AUTHOR:DAVE JONES –PRODUCT AND PROPOSITIONS DIRECTOR
The world changed dramatically in 2020. COVID-19 triggered businesses' survival instincts, which has led to a dramatic change in the way companies approach business models, technologies, and security. In the UK, around four in ten businesses (39%) reported having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months1. This has resulted in the need for heightened awareness, and protection is more crucial as businesses transitioned tone ways of working.
The pace of adoption has increased focus on cyber security. Businesses have had to transform practically overnight to support a ‘digitally-led’ working environment, meaning the spotlight on security has become secondary when compared to business functionality.
The economics of cyber security such as the cost implications of breaches have been consistently rising in the last few years2. It is believed that that by 2025, cybercrime could cost the world $10.5 trillion dollars annually3. In the UK, the average (mean) cost of all the cyber security breaches businesses have experienced in the past 12 months is estimated to be £8,460 .
When we think about how to implement strong cybersecurity, it is key to understand what threats businesses face on a daily basis. The most common ones include:
This is defined as cybercrime where targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message, whilst posing as legitimate institutions.5Phishing attacks account for more than 80% of reported online security incidents, with Google registering 2,145,013 sites as ‘phishing’ since January 2021.6
Malware is defined as the collective name for malicious software variants including, ransomware, viruses and spywear. It is designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems to gain unauthorised access to a network.7Malware increased by 358% in 2020. Ransomware increased by 435% compared to 2019. Resulting in a ransomware victim every 10 seconds in 2020.8Unfortunately this is set to continue, with ransomware, phishing remaining primary risks in 2021.9
So, what can be done to protect businesses and customer sas we think about Cybersecurity in a Post-Covid Perspective, as the world continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic and its evolving adoption to a new digitally-led workforce?
Assurant Security Architect, Dennis Kiwia, shared his knowledge on how Assurant keeps secure: “Assurant leverages a layered defence approach to continuously protect, assessa nd enhance our security posture with consideration of people, processes and technology. We recognise the world-wide challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic and are committed to providing continuous awareness training to ensure our people know how to be vigilant in protecting themselves and our customer’s information in the cyber world. In addition, we have modernized and improved our technological controls to pragmatically support protection of customer data in our day-to-day processes to balance fulfilment of security and business requirements enterprise-wide.”
Cyber Security for Consumers.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for growth of cyber resilience not only in business, but also to protect customers online. The average number of connected devices per household is expected to reach 34*by 2023, which is why personal cyber security is also a key area to reduce the risk of threats.In research conducted by Assurant 82% of respondents said they should do more to protect their own personal data, which is why Assurant offers Pocket Geek Identity.
Pocket Geek Identity helps your customers take control of their lives online. It includes Anonymous Email Alias Manager, Split Key Password Manager and Tracker Manager, which is ideal for protecting their peace-of-mind, security, and privacy when using the Internet on their computer, tablet or mobile phone. Find out more, aboutPocket Geed Identity here.
When we review the results of this year’s UK Connected Decade research by Assurant, it shows that 66% of people surveyed said they are using the internet more as a result of the pandemic. And a third of respondents said that they were ‘very concerned’ about cyber-attacks when rating the level of risk associated with their connected lives.
With the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic driving more people to a digital environment and making cyber-attacks more prevalent, it is imperative that we all take personal responsibility to ensure that our data and personal information is safe by practising good password hygiene, encrypted data and where needed, accessing security controls.10 We must embrace technology responsibly and ethically and we must consider security.11
When we think about responsibility and data security, this is paramount at Assurant’s Device Care Centre.All devices need to be data cleansed, our specialist data wipe tool removes all data and ensures that Assurant meets the Asset Disposal & Information Alliance ( ADISA) Certified standard. If the device is deemed beyond repair, they are destroyed and disposed of through our WEEE registered partners ensuring no data can be accessed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in ways of working. This has made cyber security harder for many organisations.12 As we turn our attention to a ‘post COVID-19’ world, businesses and consumers need to take a solid approach to cyber security, to stop emerging threats and safeguard against digital disruptions. COVID-19 has been an unexpected and unprecedented challenge for organisations13, but to ensure that whilst we all continue to adapt to being apart of a more digitally-led workforce, business continuity and personal data protection should be at the top of the agenda to reduce the risk of connected devices being compromised or abused by cyber criminals.14
*Statistics from Pocket Geek Identity USA