Fortinet unveils the 2020 Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Report

Fortinet has unveiled the 2020 Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Report. The report investigates the cybersecurity challenges that organizations faced as a result of the dramatic shift to telework early this year and the planned investments to secure remote work in 2020 and beyond. This report is based on a survey conducted in June 2020. Participants are employed in 17 different countries, representing nearly all industries and the public sector.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on how organizations invest in cybersecurity. In fact, over 90% of enterprises plan to invest more to secure telework over the next two years. Given a dramatically expanded digital attack surface, the waves of cyber threats targeting remote workers, and the ongoing cyber skills gap, organizations need to carefully consider what technologies and approaches are needed to secure their telework strategies long-term,” said John Maddison, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet. “They have an opportunity to maximize their investments with cybersecurity platforms designed to provide comprehensive visibility and protection across the entire digital infrastructure, including networked, application, multi-cloud, and mobile environments. This ongoing shift to remote work will also require more than just technology; cybersecurity training and awareness should also remain key priorities.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly in the first half of 2020, nearly two-thirds of the firms surveyed had to rapidly transition over half of their workforce to telework. 83% cited the transition as moderately, very, or extremely challenging. Only 3% were not at all challenged.

The overall influx of workers outside the corporate network opened an opportunity for unprecedented cyber threat activity. From opportunistic phishers to scheming nation-state actors, cyber adversaries found multiple ways to exploit the global pandemic for their benefit at an enormous scale. Threats included phishing and business email compromise schemes, nation-state backed campaigns, and ransomware attacks. In fact, 60% of organizations revealed an increase in cybersecurity breach attempts during the transition to remote work, while 34% reported actual breaches in their networks.

Organizations cited ensuring secure connections, business continuity, and access to business-critical applications as the most critical challenge.

Nearly half of the organizations invested further in VPN and cloud security, while nearly 40% invested further in skilled IT professionals or network access control (NAC).

While organizations have made improvements in securing their remote workforces since the beginning of the pandemic, survey data also highlighted several other areas of improvement to secure remote connectivity. Such as: Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), Endpoint Security and Network Access Control (NAC), Software-defined Wide-area Networking (SD-WAN) for the Home and Skilled Security Professionals.