86% of firms facing network security disruptions since switching to remote work

A vast majority of organisations in Europe and the United States have been facing network security disruptions since they switched to remote work, a new survey has revealed.

In a recent survey of 303 security professionals across EMEA and the United States, Neustar International Security Council (NISC) found that 86% of companies have experienced security disruptions between February and March this year.

The survey found that while 23% of surveyed companies experienced major disruption to network security practices, 41% of companies reported moderate disruptions, and 22% of companies suffered minimal network disruptions since adopting a remote work culture to deal with the pandemic.

“A moderate disruption, which 41% of respondents said they experienced, could lead to productivity loss for a few reasons. These include impacts to scheduled maintenances to push updates or features, lack of licenses or systems needed to access corporate resources, or delays in the installation of collaboration software,” said Michael Kaczmarek, VP of Product Marketing at NISC.

The firm said as many as 29 percent of organisations admitted they did not have a business plan to protect their network during a major crisis or event. At the same time, as many as 60% of corporate VPNs encountered "minor connectivity issues" when navigating the work from home switch and only 22% of VPNs did not face any connectivity issues.

“More than 90% of an organization’s employees typically connect to the network locally with a slim minority relying on remote connectivity via a VPN, but that dynamic has flipped. The dramatic increase in VPN use has led to frequent connectivity issues,” said Rodney Joffe, Chairman of NISC, SVP, and Fellow at Neustar.

Organisations worried about DDoS & ransomware attacks and financial theft

In a separate survey of 200 CTOs, IT directors and security consultants in the EMEA region, Neustar found that as many as 75% of decision-makers are concerned about hackers weaponising IoT devices to launch powerful DDoS attacks and overwhelm IT networks. Aside from DDoS attacks, IT decision makers are also concerned about other cyber threats like ransomware, financial theft, and system compromise.

“It is key that organisations make sure incoming data is scrubbed in real-time, while also identifying patterns of good and bad traffic to help with filtering. While it is encouraging to see that more organisations are implementing bot traffic management solutions, it is imperative that businesses employ a holistic protection strategy across every layer for the best level of protection.

“Implementing a Web Application Firewall (WAF) is crucial for preventing bot-based volumetric attacks, as well as threats that target the application layer,” said Rodney Joffe, Head of the NISC and Neustar Senior Vice President and Fellow.

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