Organizations to Increase Cybersecurity Spending following COVID-19 Pandemic.
Sophisticated hacking groups and fraudsters are seizing the current COVID-19 pandemic to target unsuspecting victims and already disrupted businesses. They are exploiting the prevailing fear, uncertainties surrounding the situation, as well as the muddle caused by the rapid shift of business operations from office to remote environments. With this trend, businesses will undoubtedly increase their investment in cybersecurity controls to ensure they keep protecting corporate and customer data adequately.
Increased Cyberattacks During the Pandemic
Many businesses did not anticipate the sudden shift from on-premises to work-from-home setup. In this case, they never considered security implications or invested in implementing appropriate remote working policies and security measures to secure the new environment. Cybercriminals are exploiting this confusion to steal corporate confidential data and trick victims to share their credentials and credit card numbers. The World Health Organization (WHO) has seen a drastic increase in email scams targeting its employees and the public.
Additionally, sophisticated state-sponsored hackers are looking to obtain crucial information related to vaccine research and national coronavirus responses. They are targeting governments, health care institutions, and academia. Cybercriminals have launched ransomware targeting Canadian health agencies involved in COVID-19 research work.
Data security will remain a critical issue since remote environments lack proper security controls and user awareness. Hackers are sending phishing emails with coronavirus-themed headlines and attachments to employees working from home. A case in point is the recently discovered email with an attachment named “2020323-sitrep-63-covid-19.doc” that encrypts files once the user opens it. In this incident, cybercriminals followed the file naming standard applied by WHO to tag the sought-after COVID-19 situation reports.
There has also been a rapid surge in online activities outside the office. For instance, people have resorted to Internet shopping, spending more time online, and searching for coronavirus related materials. Overall, these technological and practical shifts within a short period provide significant security challenges and an enormous appetite for security solutions.
Increased Cybersecurity Investment During the Pandemic
Protecting businesses against increasing COVID-19-themed and other related attacks requires organizations to invest in appropriate cybersecurity solutions. Indeed, organizations will progressively rely on trusted security products and services providers as the current situation overwhelms internal teams. The outsourced services might not replace the internal teams in the long term but will help companies maintain cybersecurity postures during the pandemic.
Cybersecurity Remains an Essential Spend During the Pandemic
The increased spending on security controls will have more scrutiny due to the impact of the pandemic that has constrained company resources. Businesses will deprioritize non-essential expenditures in other technologies to save on costs. On the contrary, cybersecurity expenditure will increase for enterprises to sustain a risk-based strategy to mitigate the soaring cyberthreats. Security teams will spend more to secure additional devices accessing corporate networks and data remotely. Besides, workers will require advanced threat detection software and VPNs to connect to business systems securely.
Disrupted Work Environment Demands In-house and External Cyber Skills
Businesses will also invest in the cyber workforce during the susceptible situation. As employees shift to work from home, companies are critically dependent on digital tools to function, as the conventional perimeter-based security strategy becomes insufficient. For instance, remote workers depend largely on uncontrolled personal devices, home networks, and the Internet to process and share company information. The new business environment requirements will more likely expose confidential information, demanding both inhouse and external skills to deliver secure operations with a remote team.
Managed security service providers (MSSPs) are an ideal option for companies without internal skills to meet their cybersecurity functions. MSSPs provide a virtual cybersecurity workforce to address security gaps faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Security solutions providers design managed services to respond to the evolving cyber threats and provide information and safeguards organizations need to increase their security posture.
Innovation in Cyber Defense to Repress Attackers
Recent data breaches divulge ways hackers use innovative thinking and novel techniques to steal information. Similarly, security teams will leverage intelligence and superior security solutions to catch up with cybercriminals. Businesses will unquestionably invest in detailed assessments to gain visibility into risk areas in their operations. The process will also entail accelerating the integration of novel technologies, such as AI and ML, in cybersecurity strategies. Some organizations will partner with a cybersecurity intelligence and operations center service provider to leverage state-of-the-art security tools and capabilities.
Adding Cyber Insurance to Company Budgets
The pandemic will result in many businesses incorporating cyber insurance costs into their IT budgets. Factually, cyber threats continue to multiply and grow in complexity regardless of an enterprise’s cybersecurity spending. Acquiring a cyber liability policy offers a dependable risk transfer strategy for organizations safeguarding their sensitive data. This measure helps an organization to recover from a data breach, replace or restore electronic data, cover loss of income, meet lawsuit costs, fund regulatory investigations, pay notification expenses, and address damaged reputation issues.
A Rising Tide of Cyber Awareness Training
Employees pose the most significant security risks to an organization. Security experts rank human error higher for cyber threats than software vulnerabilities, as it contributes 90 percent of breaches. The consistent increase in digital violations during the pandemic proves that organizations should focus on cybersecurity awareness training. Companies will have to invest more time and energy in educating workers about popular and emerging risks associated with currently disrupted business operations. Suitably trained and aware employees serve as an integral part of a security strategy and a lost line of defense.
Ensuring the security of information and systems remains a priority, even in a pandemic. As sophisticated hacking groups and fraudsters seize the current COVID-19 situation to target unsuspecting victims and already disrupted businesses, organizations are investing in establishing more robust security tools, skills, and training to enhance existing security postures. Enterprises should explore partnerships with vendors revolutionizing cybersecurity through appropriate technology and service delivery integrations to enhance IT asset security during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the situation continues to evolve globally, ISA is closely monitoring and helping businesses in responding to soaring cyberthreats. ISA’s cybersecurity experts have defined a COVID-19 business continuity plan (BCP) to ensure that they continue providing the same level of service to clients during the disruptive period. Contact ISA today to learn more.