Global Firms Cut IT Security Budgets Due to #COVID19

Over two-fifths (41%) of global businesses have cut cybersecurity budgets due to COVID-19-related financial pressures, according to new research from Barracuda Networks.

The survey of over 1000 business decision-makers illustrates the potentially serious impact the pandemic could have on organizations’ ability to combat threats, as hackers ramp up attacks on remote workers and infrastructure.

Around half (51%) of those surveyed said they’ve seen an increase in email phishing attacks since moving to a remote working model, and around the same number (49%) expect to see a data breach or security incident in the next month.

A previous Barracuda study revealed a 667% increase in COVID-19-themed phishing attacks in just a month, to the end of March.

The rapid switch to home working appears to have left some significant security gaps for organizations.

Half (51%) of those polled agreed that their workforce is not proficient or properly trained in the cyber-risks associated with long-term remote working.

In addition, 46% said they’re not confident that their web apps are completely secure, and 50% are allowing staff to use personal email addresses and devices at home for work.

The need to get security right in this context is especially critical for long-term strategy as the pandemic is changing the way companies work for good.

More than half (56%) of respondents said they plan to continue mass remote working after the crisis is over, and 53% said it had accelerated their plans to migrate to a 100% cloud model.

“Naturally, opportunistic hackers are on the lookout to target vulnerable organizations, which may have weak security infrastructure in place during this difficult time. The risk when cybersecurity is de-prioritized or neglected by businesses, is that hackers can target untrained, susceptible remote workers with increasingly sophisticated and incredibly realistic-looking email phishing attacks,” said Barracuda Networks CTO, Fleming Shi.

“As many businesses enter their third month of remote working, it’s time they refocus efforts on tackling this growing cyber-threat. At this crucial time, one successful data breach could be the final straw for many businesses which are already facing an uphill battle against COVID-19. In the current threat-scape, it’s no longer a matter of if a company’s security will be tested by cyber-criminals, it’s a matter of when.”

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