The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to quickly support remote working practices, often without proper security measures in place. Verizon reveals that many businesses may have left themselves vulnerable and open to cybercriminals in the rush to ensure their workforce could operate remotely.
Forty-nine percent of businesses surveyed stressed that changes made to remote working practices during lockdown adversely affected their company’s cybersecurity.
Cybercriminals taking advantage of remote working
Interestingly, even though 40 percent of businesses surveyed recognized that mobile devices are their company’s biggest IT security threat, 45 percent of them knowingly sacrificed the security of mobile devices to “get the job done” (e.g., meet a deadline or productivity targets) and 24 percent sacrificed the security of mobile devices to facilitate their response to restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.
“The pandemic caused a global shift in the way organizations operate, many of which ramped up their digital transformation agendas and working models to meet the fast-changing needs of both employees and customers,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, Chief Revenue Officer, Verizon Business.
“While businesses focused their efforts elsewhere, cybercriminals saw a wealth of new opportunities to strike. With the rise of the remote workforce and the spike in mobile device usage, the threat landscape changed, which for organizations, means there is a greater need to hone in on mobile security to protect themselves and those they serve.”
The effect of the pandemic on the workforce is going to have a lasting impact. According to the report, 70 percent of those that had seen remote working grow following the introduction of pandemic restrictions expected it to fall again afterward.
However, 78 percent said that it would still remain higher than before lockdown. Overall, our respondents said that they expected the number of remote workers to settle at around 49 percent.
Small and medium-sized businesses are also under threat
52 percent of those surveyed said that small and medium-sized businesses are more of a target than larger enterprises but even though this is the case, 59 percent of small and medium-sized businesses had sacrificed security with 22 percent suffering a mobile compromise. Seventy-eight percent stated that they should take mobile-device security more seriously.
Security should always be front and center
Of those surveyed, 72 percent of organizations are worried about device abuse or misuse. Part of the problem is that many companies struggle to develop an effective Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) — 57 percent didn’t have one at all.