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The Impact Of A Global Pandemic On Cybersecurity

30 April 2021 by Ian Donnelly
The Impact Of A Global Pandemic On Cybersecurity

​Cybersecurity and a Global Pandemic

What impact has working from home had on the cybersecurity industry? This is a question we have been asked on a regular basis over the past 12 months.

It seems like a straightforward question. However, answering it is not as straightforward. This has affected every organization differently. Where some have struggled others have flourished. It really boiled down to their ability to react and adjust to the situation. To quote Charles Darwin –
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

For the past five years or so, we have specialised in recruiting across cybersecurity. We noticed very quickly that there was a skills gap here in Ireland, and that the demand for professionals in this space far outweighed the supply. In fact, it has been well documented that there has been a skills gap in Ireland for several years now, and the pandemic if anything, has increased this gap.

When the pandemic hit, companies were forced to radically set up a working from home option for their staff. This was a mammoth undertaking for any IT function to deliver on. It meant getting laptops, desktops, printers, and scanners out to the homes of its workforce literally overnight.

Obviously, this would cause massive implications for security. How do you ensure your customers that their information is secure when you have significantly increased the threat landscape to your organisation within 24 hours?

It was only a matter of time before cybercriminals would exploit companies that were vulnerable to attack. Breaches were up more than ever, and employees that were connected to their home network were compromised and put personnel information in the hands of cybercriminals.

From a recruitment perspective, we noticed a growing need for companies to drive digital transformation and to get everything onto the cloud as quickly as possible. This was needed so their staff could access their systems as securely as possible from home.

We also noticed an increased demand for security engineers at all levels, with companies planning to move their security teams back into an inhouse model from outsourcing.

Like any crisis, there is always a silver lining or something positive to come out of all this. It was great to see companies using the common problem of working from home to solve this issue, and leverage remote working in order to improve their culture and enable their employees with a better work-life balance. It will be interesting to see how companies adjust post-Covid and will they continue with a flexible working approach. Is working in an office 5 days a week gone for good? Time will tell I suppose...

We would love to know if this affected your organisation and what steps you have taken to resolve it? Please get in touch with Ian Donnelly at i.donnelly@masonalexander.ie