Global cyberattacks increased by 32% in the second quarter of this year compared to 2021. And one out of 40 organizations worldwide was impacted by ransomware, a 59% increase over last year (Checkpoint). As the tech era continues to evolve, so do cyberthieves. Our team took an introspective look back at security (or lack thereof) recently. It’s amazing to remember what was compared to what is.

When I went to college, computers were novel. The bring your own device movement was unique, so if someone had a new laptop, we all knew their family was probably pretty affluent. I had someone donate an old laptop to me. It was a bit battered and beaten, and I was told if you can make it work, it’s yours. I considered myself lucky, even with the patchwork I had to do to bring it back to life.

Thinking back, that laptop didn’t have virus protection, and there were no password reminders. While there had been a few computer hacks, it really wasn’t relevant because it didn’t impact me. It wasn’t until 2016 that cybersecurity became a reality. Before that the Internet was wide open. It was like being a kid in the 1980s playing on the streets until after dark. No fear!

Laptops. With my jerry-rigged laptop, I roamed freely using chat features, creating documents and searching the internet — all without multiple passwords that included characters, numbers, and icons. Passwords were simple: my birthday, my street name, my dog’s name. And we saved everything to the hard drive without a care in the world. Data, documents and emails all would be there when we came back. But with the first laptop price tags nearing $2,000, real life thieves were ready to pounce. Who had a laptop stolen? Then what happened? All of that data, those document and emails are gone!

Calendars. Same with our calendars. My wife is probably among the last hold outs still using a paper calendar to this day. Why? She’s afraid the data will disappear. That first shift from a paper calendar to electronic was hard. Lose your device, have your laptop stolen and then where are you supposed to be? All of your calendar appointments are gone!

Game rooms. Those of us who come from the pre-social media era probably remember Yahoo! chat rooms. Did you know the organization also had game rooms where you could play and bet against other people. Call it first-wave gaming. Back in my college days, we figured out how to work the system. It was all legal and legit, but without safeguards, our opponents never had a chance at winning.

Music: Watching the evolution of music on the internet was fascinating. Napster was among the first (but the most prominent) audio streaming service providers. It originally launched in 1999, as a pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing software service. Thinking back it’s more accurate to perhaps say a modern-day music hacker. Now out of business, owners challenged musicians on their rights of ownership and sharing. Afterall there was no precedent related to security. If you missed it, musicians won.

Corporate data. With the advent of IT came server tape backups. One of my first jobs was at a bank. Each night we had (what I thought was tight) protocol related to those backups. All the server data from the day, the customer’s banking information, was backed up onto a tape. We removed it and put in a new one for the next day. Those backups were tossed into a bag or maybe put into someone’s briefcase or car. We thought it was safe. Who’d want the data? I’m astounded to think about this now.

These examples all happened just 10 to 15 years ago. What changed? A heightened sense of awareness about security and data protection. No longer do we trust hard drives, simple passwords and tape backups. Data, such as music, is protected, and must be purchased to call it your own. With the rise of hackers, cybersecurity experts continue to get smarter to stay a step ahead. Now there’s the ability to save data and information in the cloud, so in case of emergency, you cut a hacker or thief off quickly. Change the password, rewind to a prior version from the cloud and keep on working.

This is a reason more companies than ever continue to shift from a server to the cloud. According to Technavio, the cloud-managed services market share is expected to increase to $52.6 billion from 2021 to 2026, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 10.37%.

What’s astounding is this shift has happened in just a decade. It gives pause to make us wonder, what’s next in the IT and tech evolution.

Aaron Toops is co-founder and CEO of AERIFY.oi, managed services IT business that makes technology simple, safe, and fast. The team leverages the Cloud to allow small to mid-business teams affordable access to their information from whatever device at whatever time they need.

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