What madness is this? 37% of UK firms have CUT their Cybersecurity budget because of Coronavirus

Barracuda Networks also reveals 51% of business decision makers know their staff are not properly trained in the cyber risks associated with long-term remote working either

Posted 7 May 2020 by Gary Flood

Almost half (46%) of global businesses have encountered at least one cybersecurity scare since shifting to a remote working model during the COVID-19 lockdown, 51% have already seen an increase in email phishing attacks since shifting to a remote working mode – while an equally high number, 49%, expect to see a data breach or Cybersecurity incident in the next month due to remote working.

Even worse, 41% of UK firms say they have been threatened by at least one Cybersecurity scare since shifting to a remote working model.

The source is just-published data from Barracuda Networks, off a survey conducted by independent research agency Censuswide of over 1,000 business decision makers in the UK, US., France, and Germany. More than half of respondents.

Other worrying findings:

  • 51% of business decision makers say their workforce is “not proficient or properly trained in the cyber risks associated with long-term remote working”
  • 46% claimed they are not confident that their Web applications are completely secure
  • 50% have allowed employees to use personal email addresses and personal devices to conduct company work
  • 41% have admitted to cutting their cyber security budget as a cost saving measure to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

The study also seems to confirm that a lot of digital transformation that might have remained on the CIO drawing board for quite some time has started to happen, as many have predicted:

  • 55% of respondents said they would not have implemented remote working within the next five years had it not been for the current crisis, and 56% of respondents said they plan to continue widespread remote working after the crisis is over. 
  • 53 per cent reported that the COVID-19 crisis had made them accelerate plans for moving all their data to 100% cloud-based model
  • 50% would consider making workforce reductions if it meant company data protection and security could be properly funded.

There’s a UK-specific breakdown of all this, too: 48% of British firms report an increase in email phishing attacks; 42% are “not confident” that Web application are completely secure; 44% believe their workforce is not properly trained in the Cyber risks associated with long-term remote working; and 37% have already cut their Cybersecurity budget to help tackle COVID-19.

For Fleming Shi, CTO at Barracuda Networks. the data shows that, Inevitably, the switch to a complete remote working model in such a short space of time brings with it a myriad of security challenges, particularly with many employees using personal devices to exchange and share data. 

“Naturally, opportunistic hackers are on the lookout to target vulnerable organisations, which may have weak security infrastructure in place during this difficult time. The risk when cyber security is de-prioritised or neglected by businesses, is that hackers can target untrained, susceptible remote workers with increasingly sophisticated and incredibly realistic-looking email phishing attacks.

‘Digitally Connected, Of Course’ by Techsource Network on Flickr (c) all rights reserved

“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. And 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’.”

Barracuda describes itself as believing “every business deserves access to cloud-enabled, enterprise-grade security solutions that are easy to buy, deploy, and use”.