(ISC)² – the non-profit association of certified cyber security professionals – has released the findings of a survey in which cyber security professionals shared insights into their current work situations during the first several weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the (ISC)² COVID-19 Cybersecurity Pulse Survey, 81 percent of respondents, all responsible for securing their organizations’ digital assets, indicated that their job function has changed during the pandemic. 90 percent indicated they themselves are now working remotely full-time.
The survey’s findings shed light on the recent adjustments that organizations have made to maintain their business operations and the impact on cyber security professionals. Findings include:
- 96 percent of respondents’ organizations have closed their physical work environments and moved to remote work-from-home policies for employees; nearly half (47 percent) said this was the case for all employees, while 49 percent indicated that at least some employees are working remotely.
- 23 percent said cyber security incidents experienced by their organization have increased since transitioning to remote work – with some tracking as many as double the number of incidents.
- 81 percent of respondents said their organizations view security as an essential function at this time.
- 47 percent of respondents said they have been taken off some or all of their typical security duties to assist with other IT-related tasks, such as equipping a mobile workforce.
- 15 percent of respondents indicated their information security teams do not have the resources they need to support a remote workforce, while another 34 percent said they do, but only for the time being.
- 41 percent said their organizations are utilising best practices to secure their remote workforce, while another 50 percent agreed, but admitted they could be doing more
- Almost one-third (32 percent) of respondents were aware of someone in their organization who has contracted COVID-19.
Challenges facing cyber security professionals
The survey also asked respondents to share comments about the challenges they face during COVID-19. Some of the themes that came to light included a lack of hardware to support a larger number of remote workers, the struggle between organizational priorities for quick deployment of remote technology and the commensurate level of security to protect systems, and helping end users understand and abide by security policies outside the office.
One respondent commented, “Security at this point is a best effort scenario. Speed has become the primary decision-making factor. This has led to more than a few conversations about how doing it insecurely will result in a worse situation than not doing it at all.”
About the survey
Results presented are from an online survey conducted by (ISC)² in April 2020. The total respondent base of 256 global cyber security professionals are responsible for securing their organizations’ digital assets.