Last two years, the pandemic impacted the business world in ways no one could have ever imagined. Although the accelerated digital transformation was a favorable outcome, the new set of opportunities that the pandemic has unearthed for cybercriminals has been profound too. The sudden and widespread use of digital tools in the business and home environment has exposed a vastly larger attack surface leading to frequent, costly, and damaging cybersecurity incidents.
According to an article by World Economic Forum, the global use of video conferencing tools grew ten-fold, during the pandemic. Since these tools included personal laptops, home internet networks, and public VPNs, the need and urgency to secure these snowballing number of devices has been intense.
But instead of focusing on implementing the right security controls in this new hybrid model, many organizations were more concerned with staying afloat. Operating the business, as usual, ensuring employees have access to corporate information, and customers are served without interruption took far higher priority than driving efforts or allocating resources to safeguard the business against threats.
In this three-part blog series on Cybersecurity in the Post Pandemic Business Ecosystem, today we will look at the post-pandemic business ecosystem.
The Surge in Cyber Attacks
According to a report by Statista, an increase in cyber-attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic has been seen mostly in the areas of data exfiltration and leakage, which includes the unauthorized removal or transfer of data from a device, either by a perpetrator or malware.
This constrained approach to cybersecurity opened up several attractive gaps for hackers and bad actors to plan their attacks on organizations targeting their Achilles Heel. As the increase in digital tool usage led to a massive rise in the amount of data created, COVID-19 stretched company networks and increased their exposure to cybercrime like never before. At the same time, it also led to the emergence of interconnected businesses that facilitated a new trajectory of cyber threats and attacks.
Since one organization’s cybersecurity can have a cascading effect on others, safeguarding every enterprise from critical infrastructure breaches has become the top priority for every C-suite executive.
The Post-Pandemic Business Ecosystem
Businesses across the globe experienced a similar impact of the global pandemic, causing sweeping effects on the way the world worked, managed, and lived their lives. Nation-wide lockdowns, contact restrictions, and stay-at-home orders meant everyone had to suddenly stop daily commutes and start working from their homes.
These disruptive changes meant different things to different industries: while the auto and hospitality industries took a major hit, as people were forced to stay indoors, the online shopping sector skyrocketed to unimaginable heights. Banking, education, and all other industries had to quickly embrace digital models, to continue serving customers who could no longer engage in face-to-face conversations.
To build pandemic-resilient strategies across business units, products, and service lines, organizations had to make effective resource and investment choices; but navigating the chaotic environment during the initial few months wasn’t easy.
Here are several major changes that got introduced into the business ecosystem:
Expanding networks across businesses is a direct outcome of people using different devices and networks to access corporate assets and information.
Surge in Hybrid Workers
The heavy surge in hybrid workers is majorly due to employees working either from their homes, offices, or other remote locations.
Proliferation of Devices
The proliferation of devices included personal laptops, mobiles, personal computers and more.
Diminishing Physical Boundaries
Remote working and the outburst in devices, literally diminished the physical boundaries of work, devices, and networks. Employees were no longer restricted to the enterprise network but expanded to home and public VPNs.
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In the next part of this blog series, we will look at the cybersecurity challenges in the post-pandemic business ecosystem followed by the best practices on how enterprises must build cyber resilience.
Cybersecurity in a Post Pandemic Business Ecosystem - Part 2
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