The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in more ways than one and cybersecurity is no exception. With thousands of companies switching to a remote workforce, the pandemic has presented an unprecedented opportunity for hackers and online scammers and cyber security pros saw a 63% increase in cyber-attacks related to the pandemic. Security teams that had implemented controls for managing corporations and businesses suddenly had to adjust their security measures to support thousands of remote workers. Enterprise security teams found themselves scrambling to implement new controls to mitigate threats due to this increased risk of exposure from a remote workspace.
How the pandemic affected cybersecurity management depends largely on the organization’s size, geography, and industry, with medium to small-sized companies noticing the biggest impact. These companies experienced an increase in cyber threats such as phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, and zero-day exploits. While larger companies have been a bit more resilient, they still faced their own remote-working challenges. Here are a few important lessons that cybersecurity professionals have learned as a result of the 2020 pandemic.
Security Operations Centers Need to Recalibrate Traditional Security Measures
Cybersecurity teams need to be able to adapt quickly to the drastically changing threat landscape. They need to be more proactive in identifying new threats and detecting attackers. The major shift to remote working created an enormous challenge for security operations centers because it became very difficult to investigate security threats due to lack of visibility into individual networks. Moving forward, security teams will need to implement cyber management programs that are better equipped to handle a hybrid environment to protect both an internal and external workforce. Furthermore, security operations centers need to find ways to provide 24/7 support from remote locations.
Workers are Using a Variety of Software and They Need to be Adequately Secured
As the workforce shifts to remote locations, workers are using a variety of different tools to do their jobs. One example is the pandemic-driven movement towards Zoom. Companies are adopting various SaaS programs and this creates a challenge for security teams who are struggling to keep up with the numerous apps. Workers are oftentimes shifting between different cloud-based apps accessing their work via Gmail or using Zoom or Slack to communicate with coworkers. As a result, security teams need to make sure they have the tools to adequately secure the hardware on these different platforms.
SaaS Environments Have Become a Bigger Target
Just as it is no surprise that criminals are taking advantage of the global health crisis, cybercriminals have also sought out new targets. As more and more organizations shift their data to the cloud to support remote working, SaaS environments are becoming increasingly targeted. The shift to the cloud has not gone unnoticed by hackers, and they are taking advantage of the lack of SaaS security to steal data. As a result, security teams have had to shift their focus to accelerate security measures to protect SaaS applications.
Zero-Trust Initiatives are Becoming More Popular
Zero-trust security models require all users, even those inside the organization’s enterprise network, to be authenticated and verified before gaining access to applications and data. As the remote workforce suddenly expanded, security teams have taken increased security measures by implementing this type of initiative.
Budgets are Being Impacted
Disruption is happening across the board as a result of the pandemic and most cybersecurity budgets are going to feel the impact. Identity and access management and data protection has become an even bigger priority and this will require increased spending. In addition to the expense of these heightened security operations, many businesses are also feeling the pain of trying to recover damages from cyber attacks.
The pandemic has shown why companies need to be prepared to deal with a global-scale crisis. Investing in security technology is critical to managing cyber threats in the future.