Perhaps we should begin by acknowledging that there’s nothing normal about the new normal. It’s true that most organizations have achieved a measure of operational stability since the COVID-19 lockdowns began this past March.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the cyber risks posed by an increasingly mobile and remote workforce are fully understood, or that existing security practices are adequate to address our new threat environment. That assessment will take time and a willingness to reconsider not only our security approaches, but also the assumptions on which we base our security practices.
It is this insight that led BlackBerry to sponsor a new Computing Research paper, Moving Towards an Intelligent Cyber Security Approach.
Market intelligence firm Computing Research asked 150 security decision-makers about their organization’s post-pandemic cyber risk exposure, their confidence in their existing security controls, and their perspectives on the security challenges posed by an increasingly mobile workforce. The organizations sampled represented a wide variety of industries, including banking and finance, logistics, manufacturing, retail, and education.
Specifically, the respondents were asked to:
1. State what types of threats they believe are growing in frequency
2. Rate their confidence in the cybersecurity of various areas in their computing infrastructure
3. Cite the cybersecurity risks posed by employees who don’t usually work from home
4. List the endpoint security measures they have in place
5. Share their attitudes towards the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in cybersecurity
Here are some highlights of the research findings:
- Nearly all (96%) of the survey respondents expressed moderate to high confidence in their prospects for operating safely in the months to come. However, there is evidence that at least some of this optimism may be misplaced. Between the second and third weeks of March 2020, email scams and phishing attacks spiked by an unprecedented 436%, and breaches increased by 175% over the year before, according to a report by Abnormal Security. Similarly, the number of cybersecurity complaints received by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has reportedly surged 300% to 400% since the pandemic began.
- Respondents were less confident in the security of the mobile infrastructure home-based workers use to access enterprise systems and data. Only 61% expressed high confidence in the security of their office laptops and notebooks. That number fell to less than half (45%) for mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Given these concerns, one might have expected more organizations to have deployed Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) systems. However, at the time the survey was conducted, only 28% had done so. This was somewhat surprising, since only UEM approaches provide the flexibility needed to accommodate the full range of device types and ownership models.
- Almost all (95%) of the decision-makers recognize the value of incorporating AI and machine learning into their mobile cyber defense strategies. Nineteen percent already have systems in place, 45% are staging evaluations, and 30% expect to do so in the future.
Computing Research concludes that these trends are driving security leaders to adopt a new approach to cybersecurity that dispenses with expensive and bloated security stacks, reactive security controls, and management-intensive security processes.
This new, intelligent approach leverages AI-powered UEM and automation to thwart attacks and enforce security policies so that security teams can focus on projects that support business goals.
It is a vision we share, and a central tenet of the Zero Trust, zero touch model of security that BlackBerry is enabling with the BlackBerry Spark® Suite.
Download the Computing Research report.