Survey Reveals the Cybersecurity Impact of COVID-19 to Organizations That Switch to a Remote Working Environment

Before the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of companies granted their employees to work from home on some weeks. With COVID-19, the way people work dramatically changed. National lockdowns forced employers to speedily change working tactics and permitted practically all their employees to work from home.

Even when the lockdowns were removed, a lot of employees went on working from home. The new work from home setup is regarded by many people as the new normal now. Remote working has produced a lot of challenges, particularly for cybersecurity because it is more difficult for organizations to stop, identify, and restrict cyberattacks when most of the employees are doing remote work.

Ponemon Institute conducted a new survey on behalf of Keeper Security to examine the cybersecurity obstacles of teleworking and assess how organizations have taken cybersecurity strategies to tackle the threats of teleworking. 2,215 IT and IT security experts participated in the survey.

One of the important discoveries from the survey is a significant reduction in the effectiveness of an organization’s security posture because of remote working. 71% of the participants rated their security defenses as very or highly effective prior to the pandemic. Only 44% rated their defenses as highly effective during the COVID pandemic.

The survey revealed a number of reasons for the observed drop in the effectiveness of those security defenses. When people work on-site, there are physical security measures that prevent equipment and data theft. 47% of survey participants said that employees’ homes lack physical security.

71% of IT experts stated that remote employees were additional risks to the data breach of an organization. 57% stated that remote employees are a primary target for cybercriminals trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities.

Remote employees must use business-critical applications. 59% of the survey participants said that remote access to those apps is higher at this time of the pandemic. Normally, organizations have got 51 business-critical apps and employees remotely access 56% of those apps.

56% of respondents said that the response time to a cyberattack is longer during the pandemic. The problem is 42% of respondents claimed they lack understanding of the proper way to protect against cyberattacks with lots of remote employees.

A big increase in using personal devices is observed because of the pandemic, and BYOD systems have lowered the security posture of organizations. 67% of survey participants stated that during the pandemic, remote employees were utilizing personal devices like mobile phones, which are mostly vulnerable devices.

If intrusion detection systems were effective in an office-based setup, it’s less effective with teleworking. 51% of respondents claimed that their intrusion detection systems stopped an exploit or malware infection during the pandemic. 61% stated they suffered a cyberattack using phishing and social engineering tactics during the pandemic.

In spite of the threat of cyberattacks, 31% of companies said they have no multi-factor authentication in place for remote workers. Just 43% offer security awareness training to deal with the problems of remote working. Just 47% are keeping track of their systems 24/7. Below 50% of respondents safeguard company-owned devices with updated anti-virus, gadget encryption, and firewalls. When these security problems are not dealt with, organizations will be at a far higher risk of encountering a cyberattack that could end up with a costly data breach. The complete details of the survey are on this page.