The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to quickly support remote working practices, often without proper security measures in place.

The Verizon Business Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2021 has revealed that many businesses may have left themselves vulnerable and open to cyber criminals in the rush to ensure their workforce could operate remotely.

Almost half (49%) of businesses surveyed in the latest edition of Verizon’s MSI stressed that changes made to remote working practices during lockdown adversely affected their company’s cybersecurity.

Even though 40% of businesses surveyed recognised that mobile devices are their company’s biggest IT security threat, 45% of them knowingly sacrificed the security of mobile devices to “get the job done” such as meet a deadline or productivity target, and nearly one quarter (24%) sacrificed the security of mobile devices to facilitate their response to restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic caused a global shift in the way organisations operate, many of which ramped up their digital transformation agendas and working models to meet the fast-changing needs of both employees and customers,” Sampath Sowmyanarayan from Verizon Business said.

“While businesses focused their efforts elsewhere, cybercriminals saw a wealth of new opportunities to strike. With the rise of the remote workforce and the spike in mobile device usage, the threat landscape changed, which for organisations, means there is a greater need to hone in on mobile security to protect themselves and those they serve.”

According to the report, a large majority (70%) of those that had seen remote working grow following the introduction of pandemic restrictions expected it to fall again afterward. However, 78% said that it would still remain higher than before lockdown. Overall, our respondents said that they expected the number of remote workers to settle at around half (49%).

Small and medium-sized businesses are also under threat with over half of those surveyed (52%) saying that small and medium sized businesses are more of a target than larger enterprises but even though this is the case, 59% of small and medium sized businesses had sacrificed security with 22% suffering a mobile compromise. Encouragingly, 78% stated that they should take mobile-device security more seriously.