In this age of the internet, cybercrime is a serious threat to organizations around the world. Many businesses began allocating a budget for cybersecurity and regulatory requirements to increase preparedness to deal with the threat of cybercrimes. However, despite knowing the danger, research still shows that security in most organizations is not given as much priority as other departments during the budgeting stage. Most businesses start thinking about cybersecurity in panic and frenzy when there is already a breach, rather than being threat-centric. 

How the Pandemic Affected Cybersecurity

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most companies resorted to cutting their security budget to minimize their costs. In a poll of more than 1000 business decision-makers in the UK, France, Germany, and the US, Barracuda Networks reported that two in five organizations cut their cybersecurity budgets amid COVID-19. Thus, adding to the culture of trivialization and improper allocation of the security budget, there is now minimal funds for this vital function. 

The COVID-19 pandemic further increased the threat of cybercrime to organizations. Cybercriminals are flourishing with the reduced security budget. One of the measures most businesses undertook when the pandemic hit was working remotely. The move was rather sudden, and most businesses were ill-prepared for the cyber threat associated with remote working environments. 

Traditionally, businesses could conveniently protect their network with all employees working in controlled office spaces using the company’s server. However, working from home means that the company receives information from their different employees spread out in different uncontrolled environments. There will be a variety of devices involved, foreign connections, and utilization of third-party services. The desynchronization makes businesses even more vulnerable to malware attacks and data thefts. ITProPortal reports that 50 per cent of companies worldwide have been hit by at least one cybersecurity attack since the transition to remote working. The same survey further predicted an increase in attacks on these businesses.

Strategies for Businesses to Deal with Cybersecurity Risks Amidst COVID-19

While the resumption of normal working is still unknown, companies must devise long-term strategies to deal with remote working cybersecurity risks. The first step is training employees to know what kind of company’s sensitive information they have and things that make the data vulnerable. The most common point of attack that cybercriminals use emails. Companies should train their employees to identify these vulnerabilities to protect both the companies and own private information. 

The multilayer defence-in-depth strategy is available for organizations to strengthen their cybersecurity further. The approach entails carrying out regular inspection of the company’s online perimeter, network streams, and accounts for endpoints and devices. Performing endpoint visibility and control further helps uncover and counter the immediate and long-term impact of active and continuing cyber breaches. Additionally, endpoint data allows a company to adhere to the regulatory directives when an attack occurs.

Endpoint detection and response solution automated feature help make up for the reduced budget and shortage of skilled labour effects of COVID-19. Data analytic techniques and modern EDR tools also enable suspicious activity detection. With these tools, companies can proactively monitor their systems and provide solutions to any threat to their network.

Digitization combines with the pandemic has increased the threats to cybersecurity. The cybercriminals are increasing their point of attack and targeting the vulnerable untrained staff. Therefore, there is an increased call for prioritizing education for enterprise security. As criminals improve their skills, so should the IT and security professionals in companies. Cybercrimes are here to stay and are likely to progress. The security team in organizations need to increase their preparedness to deal with this issue.  

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