Well, here it is, the official start to summer!!!  Happy Memorial Day everybody!!!  Despite what is going on, I hope and wish from the bottom of my heart that the summer turns out to be a great one for all, and that all of the opportunities you are seeking do come true. 

But with all of the revelry that is supposed to take place today, yes of course, COVID19 is still making the news.  But, as I wrote about yesterday, many states, even including here in IL are starting to open up yet once again, but on a gradual level.

Businesses seem like that they want their employees to come back to varying levels, using a phased in approach.  There is nothing really wrong with that, just as long as everybody are taking the necessary precautions. 

Heck, the feeling that there might be some light at the end of the tunnel is that there is an increasing trend in the level of confidence amongst the businesses in Corporate America that they will be able to combat the eve escalating Cyber threats that arise from COVID19.

This is finding has actually been substantiated by a recent market research study that was conducted by the Cybersecurity organization known as ISACA.  Their final paper is entitled: “COVID-19 Study ISACA Professionals Weigh in on Impact and Outlook.”  It can be downloaded from this link:

https://www.isaca.org/go/covid19-study?cid=pr_2004061&Appeal=pr

To conduct this research, ISACA surveyed well over 3,700 Cybersecurity professionals from across 123 countries in order to gauge what the full impact of COVID19 has done to their enterprise.  Here are some of the key findings that were discovered:

*Overall, 51% of the IT Security teams across Corporate America feel that they are adequately prepared to combat any form of Cyberthreats that stem from COVID19;

*Almost 60% of them feel that they have the necessary tools in order to combat them;

*80% of those organizations that were polled said that in the end, although it too some time, they did share a list of best practices the best they could with their employees that were WFH;

*87% of them said that the drastic, unexpected transition WFH put their mission critical information and data at a huge risk;

*10% of the Cyber professionals surveyed feel that a job loss is likely;

*Only 1% feel that they will be furloughed from their current position.

But also, as I have written before, the lack of any planning, especially at it relates to Business Continuity, has had a detrimental effect across all of the businesses that have surveyed, and here is what was also discovered:

*46% have experienced decreased sales and revenues;

*There has been an overall loss of productivity of 37% because of the WFH issues;

*22% of have experienced a severe drop in their third-party supply chains (this is especially true of those businesses that offer tangible goods that need to be shipped to customers);

*Unfortunately, 12% have had to shutter business operations permanently.

My Thoughts On This

Ok, maybe at first glance perhaps these numbers do not seem to be too great.  But look at them carefully yet once again.  Just think about it:  Slightly over half of these respondents feel that they can combat COVID19 related Cyberthreats, and yet, even a greater majority feel that they have enough in their arsenal in order to make this happen. 

I have got to be honest; these numbers are a lot better than what I had expected, based upon on the news headlines that I see on a daily basis.

Of course, it would be really great if these numbers were actually closer to 100%, but in reality, that will never happen, even absent COVID19.  Heck, bringing that up, I think these numbers are even better that even pre COVID19.  Another area bright spot is in the particular level of job security that the respondents they feel that they are in right now. 

All we keep hearing about every Thursday early in the morning are the total number of job losses that have happened, and the total number of people that have filed for unemployment.  This is the first time that I have, in the past two months, seen anybody feel confident and optimistic about their current job situation.

But the bad news is, it has taken an event like COVID19 in order to bring about a change amongst the Cyber mindset with business leaders about the need for having concrete Incident Response/Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plans in place.  Also, it is one thing to have them, it is also yet another to make sure that they are being rehearsed on a regular basis, and keeping those plans updated with the lessons that have been learned.

Unfortunately, as I have written about before as well, here in the United States, when it comes to Cybersecurity, we live in a very reactive society. This simply means that we do not react to a certain situation until we have been impacted. 

There are many reasons for this kind of mindset because it is all pretty much psychological.  But a key one is that many businesses in Corporate America simply feel that because they have not impacted, they never will.

But hey, guess what, and smell the coffee.  We are all at risk, even as individuals.  The key is maintaining a proactive mindset so that we can mitigate that risk from proliferating further in case we are impacted.  With COVID19, the impacts have been felt just about by every business, across the entire globe.  Hopefully now this will be the catalyst that all businesses need to stay ahead of the curve.

But the even better news is that by Q3 of 2020, many of these businesses that were polled feel that they will be back to normal operations.  Whether this is hopeful thinking or will actually become a reality is still too soon to tell.  My instinct tells me it could take a bit longer, especially if employees are still WFH to a certain degree.

But in the end, businesses need to start to open up.  Yes, we still need to continue to stop spreading the risk of COVID19, but there needs to be a balance here.  You cannot be locked down forever, and at the same time, we do not want to go into a depression that is even worse than the 1930s.  What I advocate is a phased in approach, considering all of the precautions that have been set forth by health officials.

In the end, there is not just one factor that can determine this entire balance of the scales.  It takes a careful examination of all them, from both a quantitative and qualitative approach.