threats in 2020 and beyond.

An International Technology Race

A few decades ago, having computers and a digital business network was a small boost to efficiency — but these days, if your business lacks cutting-edge tools or techniques, you will fall behind your competition and potentially fold. While your business will continue to be in danger of phishing attacks, malware and other relatively ongoing security risks, in 2020, the biggest threat by far is lagging in the ever-escalating technology race. 

Experts believe that a fourth industrial revolution is just beginning — one that will see us become even more driven by and dependent on technology. On one hand, this will enable businesses to become innovative and agile; on the other hand, it means that any individual or organization who cannot or will not adapt to advanced tech will be left behind in the dust. 

This is equally true for nations as it is for businesses, and all sorts of international relationships will likely suffer during this transition into the Digital Age. Already, we are beginning to see states retreat into a protectionist stance — with U.K. separating from the E.U. and the Trump Administration touting an “America First” policy. Likely, nations will compete for better strategies and tools to use in cyberespionage and cyberwarfare, which will in turn affect global trade. 

Unfortunately, the strategies and tools used in cyberespionage and cyberwarfare are exactly the threats that organizations should fear. Not only can these techniques be used against foreign nations; they can be launched by foreign nations against American industries, crippling the economy and crashing businesses. Worse, it is likely that the protectionist policies we are beginning to see will result in more intense trade wars, which will also impact how American businesses perform.

Though not a cyberthreat, per se, the just-beginning international technology race is a threat your business, especially if you aren’t engaged with developments that could affect your industry or your markets. You should remain adaptable to new technologies and agile to economic shifts to keep your business afloat in the coming decade.

Organized Cybercrime

To launch cyberespionage and cyberwarfare, nations are organizing hacking groups capable of developing advanced technologies and techniques. Unfortunately, not every state-sponsored hacking group is lawful good; most of them are true neutral at best, and some are downright evil, intent on sowing as much digital discord as possible. Take Russia’s group Fancy Bear, for example: They specialize in spearphishing, a technique designed to infect specific, high-impact targets with malware or else pilfer specific information from sensitive groups, and they are linked to attacks on the Democratic National Committee as well as attacks on German Parliament. State-sponsored hacking is causing all sorts of collateral damage, and non-state-sponsored hacking groups are becoming inspired by those malevolent works. 

In the past, bad actors were imagined as lone losers developing malware in their parents’ basements, but that is simply not the case in 2020. These days, most hacking is done by organized groups who function not unlike a digital Mafia or cyber-Yakuza. By combining forces, hackers can cause even more devastation on their targets, creating some of the most sophisticated attacks ever seen. Already, some terrorist organizations are functioning online, succeeding at wreaking havoc and sowing discord on a grand scale.


On one hand, there is little that you can do to thwart these threats — they are largescale and inevitable outcomes of the development of technology around the world. Advancing technology is a double-edged sword, and there is no putting that sword back into its sheath. 

On the other hand, you can take steps to arm your business with some defenses that make you a less attractive target to cybercriminals big and small. Even basic security measures, like endpoint security, protects you from malware and phishing attempts. Then, deploying more advanced security solutions across your network could save you from a more advanced threat, like an organized attack against your business. You might consider acquiring Trend Micro’s Tipping Point, an advanced intrusion detection system that will alert you when someone has broken into your network. By utilizing intrusion detection services, you can respond quickly and appropriately to threats, helping your business survive a cyberattack from any source. 

Gone are the days when digital threats were simple and cyber security was equally easy to comprehend. As digital technology advances, so do the threats that businesses face. The sooner you comprehend how radically technology is changing the world, the faster you can build a safer, more stable business that will survive this decade and beyond.

Ryan Kh

Ryan Kahn, known as a career coach and television personality. Ryan Kahn is founder of The Hired Group, author of Hired!