New research from endpoint management and security provider Tanium has discovered that seven out of 10 organizations have reported facing new security challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firm’s report, IT Leads the Way: How the Pandemic Empowered IT, outlines the impact of remote working upon organizations and their strategies for adapting to it.
Some 88% of the 500 UK and US IT decision makers surveyed stated that, before the pandemic hit, they felt some level of confidence in their ability to fully and securely support remote work. However, when social distancing restrictions forced many offices to close and quickly instigate mass remote working, only 39% organizations found it easy to actually shift employees.
Highlighting the security challenges that have arisen as a result, those polled cited upticks in risky behavior from remote working employees including the storing of sensitive data (41%), clicking on phishing emails (38%) and inappropriate admin access (37%). What’s more, 30% said they had observed their end users failing to update software.
The report pointed to the sharp increase in the use of shadow IT/unsanctioned apps, chat or conference apps and third party file sharing as having a direct impact on organizational security challenges brought about by increased remote working.
Regarding actions taken by organizations to help address new, COVID-19 induced security risks, investments in data and information security (63%), threat detection (60%), security/compliance software and services (59%) and device management (50%) were cited. Furthermore, compared to their plans before the pandemic, 38% of businesses accelerated investments in technology that supports a zero trust architecture, with 55% and 51% accelerating investment in identity and access management and secure adaptive access, respectively.
Perhaps most intriguingly though, Tanium’s report discovered that only 33% of respondents considered improving cybersecurity as one of their top three IT initiatives for 2021, raising potential concerns regarding cybersecurity prioritization this year.
“Our distributed workforce means the end of the network perimeter as we know it and the rise of the endpoint,” said Chris Hodson, global CISO of Tanium, “but managing and securing endpoints requires visibility and control. You can’t secure what you can’t see. As the research reveals, it is critical that IT teams continue to invest in solutions that break down data silos and enable automation to ensure manageability, security and insight for their endpoints.”