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Cybersecurity: Ushering through the new era

Companies must keep pace with risk and security strategies that combine awareness, collaboration, investment and innovation.

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The world today is experiencing a systemic reform in its economic, social and technological structures. Early this year, enterprises worldwide found themselves in difficult situations where employees had to take shelter and work from home. This led to immense stress on infrastructures and teams responsible for Information technology and cybersecurity. The pandemic forced enterprises to embrace the sudden disruption; there was a huge leap towards digital transformation to enable businesses and opportunities with very little time for the much-needed groundwork. However, cybercriminals around the world undoubtedly have been capitalizing on this crisis ever since. 

Cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations in this new world with a rising remote workforce and ever-expanding digital channels. Overnight, there was a rapid surge in demand for digital capabilities, products, and services, accelerating the digital transformation which had been underway for some time. 

Fraud Attempts on the Rise

The pandemic-induced lockdowns brought changes not only in the way organizations transact with customers, but also in the way fraudsters carry out their attacks. A survey conducted by the World Economic Forum found that 50% of enterprises are concerned about increased cyberattacks due to a shift in work patterns alone[1]. New fraud attempts and digital risks for consumers and organizations are emerging every day. A sharp spike in fraud related to economic hardship, reduced fraudster interest in hotel and airline fraud, increase in breaches/leaks and ransomware attacks are a few pandemic related changes. RSA Intelligence observed this in the second quarter of 2020 and the study revealed that 69% of fraud volume originated in the mobile channel, 26% higher than the same time a year prior. 

Fallout Risks Amidst Pandemic

It is often observed that during adverse times, the worst elements of society come out of woodworks and engage in such activities, including cyberattacks. Certain sectors have been impacted more than others, e.g: healthcare, banking, e-commerce, etc. A lot of attempted credit card frauds, phishing and stolen credentials have been witnessed worldwide.

According to RSA Fraud Report, this past quarter saw 50,119 cyber-attacks worldwide with phishing representing 54% of these attacks. As bad actors are increasingly diversifying their efforts and exploiting less-protected touchpoints, consumers and organizations must be more vigilant than ever. We often forget that fraudsters and scams can only be successful if they can socially engineer or fool victims into doing what they intend for them to do (e.g., downloading malware). Cybercrime is dependent on the human element, and fraudsters know how to manipulate the primal triggers to be successful.

With the present situation, the way we conduct our businesses and how we interact with our customers and suppliers have changed. In a recent study by the World Economic Forum, 350 of the world's top risk experts were asked to assess the most likely and most concerning fallout risks from the pandemic over the next 18 months. 50% of respondents were particularly worried about an increase in cyberattacks against their companies[2]. 

The Future of People, Process and Technology – a new era of cybersecurity

Organizations are adopting new technologies, and fine-tuning their infrastructure and processes to support remote working. Building a strong foundation will not only help employees adapt to this new work pattern but also set precedence for remote working in the future.

Enterprise performance is driven by people, process and technology. All three need to be addressed to effectively execute the digital transformation required to enable a world where remote workforces are the norm versus the exception. How and where we work will be one of the most pronounced changes due to the pandemic. As they accommodate to the new normal, more so in a post-pandemic world, companies will likewise be compelled to optimize investments and advance their digital transformation.

From a cyber-perspective, the cyber posture and security hygiene of organizations may naturally improve as a result of the pandemic. Core security functions like patching, vulnerability management and cyber-awareness programs are likely to be better tended to and maintained. IT and Security leaders will need to support these programs and activities by leveraging digital technologies. Their business continuity must element for near-zero latency on numerous measurements which should be executed in the most financially savvy way.

The pandemic has introduced another period of network protection. IT security experts who raise their game and protect their organizations' people, innovation and information from new or elevated dangers of more advanced cybercriminals will be critical in the economic turnaround.

To keep this all in check, companies must keep pace with risk and security strategies that combine awareness, collaboration, investment and innovation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Rajnish Gupta

Rajnish Gupta is the regional director, RSA India & SAARC, responsible for supervising the sales and driving the company’s growth in the region. 21 + years of rich experience in the IT industry makes Rajnish knowledgeable in all the market segments of enterprise security space viz Customer Support, Project Management, Pre-Sales and Business management.

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