According to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, we have seen 2 years’ worth of digital transformation happen in the past 2 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizations were tasked with facilitating remote work for all employees in a matter of weeks serving as a catalyst for digital transformation across every facet. Central to the transformation and facilitation of remote work is cybersecurity.

First, teams needed to provide secure remote access resources and data. In order for this to happen securely, several investments needed to be made. In a recently released study, Microsoft surveyed 800 business leaders from the UK, US, Germany, and India to better understand COVID-19’s effect on cybersecurity including budget and spend.

The top cybersecurity investment made since the beginning of the pandemic has been multi-factor authentication (MFA) followed by investments in endpoint device protections, anti-phishing tools, VPN, and end-user cybersecurity training.

However, it is not just short-term investments that hold the key to the future of cybersecurity. In the same study, Microsoft asked IT professionals where they are likely to see cybersecurity investments through the end of 2020. The top 5 investments identified were in cloud security, data & information security, network security, anti-phishing tools, and endpoint detection and response.

As for the future of the cybersecurity landscape, Microsoft also identified 5 ways the pandemic is changing cybersecurity for the long-term.

  • Digital Empathy: Entire workforces were working remote overnight, and teams were tasked with more than how to scale VPNs. Deploying apps that promote productivity, collaboration, and improving the end-user experience while working remotely were all cited as a top priority for security business leaders.
  • Zero Trust: As a result of the growth of remote work, 51% of business leaders are speeding up the deployment of Zero Trust capabilities, and the Zero Trust architecture will soon become the industry standard.
  • Diverse Data: Having more diverse data sets means better threat intelligence. Microsoft has tracked more than 8 trillion daily threat signals from a diverse set of products and feeds from around the globe. With a blend of automated tools and human insights, companies can better identify cyber threats before they reach end-users.
  • Operational Resiliency: Cyber resilience is fundamental to business operations. To ensure resiliency in the new post-pandemic landscape, companies need to regularly evaluate their risk threshold and ability to execute cyber resilience processes.
  • Cloud-Ready: The cloud is a security imperative. Security is not a solution to deploy on top of existing infrastructure. Instead, the events of COVID-19 have shown IT departments the need for truly integrated security across all products and services.