One of the most seismic changes that occurred during the chaos that was 2020 was a new frontier of remote support. As workers begin returning to offices around the globe, companies are considering the feasibility and benefits of retaining their flexibility by using a hybrid workforce model. Some are even choosing to stay fully remote or allow their employees to do so. But one salient fact remains crystal clear: however a business chooses to move forward, it pays to remain agile and be ready for future trouble by having solutions in place now that can carry you through turbulence because times of trouble bring a high tide of risk.
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For many businesses, the sudden shift to supporting a fully remote workforce revealed a crucial weakness. Their organizations were not even close to ready to truly support remote workers apart from the occasional outlier who was ill or traveling. That lack of preparation found many companies caught looking and led to a mad scramble to try and quickly piece together a patchwork of solutions that could alleviate the worst of the cybersecurity pressure without impacting operations too severely. Boosting security was an imperative – cybercrime across the board was up by more than 80% in 2020, including a whopping increase of more than 600% in that perennial foe phishing.
It’s important to remember exactly what put businesses in a place that made phishing both so prevalent and so dangerous. It wasn’t just one thing that opened the floodgates of phishing threats. A host of factors, most beyond any security team’s control, impacted the cybercrime landscape and put cybersecurity teams in a position where they were suddenly facing an unprecedented amount of risk. They were also facing challenges that they’d never even considered and weren’t equipped to handle, especially when it came to phishing and ransomware. That’s a crucial lesson in the value of being prepared for anything by increasing cyber resilience before your business is in jeopardy.
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How Did It Happen?
The reigning king of risks, phishing is an especially pernicious problem when supporting a hybrid workforce. The rapid cascade of effects in early 2020 is a great illustration of how a company’s threat environment can change in the blink of an eye. Millions of employees were suddenly remote workers with no training or experience. IT teams scrambled to enable those new remote workers to do business. In that rush, corners were cut and security sacrifices were made in the name of expedience – sometimes with disastrous consequences.
In turn, the instant remote work boom combined with inadequate security and millions of stressed workers was music to bad actors’ ears. These unique circumstances gave cybercriminals a chance to penetrate security at unexpected targets and they responded by unleashing a record number of phishing attacks. Since remote workers rely on email as their primary form of communication, that meant that a flood of phishing threats were landing in employee inboxes, and that was potentially disastrous for companies.
- About 55% of remote workers rely on email as their primary form of communication.
- There was a 72% increase in email volume in 2020.
- Phishing threats were up more than 200% in 2020 in a year-on-year comparison.
To add insult to injury, a chaotic world added stressors for workers that dramatically impacted cybersecurity. Employers that hadn’t previously developed protocols for remote work were put in an unenviable position: they needed information to flow quickly in order to keep the lights on, but in order to do that they needed to rely on untested tools and nervous, untrained employees to safely navigate the rocky shoals of a volatile cybercrime landscape – a calculus that wasn’t in the employer’s favor.
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What Did Businesses Learn About Phishing Risk for Remote Workers?
These statistics illustrate some of the hard lessons that companies learned about how different it was for their security teams to unexpectedly pivot to supporting a remote workforce and the security challenged that brought to the table.
- 40% of workers made mistakes resulting in cybersecurity repercussions for their company while working remotely.
- 45% of IT team leaders had problems finding the right security solutions to support a remote workforce.
- 73% of employees said that they read and respond to work emails outside of their working hours.
- 24% reported they handle work email while doing other things.
- 44% of remote workers have missent an email because of fatigue.
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Be Prepared for Your Next Unexpected Email Threat With Security That’s Already Ready to Go
In a situation like this, businesses need to know that they can rely on the cybersecurity solutions that they’ve put in place to provide a strong defense against new and unexpected threats. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. Many solutions struggle to deal with zero-day threats because they require intelligence reports to recognize them. But when the world is chaotic and you’re scrambling to keep your company afloat in an emergency, no one has time to feed in threat reports and install patches.
But Graphus is different. It’s smart all on its own, with a unique AI-powered by a patented algorithm that never stops learning. It doesn’t have to wait for a technician to tell it that there may be trouble on the horizon. Every time it adjudicates an incoming message, it learns about your communication patterns and the threats that your business faces. The TrustGraph technology that forms the solid outer shell of your antiphishing defense with Graphus uses more than 50 points of comparison to determine if every incoming message that a company receives is legitimate or a phishing threat – and every single time it makes a comparison, it learns. That’s hundreds of new data points added to its knowledge base every day, making Graphus 40% more effective at spotting and stopping phishing threats than the competition.
Don’t wait until unexpected trouble shows up on your doorstep, or in an employee inbox. Be prepared for potential pitfalls by choosing a smart email security solution that grows with your business. Set up a meeting with one of our solutions experts today to see how Graphus will benefit your business.