Cyber security professionals are being repurposed during the pandemic

Despite the fact that the number of cyber security incidents has doubled at some firms

A survey by non-profit organisation (ISC)2 has found that nearly half (47%) of security professionals have been taken off some or all of their typical duties during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Instead, cyber security professionals are being asked to assist employees with IT-related tasks such as supplying them with the right equipment for working from home.

The repurposing of security employees comes as somewhat of a contradictory move, given that the majority of the respondents (81%) said their organisations “view security as an essential function at this time."

Further, almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said that their company had experienced a rise in cyber security incidents since transitioning to remote working, with some admitting that the number of incidents had doubled since the pandemic began.

The (ISC)2 survey was conducted in April 2020 and included the opinions of 256 global cyber security professionals.

Wesley Simpson, COO of (ISC)2, said that while the survey is “certainly not an in-depth study of the situation, it does provide a current snapshot of the issues and challenges our members may be facing during this unprecedented time”.

“The goal of the survey was to take the pulse of the cybersecurity community as many of their organisations began to shift their employee bases and operations to remote work setups in March and April. Sharing this information helps our members and other professionals in the field understand the challenges their peers are facing, and hopefully realise they are not alone, even if many of them are feeling isolated as they adjust to working from home,” he said.

The survey also showcased how widespread working from home has become. Almost all of the respondents (96%) said that their organisations had closed their physical work environments and moved to remote work-from-home policies for employees.

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However, not everyone has been given the privilege of working from home. Less than half (47%) of those surveyed said this was the entirety of their company was working from home, while 49% stated that "some" employees are working remotely.

Earlier this week, a report from the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) found that 29% of companies did not have a fully executable business plan in place to keep their network secure in the event of a major crisis such as the current coronavirus pandemic.

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