The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to quickly support remote working practices but this was often without proper security measures in place, according to Verizon’s Business Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2021.
The study found that many businesses may have left themselves vulnerable and open to cybercriminals in the rush to ensure their workforce could operate remotely. Half of businesses surveyed in the latest edition of Verizon’s MSI said changes made to remote working practices during lockdown adversely affected their company’s cybersecurity.
Despite 40 per cent of businesses surveyed recognising mobile devices as their company’s biggest IT security threat, 45 per cent of them knowingly sacrificed the security of mobile devices to “get the job done” and nearly a quarter sacrificed the security of mobile devices to facilitate their response to restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.
The study also revealed that small and medium-sized businesses are under threat. 59 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses had sacrificed security with 22 per cent suffering a mobile compromise.
Sampath Sowmyanarayan, chief revenue officer, Verizon Business, said, “The pandemic caused a global shift in the way organisations operate, many of which ramped up their digital transformation agendas and working models to meet the fast-changing needs of both employees and customers.
“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 organisations, means there is a greater need to hone in on mobile security to protect themselves and those they serve.”
According to the report, the pandemic is going to have a lasting impact on the workforce. A large majority (70 per cent) of those that had seen remote working grow following the introduction of pandemic restrictions expected it to fall again afterward. However, 78 per cent said that it would remain higher than before lockdown. Overall, our respondents said that they expected the number of remote workers to settle at around half (49 per cent).
The Verizon Mobile Security Index 2021 can be read in full here, alongside sector highlights including public safety, public sector and small and medium-sized businesses.
The report’s findings are based on an independent survey of businesses across Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. It surveyed professionals that are responsible for the buying, managing, and security of mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices for their companies.