COVID-19 pandemic accelerates transformation in enterprise security

Organizations must retool their policies and invest in security programs to acclimate to a post-COVID-19 business landscape.

Abstract trend lines graphing change and transformation.

We were already on our way to being a digital-first economy. The global COVID-19 pandemic, though, expedited the shift away from the last remnants of traditional operating models and placed further emphasis on the security measures that will be needed to support remote work, online-only models and other evolving norms on the business landscape. Fully digital businesses are the new reality.

Aside from essential workers, nearly everybody is working remotely during the current public health crisis, posing unprecedented security and privacy challenges. In a new ISACA survey on COVID-19 business impacts, 87 percent of respondents say the rapid requirement to work from home increased the risk of data privacy and protection issues. For organizations that already had a substantial percentage of remote workers, the shift was not as jarring, but many companies are accustomed to the majority of employees working in a traditional office setting. Abruptly, they have had to acclimate not only to equipping employees to be productive while working from home, but to provide guidance to help guard against an uptick in phishing and denial of service attacks increasingly being perpetrated by opportunistic cybercriminals.

The pandemic also has placed increasing pressure on IT departments to function in agile fashion. As noted in Diginomica, “At times of crisis, the time horizon for action is short. Nobody at the moment is thinking about multi-month IT projects, unless it's how to put them on hold. Instead, IT leaders should be looking at much shorter timelines, falling into two waves. The first priority is rapidly redeploying resources for immediate needs, whether that means putting in tools to support people working from home, accelerating information gathering and analysis to get in front of stresses in the business, or switching to lower-cost alternatives.”

It's not only the immediate period, though, that ultimately will be reshaped by COVID-19. In the early days of the pandemic, many understandably clung to the notion that several of these major changes would be short-term inconveniences as opposed to lasting overhauls to organizations’ ways of conducting business. But while the public health risks should continue to lessen with vigilance and with time, the related shifts to business processes will extend well into the future.

The road ahead

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