The pandemic has created many changes to IT environments revolving around security, and most of these changes will continue past the pandemic. Any temporary security measures put in place, will most likely need to be reviewed and strengthened so that it is ensured that they are secure enough for long-term implementation. There will continue to be a need for hybrid or remote work, and organizations should start to reevaluate all new measures they quickly put in place for the mass switch to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic.
The pandemic forced the "acceleration of digitization" (source) and switch to cloud that a lot of organizations were not ready for or prepared for. This mass switch had organizations scrambling to deploy new technologies to support remote work without fully evaluating every security implication that could come about. Now is the time to do so - to evaluate each security implication, solve them, and strengthen any security measures currently in place.
Below are some of the long-term security changes that organizations will have to make to continue to ensure data security long after the pandemic has passed.
The pandemic has caused organizations to have more widespread and distributed environments, causing some to adopt zero-trust access models if they haven't already. Data and services are now scattered among different environments - on-prem, hybrid and public cloud. Employees are accessing this information from managed and unmanaged devices and networks. With todays increase in cyber attacks, users accessing data without having to be verified every time will just not work anymore. Organizations should adopt zero-trust access models if they haven't already.
Protect Broader Attack Surface
Again, this pandemic has changed how organizations work. Many organizations have fully adopted the remote model of work or a hybrid model. This creates a broader attack surface that will need to be protected. Security standards will need to be adhered to no matter where an employee or organization is working from. The workforce has also seen shortages amongst other things, which has increased the use of AI. The adoption of new technologies and services will further broaden the attack surface and create a greater need for stronger security.
Authentication and Encryption
With the pandemic came a lot of cloud-based systems such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox and more. These have caused a lot of business information to be distributed in many places. All organizations should have persistent encryption and authentication methods to keep up with the work being produced to support work environments and safeguard business information.
Cyber Risk Management
Current risk management and security practices that organizations have in place, will most likely need to be fully overhauled. These practices most likely do not currently address every risk that we will now face in a post-pandemic IT environment. Other than reevaluating these processes, the pandemic has definitely taught organizations the importance of having these procedures and continually testing them to make sure that they are suitable for your work environment as well as secure and safe.