Securing remote workers the topmost challenge for organizations going into 2021: Survey

Global survey shows securing remote workers and protecting cloud deployments are some of the leading challenges for next two years, as majority of organizations believe security will not return to pre-pandemic norms

Securing remote workers the topmost challenge for organizations going into 2021: Survey - CIO&Leader

Over half of respondents said their organizations are seeing more attacks and threats now than at the start of 2020, according to Check Point Research’s survey.  The majority believe their approach to security will not return to its pre-pandemic state, with just one in five saying that their security operations have returned to what they were.

The survey reveals organizations’ key cyber-security priorities and challenges through to 2023, and highlights the changes to their security strategies forced by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.

Key findings from the survey of over 600 IT security professionals globally are:

  • Organizations’ biggest security challenges going into 2021:
    Security for employees working remotely was the leading challenge, followed by preventing phishing and social engineering attacks, maintaining secure remote access, and protecting cloud applications and infrastructure (39%).
  • Security priorities for the next two years:
    The leading priorities through to 2023 is securing remote working, endpoint and mobile security, and securing public or multiple clouds, clearly ahead of issues, such as IoT security and email security.
  • 2020’s shift in security strategies:
    95% of respondents said their strategies had changed in the second half of the year, the biggest being enabling remote working at scale. Only just over a quarter said they had accelerated existing security projects during 2020, showing that for the majority, their pandemic response involved an unplanned re-invention of their business model.
  • The New Normal is here to stay:
    About half of all respondents believed that their approach to security will not return to pre-pandemic norms.  While 29% said that they expect a return to pre-COVID operations at some point in the future, and just 20% believed their situation has now returned to what it was.

“The survey shows that a majority of organizations do not expect their current security issues and priorities to change much over the next two years. For many, the rapid changes they made to their networks and security infrastructures in response to the pandemic will be permanent,” said Peter Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer at Check Point Software.  “At the same time, cyber-attacks and threats are increasing as hackers try to take advantage of those changes.  So organizations need to prioritize closing off any security gaps across their new distributed networks, from employees’ home PCs and employees themselves to the data center. Dealing with the impact of the pandemic on business operations, and ensuring they can continue to operate as efficiently and as securely as possible will be the biggest ongoing challenge for most enterprises.”

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