By David J. Blumberg and Tomer Y. Avni

Over the past five months, the COVID-19 economic lockdowns have caused personal loss, social isolation and economic hardship on a massive scale around the world. Yet, the digital domain offers an alternative; it remains intact, resilient and ready for action at scale.

In April, Blumberg Capital conducted in-depth conversations about the emerging digital domain with CEOs from portfolio companies, entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, policy experts and government leaders across the nation and around the world. Through these discussions and since then, we have observed that one of the biggest challenges stemming from the lockdowns is in the realm of cybersecurity and the digital perimeter.

The Digital Perimeter is Ubiquitous 

The lockdowns have led to widespread adoption of work from home and digital work has been expanded and deployed at unparalleled scale. This new phenomenon has catalyzed and accelerated some key trends, including startups disrupting legacy verticals and incumbents, virtualizing processes and business interactions and the incorporation of predictive analytics, system observability, performance management, policies enforcement and optimizations solutions.

Corporate adoption of policies, procedures and new technologies such as BYOD, SaaS, cloud infrastructure, IoT and remote work coupled with record levels of partnering between enterprises, has effectively dissolved the concept of a traditional perimeter.  This unprecedented recent period has redefined the enterprise digital perimeter, requiring new IT and cybersecurity approaches and solutions. These approaches and solutions must shift from a physical-first design to a digital-first design, centered around identity and behavior, and empowering legacy verticals and companies in rapid digital transformation.

Going forward, enterprises of all sizes will need to defend a diffused security perimeter and a far less controllable set of resources. It has become unmanageable for CIO/CISO’s of large enterprises to manage cyber policies in employee homes. This will likely cause increased adoption of cybersecurity solutions for homes. Companies including Cisco, McAfee and SAM offer solutions and are already in high demand from SMBs and large enterprise customers alike. In addition, companies that offer DevSecOps solutions, such as Checkmarx, Datree and JFrog will help CIOs and CISOs enforce compliance and security stanrdards while mitigating risk,

From Traditional Perimeter to Identity-Based Perimeter

We are entering a new era where cybersecurity solutions that use traditional perimeter protection – such as firewalls and anti-virus software – is quickly being transformed and augmented with cybersecurity based on identity and passive behavioral biometrics.  Companies such as Trulioo, Refinitiv, BioCatch and Behaviosec are leading the way forward.  Identity, access management and authorization solutions will become even more vital and ubiquitous.

Securing New Frontiers

Finally, the macro-economic induced stresses from the lockdowns are likely to prove insurmountable for some businesses and even whole sectors, requiring rapid digitalization and incorporation of technologies such as automation powered by AI. Verticals where digitalization had previously faced substantial challenges, including finance and health, will adapt faster than ever. New cybersecurity and IT solutions for this migration will be indispensable.

Additionally, some of these verticals will need to extend and enhance their offerings. For example, contactless payments in finance and telemedicine in digital health. Contactless payment is becoming a crucial functionality for financial vendors, as ‘social distance’ measures continue to be widely enforced. Telemedicine, including IoMT and personal devices with access to sensitive personal data, will also grow significantly. Both of these up-and-coming technologies will require novel security solutions.

The lockdowns and trends towards work from home and even de-urbanization will lead to a step-change toward digital transformation and will require new and innovative frameworks, methodologies and solutions for cybersecurity in this new world of the virtual enterprise.