The Impact of COVID-19 on Enterprise IT Security Teams

The Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and has resulted in an ongoing global pandemic. In less than a year, more than 30 million people have been infected and more than 1 million people have died.

Although COVID-19 is often compared with influenza due to its symptom and transmission similarities, it’s far more contagious and considerably more deadly. Virtually every country has experienced a lockdown in some form, with federal, state, and local governments, at times, imposing stay-at-home orders for their citizens. Unemployment has surged and economic recovery is uncertain. Many enterprises – especially those hardest hit in the hospitality industry – have experienced layoffs and budget cuts.

The pandemic and its shock to world economies have profoundly altered work environments and cybersecurity priorities. COVID-19 has prompted a massive work-from-home (WFH) movement, leading to the skyrocketing use of videoconferencing, collaboration tools, and cloud-based applications. Networks and remote access infrastructure have come under pressure. New threats have emerged targeting these technologies and pandemic-related anxieties. Meanwhile, many IT security teams are forced to do more with the same or fewer resources.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic specifically affected enterprise IT security organizations? How are they rethinking their priorities and investments? Well, thanks to the support of our research sponsors, we now have the answers we’re looking for.

Today, CyberEdge announced a new survey report: The Impact of COVID-19 on Enterprise IT Security Teams. CyberEdge surveyed 600 IT security professionals from seven countries and 19 industries employed by organizations with 1,000 or more employees. This report contains dozens of helpful insights on how COVID-19 has affected enterprise IT security teams. Here are our top five takeaways:

  1. The 2020 budget shocker. Just when everyone thought that 2020 could finally be the year that IT security budgets stalled, we came along and are now dispelling that rumor. Our research indicates that the average enterprise IT security budget has received a 5% mid-year “boost” during the pandemic to fund additional remote access capacity, to secure personally owned devices accessing company applications and data, and to pretty much buy anything and everything that begins with the word “cloud.”
  2. Remote workforce tidal wave. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 24% of an enterprise’s global workforce was working from home on a part-time or full-time basis. That number has risen to 50%, which equates to a 114% increase almost overnight. The implications of this so-called WFH movement are profound and, we believe, will influence the “new normal” for enterprises moving forward.
  3. Spike in BYOD adoption. Before the pandemic, about 42% of enterprises employed bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies that enable employees to use their home computers, smartphones, and tablets to access company applications and data. That number has spiked to 66%, equating to a 59% increase in a matter of months.
  4. Not enough aspirin for these headaches. Every IT security team in every enterprise is feeling the effects of this global pandemic, including dealing with an increased volume of cyberthreats (37%), expanding insufficient remote access / VPN capacity (35%), and mitigating increased risks stemming from unmanaged devices (35%). 73% of our respondents are also experiencing increases in third-party risks.
  5. A cloudy forecast. Three in four (75%) IT security professionals now prefers cloud-based security solutions to traditional on-premises security solutions—and with good reason. This makes perfect sense as the top-three IT security technology investments made specifically to address new challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic begin with the “c-word.”

To download a complimentary copy of our survey report, click here:

To learn more about sponsoring a CyberEdge survey report, click here:

Most Recent Related Stories

CyberEdge: Jack of All Trades, Master of All?
Black Hat 2018 – Trip Report
Succeeding in the Age of Security Confusion: A Look Back at RSA Conference USA 2015