Web security boss’ views on business technology spending shifting due to COVID-19
Businesses all over the world have been affected due to COVID-19. Certain industries have thrived in the circumstances, while others have struggled, but how have business’ experiences changed their budgets for technology and cyber security?
UK-based web security specialists, Neuways discussed the topic with their Managing Director, Martin Roberts, to find out his views on whether the pandemic has changed UK business’ technology spend.
“Yes, there absolutely has been a change in business technology spend as a result of COVID-19. The main reason for this is due to business’ trying to switch to remote working overnight, when lockdowns were brought in. Many used this as a reason to speed up the transition towards online productivity tools, such as Microsoft 365 and the use of Microsoft Teams.
“COVID has brought forward that kind of spending, as while many were looking at that spend for future budgets, they now simply have to, to enable their businesses to function. For many users, it’s been a very positive move, as Microsoft Teams has really stepped up during this difficult time.”
Cyber criminals have sensed the opportunity of workers moving from the office to home. It is a very delicate balancing act for businesses to increase their defences against criminals, who have not had to change at all, as Martin describes:
“Unfortunately, the shift to remote working has raised the danger from cyber criminality and there has been an increase in cybersecurity investment, to encourage safe working from home. The figure put towards securing systems and data hasn’t been as much as what could’ve been spent, but with the many pressures placed on businesses during the pandemic, it has been a tough decision to make.
“Initially, it was thought the pandemic would be over within three months, but it now appears as though it is going to be around for a lot longer. COVID-19 might have no foreseeable end yet, cyber criminals continue to work from home, as they always have, so they are working even harder to get user data and login credentials, as the rise of phishing emails indicates.”
There has been a huge change in IT over the past ten years, services, for many, have gone from being a novelty, to becoming a critical function for most, if not all, businesses in 2020. Without it, businesses would not be able to operate in the current, tough climate. Some companies are having to balance the books by weighing up areas they have to make financial cuts to, but should IT services be one of those? Martin thinks not:
“Reviewing your business’ security stance can help you to decide how much more money towards IT security during the pandemic. Improving security is the biggest area to focus on, for businesses.
“There has been a staggering increase in the amount of criminality going on — as it has never been easier for criminals to carry out phishing email scams. You should be allocating a large percentage of your IT budget towards security, and you do need a multi-layered security approach just to survive.
“Right now, if you had a minimal amount to spend and you could spend it on productivity or security, I’d put forward security, as it will safeguard your business’ future.”
Cyber criminals have never posed more a threat than they have in the modern day. Email phishing, ransomware strains and DDoS attacks are among the tactics and strategies making it easier than ever for online crimes to be committed.
“IT security is as critical as paying your utilities bill, it’s not an optional extra, but an absolute essential. If not, then your business is at risk, and a cyber-attack is an awful terrible thing to deal with.
“The problem is that some of these things aren’t ‘hacking’. A lot of it is to do with social engineering and emailing a huge amount of people to convince them into opening links and downloading something malicious — it’s not sophisticated in a technical sense.”
While we are living in unprecedented times in the digital era, Martin wants businesses to look forward, not backwards.
“IT spend should not be looked at as one large sum of money by businesses, but broken down into three main areas.
“Productivity, namely Microsoft 365 and Teams, have allowed businesses to work more dynamically and successfully replicated how we worked in offices, making it a must-have spend.
“Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery is another must-have. It prepares a business for what to do in the event of a cyber-attack. A robust, multi-layered continuity plan provides insurance against ANY threat. The pandemic caught many people off-guard and predicting the future of the economy, the way we live and the way we work is impossible. By investing in a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan, the certainty is there.
“Last but not least, Innovation should not be forgotten about. It is one of those key elements that can differentiate a business and make it special. Innovation keeps a business looking to the future rather than the past, if you don’t invest in productivity software and security, then you run the risk of falling backwards.”
The benefits of an IT security-focused spending strategy in these uncertain times are clear to see. With the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, investing in the correct technology to keep your business safe has never been more vital than in 2020 and beyond — the stronger the investment now, the better prepared your business is to survive and thrive now, and into the future.
If you require advice to get your business’ IT security and systems in order, call Neuways on 0283 753333 or email email@example.com, and one of our experienced team will arrange a call with you.