Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. has revealed the results from a recent survey showing how organisations have been impacted by the pandemic, particularly when it comes to IT and security strategies.

Cyberattacks and threats have increased as hackers have taken advantage of the shift to remote and hybrid work, and this survey confirms that there is a growing shift towards cloud-based security and SASE solutions. As organisations enable their employees to access corporate resources remotely, the SASE model addresses the limitations of traditional network architectures, converging networking and security in the cloud.

Uncovering the extent to which remote working has affected organizations’ security posture, operational overheads and impact on users, key findings from the survey of 450 global IT and security professionals include: 

  • Remote work brings increased risk: According to 45 per cent of all respondents, organisations are at higher risk of cyberattacks as they shift to remote working. The industries that reported the highest level of cyberattacks were finance (54 per cent), utilities (52 per cent) and manufacturing (47 per cent).
  • Administration challenges: The top three issues IT and security professionals contend with are scaling performance (46 per cent), addressing privacy and data sovereignty concerns (42 per cent) and supporting remote access for employees’ unmanaged devices (40 per cent). 
  • Strategies for scaling remote access: To meet the hike in demand for remote working, 69 per cent of security professionals report they are adding on-prem capacity; 66 per cent are moving to cloud-based security and surprisingly, 36 per cent do both.
  • Protecting remotely accessed apps: When enabling remote access to corporate apps, 70 per cent consider the security of applications against cyberattacks and zero-day threats to be of high importance.
  • Adopting SASE technology: 94 per cent are familiar with the secure access service edge framework, but adoption is slow, with 9 per cent having already implemented it and 21 per cent planning to do so.

Commenting on the development, Rafi Kretchmer, VP of Product Marketing at Check Point Software, said, “The shift to remote and hybrid work is one of the most important changes to have taken place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many organisations have had to compromise network performance and protection across their distributed environments because they use multiple different point products, which leads to management complexity and fragmented threat visibility”.

“This survey confirms that many organizations are feeling more at risk and there is a growing shift towards cloud-based security. The SASE framework consolidates cloud services to minimise attack surfaces and improve the user experience”, Kretchmer added. 

The survey reveals dual adoption of both cloud and on-prem security. For expediency, it may be easier to add capacity to current solutions, rather than rip out and replace them with completely new ones. Alternatively, this may reflect a phased approach to adopting cloud-based services or may be a result of data residency considerations.

Yet 66 per cent are using cloud-based security services to scale up remote access and 61 per cent of those respondents consider cloud-based security services to be critical to scaling remote access (including 83 per cent of senior management). Now more than ever, due to the long-term effects that remote working will have on data security needs and architecture, cloud-based security services and secure access service edge (SASE) technology are gaining interest as they solve the pressing need to provide fast connectivity and reliable security for any user regardless of device, location or target resource. With users working anywhere, cloud services improve performance and availability on a global scale.