Now that last year is over, we can look back on the hacks and cyberattacks that occurred. Some have been calling 2014 the year of cyberattacks, and it's easy to see why in light of various breaches affecting Target, JP Morgan, Sony Entertainment and Home Depot.

So, what can we learn from this horrible year for cybersecurity?

The damage done
The various infiltrations have proven costly, with Tech Crunch reporting that Target's first breach in 2013 cost the company 475 employees at its headquarters, as well as approximately $200 million. The thieves gained access to Target's internal systems and compromised customer payment information, making it vulnerable to being sold on the black market.

Both Home Depot and Sony Entertainment suffered as well, with hackers gaining access to all digital systems within both companies. The source highlighted the fact that the Sony cyberattack was due to the lack of initiative in covering a hole that was breached in 2011, and because the company avoided fixing the issue, it suffered from another major breach in 2014.

What sources originally predicted in for 2014
Dark Reading looked back at what it predicted for cybersecurity in 2014, and it was right about one thing: New threats would emerge. In hindsight, that's an understatement. The very concept of cybersecurity and what it means for organizations has been turned on its head, and while companies originally believed cybersecurity to be an option, it has now become a necessity.

Last year had a plethora of surprising technological enemies in addition to the cyberattacks on the large companies named above. Specifically, malware such as Heartbleed, Bash and Shellshock  changed the cybersecurity landscape. The source mentioned how Heartbleed prompted professionals to look at fundamental technology components and how they could be exploited. Cybersecurity is now considered inevitable, and the challenge now is diminishing an attacker's payoff rather than trying to avoid a breach altogether.

Originally, cybersecurity was the cherry on top of the cake for companies. Now, it's a necessary component for any organization using technology, which consumers and employees of the 21st century are very dependent upon. The Internet of Things has connected even household appliances, which also makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Third-party cybersecurity services such as secure email providers that can implement email encryption are an option for businesses looking to take the first step in protecting their data.