Is cybersecurity being relaxed in the name of productivity?

There can be no doubt that the last year has been unprecedented for businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused serious challenges with many companies not even being able to stay open for the majority of the year, and even those that were able to open found themselves struggling with constantly changing governmental advice and fluctuating fear.

Whole industries have been brought to their knees, and many organisations have only been able to hold on by a thread. But now with more hope on the horizon and a greater sense that we could see a return to normality – it’s not surprising that companies are looking to ramp up their efforts and do everything they can to recoup some of their losses.

For many, this has seen a drive towards greater productivity. And while that might sound positive, there are worries that it has come at a cost.

The relaxation of cybersecurity

It was recently revealed that around 46% of SMEs have relaxed some areas of their cybersecurity in order to allow staff to work remotely. That’s a really significant development for a number of reasons. Firstly, it shows that businesses have recognised that they are not positioned to maintain strong cybersecurity with remote workers.

Secondly, it could be a major issue. Many cybercriminals prefer to target small businesses anyway, as they see them as a potentially easier target. If SMEs reduce their cybersecurity further it could leave them even more vulnerable.

Interestingly, the issue was less true in larger businesses, where only 19% said they had relaxed cybersecurity. Perhaps this would naturally be expected as larger businesses are more likely to have the budget and specialist staff required to oversee such changes.

Businesses had to adapt during the pandemic

It is definitely the case that in order to survive through the pandemic many businesses had to adapt their working practice. The sudden uptake in VPN services, video conferencing software and cloud computing meant real alterations to working practice to a large number of companies.

However, this created a really serious issue: 61% of businesses admitted that they were not prepared for the changes that they had to make as a result of the pandemic. And of course, while things to do improve over time, the fact that new systems had to be rushed into place for many businesses will inevitably mean that corners had to be cut.

It is sadly the case that when scrambling to restore business-critical operations, it can be easy to overlook the importance of cybersecurity.


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