Due to the coronavirus, over the next three years, the average growth of the global cybersecurity market is expected to slow to a rate of 6.2% per year, according to the Global Cyber Security Market Analysis Report released last year.
The forecast trend represents a sharp drop from the impressive growth reported in 2019, ahead of the pandemic. All the more cybercriminals continue to profit from the crisis, taking advantage of the redirected orientation of businesses and individuals towards the current health threat.
COVID-19, the global economy and its impacts on cybersecurity
Most of the economic impacts of COVID-19 on cybersecurity are business-related. Due to restrictions on physical space, many businesses have had to unexpectedly move all (or a substantial part) of their operations online.
Below are the most recent ways COVID-19 is undermining advances in cybersecurity, hindering development. Most importantly, this article explores solutions and mitigation strategies to ensure the stability of cybersecurity in the face of adversity.
Consider some aspects of the economy that have seen an increase in cybersecurity incidents due to COVID-19.
The rushed nature of these migrations opened these companies to threat actors who wereted no time in tackling them. The most affected are SMEs; many of them were ill-equipped for digital operations but had to reluctantly adapt or face their business shutdown.
Even before the pandemic, SMEs were regularly the target of cyber attacks. Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report said 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. With the persistence of the crisis, the resources of SMEs have been strained as cyber attackers threaten to bring down a significant part of the economy.
Even large organizations have seen their cybersecurity limits tested by the wave of cyber attacks. The additional pressure on cybersecurity teams and equipment places new challenges on detection and response speeds.
As McKinsey reported, the crisis has forced many organizations to change their priorities and budgets. The effects of these have already been reflected in the 2021 budgets and would be reflected in spending. Companies (large and small) that are expected to see their cybersecurity spending increase over the next twelve months are spread across healthcare, finance, technology and media.
Supply chain risks
Another important way COVID-19 is impacting the global economy in terms of cybersecurity concerns supply chains. For example, the fragmentation of supply chains in the automotive industry has complicated cybersecurity oversight. Without a concrete plan to address the new vulnerabilities, the industry’s progress in the connected car sector risks being held back. Government regulations have helped in this regard.
Financial services sector
Likewise, COVID-19 has increased the cyber vulnerabilities of companies in the financial and banking services sector. Said a recently published report by the Bank for International Settlements, Outside of the healthcare sector, the financial sector has recorded the largest share of cyber events classified as related to Covid-19 in recent months.
On the one hand, banks have had to strengthen their security measures in the face of the rise in phishing threats. And customers and staff are affected. As KPMG reports, banks, despite their sophisticated IT systems, sometimes have more flexible control over remote employees who lack the tools to collaborate remotely.
Limit the impacts of COVID-19 on cybersecurity
As we continue to fight the pandemic, businesses must prioritize maintaining normal business operations in the war against cybercriminals.
For cybercriminals, business interruption is an opportunity to launch attacks once priorities are realigned or confused. Don’t give them a chance. Establish basic security requirements and devote all your efforts to protecting them. IT teams shouldn’t lose their priorities.
For many SMEs ranging (fully) remote for the first time, their employees would likely be using unfamiliar tools. Through mishandling, misconfiguration, or other means, they can inadvertently open the business up to cyberthreats. Employees should receive extensive training when the company turns to a new collaboration tool.
In addition, companies should reorganize their threat response protocol or create one. Responding to cybersecurity threats and incidents requires a collaborative effort. There is a risk that physical distance will result in organizational disconnection, further slowing decision making in response situations. Adapt response protocols to new business models is a proactive step to addressing these issues.
These are times of uncertainty. There is no sure end in sight for this pandemic. Even if there were, work and operations might not revert to their previous state. The coronavirus may have changed the way we work forever. In light of this, organizations need to reassess their existing cybersecurity protocols, strengthening remote access management and endpoint protection.
Image Credit: saksham choudhary; pexels; Thank you!