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COVID-19 crisis shifts cybersecurity priorities and budgets

Few corporate functions shifted priorities so much and so quickly when the COVID-19 crisis struck as corporate cybersecurity operations and the technology providers that support them did. As legions of employees suddenly found themselves in a work-from-home model, chief information-security officers (CISOs) adjusted, pivoting from working on routine tasks and toward long-term goals to establishing secure connections for newly minted remote workforces. CISOs also took steps to prevent new network threats that target remote workers and to bolster business-facing operations and e-commerce after a surge in online shopping during pandemic lockdowns.

The response to the crisis continues to press department budgets and limit resources for other, less essential functions—a situation that we believe will direct spending in fiscal year 2021, which many departments are beginning to plan for. According to new McKinsey research, overall spending should taper off from the sector’s recent rapid growth in industries that were hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis while holding steady in industries that have not been as affected.

The challenges that cybersecurity organizations face have spilled over to technology providers. Those companies have done their own pivots to keep up with customers’ shifting needs and to institute new ways of doing business. To succeed in the post-COVID-19 era, technology providers must rethink their strategies and offerings to accommodate a new security landscape. And they must continue to monitor customers’ needs and adjust sales, service, and training accordingly.


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