Many businesses sent workers home to work remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that also left many of them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, according to a new report from Verizon Business.
Forty-nine percent of businesses responding in the latest Verizon Business Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2021 said that changes made to remote working practices during lockdown adversely affected their company’s cybersecurity, with 40% saying that mobile devices are their company’s biggest IT security threat.
Yet 45% of respondents said they knowingly sacrificed the security of mobile devices to “meet a deadline or productivity targets,” while 24% said they relaxed mobile security requirements due to the pandemic.
“The pandemic caused a global shift in the way organizations operate, many of which ramped up their digital transformation agendas and working models to meet the fast-changing needs of both employees and customers,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, Verizon Business chief revenue officer, in a prepared statement. “While businesses focused their efforts elsewhere, cybercriminals saw a wealth of new opportunities to strike. With the rise of the remote workforce and the spike in mobile device usage, the threat landscape changed, which for organizations, means there is a greater need to hone in on mobile security to protect themselves and those they serve.”
More than seven in 10 (72%) of those surveyed said they are worried about device use or misuse. According to Verizon, the issue could be addressed by developing an effective Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). But more than half (57%) of those surveyed don’t have one.
ETI clients have expressed interest in cybersecurity issues, as they should. It represents both a challenge for their own networks, but also is an opportunity to assist local businesses with cybersecurity solutions and consulting.