Nearly 70% of major organizations plan to increase cybersecurity spending due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a LearnBonds report found. With COVID-19 forcing more people to work remotely and rely on tech devices, cybercriminals decided to take advantage of the unprecedented situation.

“The mass migration to a remote workforce has changed the security attack surface for every organization,” said Bob Stevens, vice president for the Americas of Lookout, a mobile security provider.

“Employees working from home are using personal mobile devices connecting to home networks, which means traditional perimeter based security tools no longer provide visibility or control for security teams,” Stevens said.

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Cyberattacks have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. IT and security professionals have cited the top threats as phishing attacks (55%), while 32% said malicious websites that claim to offer information about the virus, according to a Check Point report.

In 2017, private and business online users worldwide spent $34 billion on cybersecurity solutions. Before the coronavirus, this amount was projected to hit $42 billion in 2020, indicating that cybersecurity concerns were already growing even before the outbreak, the LearnBonds report found.

However, with the pandemic creating a bevy of new opportunities for cybercriminals, this number is predicted to inevitably increase, according to the report.

“Companies also have to invest more time and energy in training employees about the risks associated with their new home working environment,” said Josh Bohls, CEO and founder of Inkscreen, a secure content capture apps provider.

“Any device accessing corporate data or networks should be secured by threat detection software, and require a VPN to access the corporate network,” Bohls said.

Other top IT priorities

Other than cybersecurity spending, more than half (55%) of organizations said they will also be increasing investments in automation solutions. Smart analytics (53%), hybrid or multicloud (49%), and artificial intelligence (AI) (46%) were also cited as top priorities.

Witnessing a stall in spending, however, are Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and edge computing. The increase in cybersecurity spending means cutting in other areas of the IT budget, according to the research.

AI solutions will fall

While AI itself might be increasing, spending on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and edge computing is falling, with only 32%, 30%, and 27% of businesses planning to increase spending on those areas, respectively, in 2020, according to the research.

AI solutions are helpful in expediting both simple and complex processes in business. Software robots and automation, for example, have gained ground in manufacturing, retail, banking, and insurance, the report found.

However, these solutions are expected to see a significant drop this year, with 23% of major companies planning to cut investments on those technologies as cybersecurity comes into greater focus.

For more, check out How to maintain safe cybersecurity practices while transitioning workers from the office to remote workstations.

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