18 months since COVID-19 arrived and introduced mass lockdowns, economies, consumers and businesses continue to adapt to the changing, almost daily, conditions.
Commissioned by Fortinet, the Frost & Sullivan report, “From Survival to Success: Learning, adapting, and growing in the New Normal” reviewed how a world in lockdown forced businesses to demonstrate digital adaptability and suggests that all enterprises need to now recognize security as a business enabler for future stability.
Previously ‘online-wary’ customers across all sectors were quick to adapt, too. Shoppers switched to online shopping and home delivery options out of necessity and healthcare providers quickly pivoted to offer consultations via phone, video, or online channels.
Significant numbers of stakeholders are likely to continue to prefer online options in the future. With more experience of using virtual distribution channels for retail, health and education, customers are also more likely to be more discerning about their digital experience and expect more personalized, automated, convenient, and competitive user journeys.
New ways of working and doing business
Customers of the future are also more likely to be working from home, or outside the office, and will still want the option to engage with businesses or work online.
This rapid growth of people working from home has also created new challenges to network security and the massive increases in exposure to different devices has extended the boundaries of cybersecurity beyond corporate firewalls.
As a result of rushed digitalization, some of the technologies that were brought in to support a remote workforce such as video conference platforms, project management and collaboration tools and virtual private networks (VPNs) became targets for cybercriminals.
The report also looked at other consequences of rushed digital transformation, which significantly increased the potential organizational attack surface and exposed security blind spots.
There are now additional challenges from rapid, unsecured cloud migrations and shadow IT (multi-cloud use) when employees or teams introduce their own cloud resources. While each cloud provider that an enterprise’s IT department works with may have a sufficient security strategy, spotting and blocking security blind spots across multiple cloud ecosystems is more complicated.
For a business to succeed in future environments of uncertainty, the Frost and Sullivan report suggests it is crucial to strategically make changes that make it easier to deliver the products, services, and customer experiences that both employees and clients are expecting. At the same time, applying a single and comprehensive visibility and access strategy over the entire network has become harder and demand for holistic cybersecurity solutions has soared.
“To adapt to the risks of future cyber threats, and not only to survive the crisis, but businesses also need a broad cybersecurity strategy; implementing a platform approach with end-to-end security and a single pane of glass management offering full visibility across the entire attack surface,” said Cherry Fung, Fortinet’s regional director for Hong Kong, Macau and Mongolia.