A new report which looks at how businesses adapted to the COVID-19 crisis reveals a ‘mad scramble for security’ as companies switched to mass remote working.
The report, entitled Why Cyber Security Is More Important Now Than Ever, has been created by cyber security specialist Nexor to offer a retrospective look at how the country dealt with the pandemic and the enactment of lockdown on March 26.
Using Google data, it shows a 126% increase in people searching for ‘cyber defense’ between January and March 2020 – this is up 116% when comparing March to the year prior.
A surge was also seen in searches for other cyber security-related terms including ‘cyber security services’ (up 44%) and ‘how to install a VPN’ (up 40%), indicative of more businesses seeking support and help with securing their networks.
In addition, the research highlights an increase in pressure felt by employees to ensure their personal devices are safe enough to protect their company and its confidential information – with 60% reporting elevated stress levels as a result.
Senior security consultant Sarah Knowles said: “This report offers a unique insight into the ways businesses have had to adapt to the change in pressures caused by COVID-19. We know just how paramount cyber security is to the sustainability and protection of a company, but what this research shows, however, was how underprepared many were for a switch to mass remote working.
“While none of us could have predicted this pandemic, it is crucial for firms to have business continuity plans in place to help prepare for unexpected events such as this; part of that should include plans for cyber resilience and policies for home working, which brings about its own unique set of challenges.
“By taking a retrospective look at the data it allows us to reflect on how we can do better should anything like this happen again. Fortunately, there is a plethora of advice and software out there to help firms improve their cyber security, including the government-backed Cyber Essentials accreditation. While we have not yet returned to ‘business as usual’, now is the time to put together a plan of action to get your cyber defense up to standard.”
As the country turned to virtual meetings to stay in touch with colleagues and clients, the research shows a considerable spike recorded for the search terms ‘is Zoom secure’, ‘how secure is Zoom video conferencing’ and ‘is Microsoft teams secure’.
In March, experts at the National Centre for Cyber Security (NCSC) revealed that cyber criminals were exploiting the Coronavirus online, with an increase in phishing attempts seen in several countries. Nexor believes the Government’s rollout of its new ‘Track and Trace’ system last month could open up even more opportunities for hackers to attempt new phishing techniques.