The COVID-19 pandemic has meant businesses have had to transition to a largely at-home workforce rapidly, and that move is causing cybersecurity professionals to lose sleep. While businesses were initially concerned about making changes to keep employees productive, attention is now focused on security. This is not surprising given cybercriminals are taking advantage of the security vulnerabilities that were introduced as a result of the rush to accommodate remote workers.
The survey revealed 46% of global organizations have experienced a cybersecurity scare during the pandemic and there is concern that attacks will ultimately be successful. 49% of respondents to the survey said they expect to experience a data breach in the next month as a direct result of allowing employees to work remotely.
The survey was conducted on 1,000 business decision makers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany by Censuswide and explored the threats that businesses are now facing since they have transitioned to a remote working model.
51% of respondents report an increase in phishing attacks since they allowed employees to work from home and the same percentage of respondents said that employees had not been trained properly on the risks associated with remote working.
While there has been an increase in use of web applications to support a remote workforce, there has not been sufficient time to check that those applications are sufficiently secure. 46% of respondents were concerned that their web applications were not secure.
With changes to working having to be implemented almost overnight, there were not enough corporate-owned devices to support a remote workforce. Consequently, 50% of companies have had to allow at least some of their employees to use personal devices or personal email accounts to conduct company work. There is also not enough money available to cover the cost of improvements to cybersecurity. In fact, 40% of respondents said their cybersecurity budgets had actually been cut as a result of COVID-19.
While some businesses allow employees to work remotely for at least some of the week, it is clear that the move to a largely remote workforce is not something that was considered by many businesses. 55% of respondents said they would not have implemented remote working in the next 5 years were it not for the pandemic. That said, now that the move has been made, 56% said they would likely continue to allow remote working when the pandemic is over. 53% of respondents said that the pandemic has forced them to accelerate their plans to adopt a 100% cloud-based model.