Cyber Security

How the pandemic accelerated the need for Unified Endpoint Security

5th May 2021
Lanna Deamer

As evidenced by the onslaught of ransomware attacks and data breaches making the news almost daily throughout 2020 and 2021, cyber criminals have been working overtime, while organisations and citizens wrestle with navigating a global pandemic - from public safety and health infrastructure overhauls, to juggling remote work and home-schooling. 

BlackBerry has issued a new report with survey findings that recognise the security challenges organisations are facing and the global need for a better security solution to protect enterprises and their employees and clients.

The abrupt shift to a more distributed workforce fuelled by COVID-19 has exposed organisations to new risks from employees accessing enterprise networks from insecure home networks and devices - presenting threat actors with greater opportunities for intrusion.

IDG conducted the survey of 300 IT professionals on behalf of BlackBerry in late 2020, which revealed that IT leaders are concerned about risks to the enterprise from poorly secured desktops, laptops, smartphones, and other BYOD endpoint devices connecting to their corporate networks.

Many were supporting a substantial remote workforce at the time of the survey and expected to do so for at least the next six months. Concerns are high over the security status of the devices employees will bring back with them to the office after using them on a home network for many months without proper controls in place to prevent unauthorised access. 

Notable stats from the survey include:

  • More than one third (35%) of respondents are unsure of the ability of their IT infrastructure to securely support a remote workforce.
  • Nearly three quarters (74%) of those representing financial organisations, 62% of respondents from the manufacturing sector, and 57% from the technology industry expressed the same concern over the availability of security skills and awareness.
  • Nine in ten respondents are concerned - 35% are 'very concerned' - about workers returning to offices with unpatched systems and out-of-date software.
  • More than 80% consider it 'highly important' to obtain better visibility into the security of employee mobile devices, the ability of their security policy to dynamically adapt, and consolidating incident detection and response across all corporate endpoints. 
  • Nine in ten security professionals agree that the ability to detect threats when usersare offline is 'critical' or 'very important'.
  • More than three-quarters (76%) are highly likely to deploy Unified Endpoint Security (UES) as a managed service.

More than a year into the pandemic, security teams still struggle to continue to support remote employees as return-to-work plans remain uncertain. Challenges inherent in the shifting threat landscape accelerate the need for a secure UES solution to protect organisations, along with a better way to address risks tied to the shift to a remote or hybrid work environment. A substantial percentage of security professionals view a UES as critical to their ability to detect and respond to threats on traditional endpoints and, increasingly, on employee mobile devices. 

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