A survey from endpoint management services provider Tanium revealed that 90% of security leaders experienced an increase in cyberattacks due to the pandemic and 93% admitted that they were forced to delay key security projects due to sudden remote work conditions. The research report “What Happened When the World Stayed Home?” focuses on the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on private and government organizations. Nearly all the executives surveyed said they had to delay or cancel planned security projects.
Identity and asset management (39%) and security strategy (39%) were the top areas interrupted due to the pandemic. Patching was one of the major concerns for organizations, with 88% of respondents who have struggled in this area and 43% experienced difficulties in patching remote workers’ personal devices.
COVID-19 Exposed Security Gaps
The research report also discussed the preparedness of security leaders when it came to remote work culture. Nearly, 85% said that they felt ready to shift to a fully remote workforce and 98% said they experienced security challenges within the first two months. The top three challenges were: identifying new personal computing devices (27%), overwhelmed IT capacity due to VPN requirements (22%), and increased security risk from video conferencing (20%). The most common of these were attacks involving data exposure (38%), business email or transaction fraud (37%) and phishing (35%).
Impact of Pandemic Lasts Long
Around 85% of respondents believe that the negative impact of the global pandemic will last for several months to come. Most security leaders are concerned that home IT would be difficult to implement long-term for multiple reasons, including compliance regulations (26%), managing cybersecurity risks (25%), and balancing cyber risk with employee privacy (19%). The respondents identified cybersecurity as a top priority, with 70% of respondents stating that they will make cybersecurity the primary priority for remote work going forward. Nearly 48% of respondents plan to invest in endpoint management tools to improve visibility of IT assets, and 47% plan to make improvements to patch management processes.
Chris Hodson, Chief Information Security Officer at Tanium, said, “The almost overnight transition to remote work forced changes for which many organizations were unprepared. It may have started with saturated VPN links and a struggle to remotely patch thousands of endpoints, but the rise in cyberattacks and critical vulnerabilities has made it apparent that we’re still far from an effective strategy for the new IT reality. Whether companies choose to permanently move their operations remote, return employees to the office, or some combination of both, one thing is clear: the edge is now distributed. IT leaders need to incorporate resilience into their distributed workforce infrastructure. A key part of this is making sure organizations have visibility of computing devices in their IT environment.”