A Microsoft study reveals emerging cybersecurity protection strategies

Since the pandemic has pushed everyone into their homes, it is not just the electricity bill or data usage that has spiked. Recent reports reveal that cybersecurity breaches are a major threat that organizations have to overcome despite managing a remote working environment.

Towards the end of 2019, when the pandemic broke out in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, no one thought that it was bringing so many changes to the society. Within one or two months since the outbreak, tech giants and almost all offices slowly started granting employees the luxury of work from home. Even though when steps were taken in a rush, the organizations had the responsibility to maintain revenue and gain profit.

Thousands of employees were sacked from various global organizations due to less productivity and bad income. Still, the rest need to go on with the daily workflow with new technological changes. Companies started adopting artificial intelligence features like cloud datasets to patch the gap and comply with the usual workforce. However, when technology started evolving drastically on all sectors, hackers were ready to break the code and start their way of making a profit.

Organisations are equally aware of cyber threats. So many businesses started taking the new scenario of reprioritizing their investments and fast-tracking projects aimed at protecting the data and employees work.

Recently, Microsoft conducted a survey of nearly 800 business leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and India to get their views on the impact of coronavirus pandemic on cybersecurity landscape and how they are moving forward with the plans on a budget, staffing and investments to tackle the challenge. The business leaders showed a stern willingness on some vital ways to shape the future of the industry using digital transformation.


Digital empathy to end-service employees

Remote working is already facing issues like bad network, system or laptop breakdowns, browser jams, etc. Companies and employees are trying their best to get over it. A top employee who worked in a metropolitan city was forced to take his work remotely from his village which barely has a network in certain areas. Due to over handling of PCs and laptops during work from home and lack of scheduled office hours, breakdowns are turning to be routines. There is no way that a service agent could be called at any time to look into the matter.

Despite facing all these threats, companies planned to switch the working system to more technology-based platforms like cloud datasets and Internet of Things (IoT). This doesn’t mean simply VPNs. Companies have recognized that apps that promote productivity, collaboration and a positive end-user experience are a priority for creating healthy remote workforce. Microsoft has named this as ‘Digital Empathy.’ The term refers to companies ensuring that the end-users experience is inclusive.

Microsoft survey reveals that 41% of the business leaders are improving the end-user experience in the wake to bring productivity for remote workers. Employees can use more applications under the emerging technology. Many preferred to go for multi-factor authentication, an authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence for an authentication mechanism. It was the top security investment made by companies during the pandemic.


Adopting to zero trust mindset

Organisations are adopting ‘Zero trust’ mindset where they take the principle of ‘never trust, always verify’ to mitigate the spread of breaches, limit access and prevent lateral movement. There is no assurance that whatever the employees do is protected as there is no security check on technology. Business leaders are forced to handle the influx of new, potential unsecured devices logging into corporate networks from employees homes. One wrong move and every hard work of the company will get paid off to someone else.

To counteract the unfolding barriers, zero trust policy is adopted by more than 51% of the leaders and businesses. Companies are speeding up investment in building trustworthy policies to ensure security. The report further suggests that in the near future, around 94% of the companies will start the process the deploying of new Zero Trust capabilities.


Blocking threats through diverse datasets

 Microsoft has tracked more than eight trillion daily threat signals using a diverse set of products, services and feeds. Phishing scams and skimming attacks are the trending way of cybersecurity loots in the pandemic time. It could only be tackled with the blend of automated tools and human insight. According to the Microsoft report, 54% of the surveyed leaders agreed that they have faced phishing attacks since the beginning of the pandemic. Henceforth, a solution that caught their eyes was to use diverse cloud-based tools and datasets.


Evaluate risks with human efforts and technology

It looks like remote working is going to stay for a longer time than expected. Some multi-national companies have announced that they are willing to take work from home into 2021 as well. This directly gives an alert sigh to them to strengthen the security system. Companies ought to keep a constant check and evaluate the security system with a combination of human efforts and technology.

Microsoft reports suggest that cloud platforms can make it easier for organizations to look out the cybersecurity risk scenarios and contingency plans. Compared to on-premise or ground job organizations, cloud-forward and hybrid companies have more cyber-resilience. Meanwhile, 19% of the on-premises technology-based companies said they didn’t plan to embrace documented cyber-resilience plan.

The adoption of zero trusts, digital empathy on end-service employees, and diverse datasets and cloud tools has increased drastically to tackle cybersecurity issues during the pandemic. But it is unlikely that this could end soon. Since companies are changing to a more technological corridor on remote working, it is safe to maintain the organization with provided security tools



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