‘Alarming’ increase in cyberattacks during Covid, survey suggests

7 Oct 2020

Image: © tippapatt/Stock.adobe.com

Nearly half of respondents to Asavie’s CXO survey said they had experienced a cyberattack specifically because of remote working during Covid-19.

With the recent mass shift to remote working, cyberattacks have been on the rise around the world, according to an Asavie CXO report. The Dublin-based enterprise mobility and IoT services provider surveyed more than 1,000 professionals across C-suite, IT and cybersecurity from 25 different industries about the future of the secure office.

In the survey, delivered by research firm Ecosystm, 44pc of respondents said they had experienced a cyberattack specifically because of remote working during Covid-19, which has seen millions of professionals around the world switch to working from home in recent months.

“This alarming increase in cyberattacks should be of serious concern for IT managers and enterprises and prompt a rethink of their cybersecurity initiatives holistically for fixed and mobile assets,” Asavie said.

The survey suggested that cost reduction and business-retention measures have been priorities for companies in the past number of months. However, many have also taken the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation for improving employee and customer experiences and focus on cybersecurity.

The top industry that reported cybersecurity attacks to Asavie was media and telecoms, where 62pc of those surveyed reported a cyberattack during Covid-19, followed by financial services (60pc) and health and life sciences (50pc).

More than a third of participants (39pc) said that scaling endpoint security is their primary pain point. Maintaining business continuity was the priority for 33pc and protecting against vulnerabilities was the focus for 32pc.

In North America, survey participants identified the greatest hurdle as scaling endpoint security. In EMEA, it was enforcing endpoint policy and ensuring compliance.

Other challenges respondents mentioned included providing remote workers with VPNs (30pc). Some employees have been forced to manage their own IT needs, which Asavie said is a problem because it leads to “inconsistency across the organisation and potential security gaps”.

An opportunity to evaluate cybersecurity

Asavie CEO Ralph Shaw said that in light of the findings, there is an “urgent need for digital businesses to deploy frictionless security”.

Amit Gupta, CEO at Ecosystm, added that businesses should view Covid-19 as an “opportunity to rethink cybersecurity initiatives”.

“The future of work will mean supporting remote workers at temporary or home offices, ad-hoc points of sales or employees on the go,” Gupta said. “This means that organisations must secure devices, irrespective of where people work from and irrespective of the network they use.

“CIOs and CISOs are coming to terms with the reality of increasing mobile workloads on remote devices and realise that private enterprise networks must be seamlessly extended to incorporate mobile and IoT endpoints, from a single user to large teams.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021