The pandemic has transformed many aspects of our lives and businesses have been a focal point of this change. Almost overnight, thousands of organisations around the world had to transform operations and find new ways of working to adapt to the new normal.
This has left businesses and institutions across all sectors facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges – but what are the key vulnerabilities and how can companies increase resilience? We wanted to shed light on these matters so, in the lead up to Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we surveyed our LinkedIn followers with four weekly polls, asking what security risks keep them awake at night and how they believe they can overcome them.
The State of Cybersecurity
The new WFH landscape has undoubtedly been the biggest cause of change and instability from a cybersecurity perspective. Over 40% of those who responded to our LinkedIn poll think the biggest cyberthreat to businesses is the use of unsecured devices by staff working remotely. These undefended laptops and mobiles expand the attack surface further, presenting more opportunities for criminals. Furthermore, when working remotely, employees communicate and cooperate digitally – which, simply put, means there are many more avenues of attack for cybercriminals to exploit.
Interestingly, the second most serious risk identified in our poll was employee security apathy (30%). Therefore, it makes sense that 73% of our respondents also indicated proper employee education and training as the best way to shore up security. The high proportion of votes likely corresponds with the often-cited fact that humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.
Human error, like simply opening unknown emails or clicking on suspicious links, is frequently the reason hackers gain entry into a network. For example, in 2019, human error accounted for a staggering 90% of cyber breaches – according to data from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
That being said, the malicious intent remains one of the main dangers of doing business in new norm. For example, our client, Gigamon, a cloud and hybrid visibility company, released research that showed 84% of businesses have experienced an increase in attacks since the start of the pandemic – mainly through phishing emails and ransomware. With so many risk factors, it’s no surprise cybersecurity is high in the list of priorities for business leaders this year.
But what’s next?
The ripple effects of COVID-19 will be perceivable for a while, even when we are finally through the pandemic. But organisations should also be prepared for the next big disruptor. We’re on the precipice of 5G and, when it comes to fruition, it will likely – once again – transform best practices and redefine our understanding of network security.
5G technology will bring an exponential increase in connected devices, and therefore, more opportunities to hack a network. Again, our poll results echoed this expectation, as the data showed connected devices and growing complexities (38% and 33% respectively) are the biggest concerns around the arrival of 5G.
Now more than ever, businesses need to remain vigilant to the threat, as these well-funded and sophisticated covert organisations have the capability to threaten organisations of any size.
COVID-19 has created one of the most volatile periods in modern history. As a result, organisations must learn from the crisis and strive for agility and resilience. Cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought and must become a more integral part of business operations.
So, it’s vital that businesses invest the correct resources and ensure employees are given regular cybersecurity training to contend with such varied and capable threats, while regularly communicating about the dangers that apathy creates.
The role of cybersecurity providers has never been more crucial: they must adapt to this new business landscape and fine-tune their comms strategies in order to engage companies in need of their solutions and services – or risk losing out to competitors in an extremely crowded marketplace.
Times are uncertain but every challenge is a lesson learned and can empower tech providers and businesses across industries to be prepared and thrive in the face of change.
by Charlie E.