In 2021 companies of all sizes will have to start planning for the post-COVID workforce. Even if a vaccine will be soon available, for a lot of businesses a significant portion of the workforce will remain remote. The main reason is that employees already have taken to home-office arrangements, and this will accelerate the shift to more digital transformation projects and cloud services.
In addition, organizations will continue to invest in their cyber defense, because of the increasing amount of cyber threats that were brought on by the global pandemic. COVID-19 turned out to be both a crisis and an opportunity – it accelerated forces like the shift towards remote working and the adoption of cloud services.
In a recent study conducted by Cisco, 3 000 IT leaders from different parts of the world were interviewed on the future of work in 2021 and beyond. According to the results, even if employees will start returning to the physical offices in 2021, home-office and remote work will continue to be a growing trend in the long-term.
Employees now expect to have more flexibility and opportunity for remote working especially since things are not going back to the way they were before COVID-19. The global pandemic forced the organization to implement rapid digital changes and refocus efforts to ensure remote working practices.
With a large portion of the workforce still remote, cybersecurity will continue to be a great concern. According to the Cisco report, 85% of the respondents think that cybersecurity is as or more important than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
61% of respondents reported that they saw 25% more cyber-threats and attacks since the onset of the pandemic. The trend was seen in all types of organizations – increased cyber-threats were reported by 55% of small businesses, 70% of mid-sized organizations, and 60% of large enterprises.
Many businesses made investments in security and need to rethink priorities not only in regards to 2021 but for the years to come. With the trend of remote employees here to stay, organizations need to provide a robust, solid working environment. Organizations need to think strategically about cybersecurity and how to best protect data, equipment, and workers beyond the corporate walls.
The increased number of cyberattacks in 2020 was mainly caused because of the holes in security created as the businesses were trying to adapt and quickly enable their employees to work remotely. Now more than ever organizations understand the importance of emphasizing cybersecurity in IT budgets.
And while cybersecurity will continue to grow in importance in 2021 and beyond, there are other issues noted in the Cisco report. One of these is the skills gap – meaning that there are more job openings than candidates to fill them. Organizations have a smaller pool to choose from when looking to fill security roles and meet the new demand.
There has been a shortage of cybersecurity experts even before COVID-19 but the pandemic exposed how serious the problem is. And with the shift to remote work, organizations will need to not only find cybersecurity workers but ones with the proper skills to handle cloud services and ensure the safety of data in the cloud.