COVID-19: WFH calls for attention to endpoint security

Coronavirus lockdown: WFH model calls companies' attention to endpoint security

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WFH model calls companies' attention to endpoint security

While most organisations have completed the initial phase of transitioning their entire workforce to telework and employees are getting comfortable with the new norms, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) continue to face challenges.

Against the backdrop of remote infrastructure and subsequent hurdles, focus on cybersecurity has become key business imperative and not just a support function, say experts.

Read: Indian companies need to deploy robust measures to deal with increasing cyber attacks during work-from-home - PwC

Michael Joseph, Director System Engineering, SAARC at Fortinet said, “We’re already hearing from CISOs that the rush to provide access has resulted in security gaps that make them feel very uncomfortable. This is especially the case for the staff that are using their home computers for access.”

He said that the shift to the work-from-home model has clearly illustrated the importance of securing the endpoint. Companies with great defences in the data centres and on-site in the branch offices are suddenly finding hundreds of weak links in employees’ homes. 

“The computers they use have access to DC via the VPN (which IT controls) as well as direct access to the internet (which it doesn’t). Endpoint protection needs to be beefed up substantially and so, CISOs are looking to find ways to secure endpoints,” he said.

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According to a Markets & Markets report, the global impact of Covid-19 is expected to grow the cybersecurity market from $183.2 Billion in 2019 to $230 Billion by 2021 at a CAGR of 12%. 

In India, before the Covid-19 outbreak, cybersecurity spend was 10% of the total IT budget of an organisation. During the lockdown, it has gone up to 15% and once the lockdown lifts, it is expected to go up to 20%, according to TeamLease Services. FortiGuard Labs research shows an average of about 600 new phishing campaigns every day. The first quarter of 2020 has documented a 17% increase in viruses for January, a 52% increase for February and an alarming 131% increase for March, compared to the same period in 2019. 

CERT-India has also revealed that there is a spurt in cyber-attacks on personal computers since the beginning of the work from home protocol.

Endpoint detection and response platform Cyberbit is offering $100,000 worth of free cloud-based remote cybersecurity training on their cyber-attack simulation platform, to help organisations

“The current crisis accentuates the need for organisations to use a remote training framework that can educate employees about ways to identify and deal with security risks. Usually, during the normal workdays, security professionals are busy firefighting and never find the time to upgrade their skills,” said Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director, India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit.

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