A new report published today from Duo Security at Cisco reveals the unprecedented IT change organizations underwent this year amid a massive shift to remote work, accelerating adoption of digital solutions including cloud technology. The security implications of this transition will reverberate for years to come, as the hybrid workplace demands the workforce to be secure, connected and productive from anywhere.
The 2020 Duo Report details how organizations, with a mandate to rapidly transition their entire workforce to use remote team collaboration technologies, turned to remote access technologies such as virtual private networks ( VPN ) and remote desktop protocol (RDP), among numerous other efforts. As a result, authentication activity to these technologies swelled 60%, helping propel Duo’s monthly authentications from 600 million to 900 million per month. A complementary Cisco survey recently found that 96% of organizations made cybersecurity policy changes during the pandemic, with more than half implementing MFA.
As organizations scrambled to acquire the requisite equipment to support remote work, employees relied on personal or unmanaged devices in the interim. Consequently, blocked access attempts due to out-of-date devices skyrocketed 90% in March. That figure fell precipitously in April, indicating healthier devices and decreased risk of breach due to malware.
“As the pandemic began, the priority for many organizations was keeping the lights on and accepting risk in order to accomplish this end,” said Fady Younes, cybersecurity director, Middle East & Africa, Cisco. “Attention has now turned towards lessening risk by implementing a more mature and modern security strategy that accounts for a traditional corporate perimeter that has been completely upended.”
Report findings also include:
- So Long, SMS – The prevalence of SIM-swapping attacks has driven organizations to strengthen their authentication schemes. Year-over-year, the percentage of organizations that enforce a policy to disallow SMS authentication nearly doubled from 8.7% to 16.1%.
- Biometrics Booming – Biometrics are nearly ubiquitous across enterprise users, paving the way for a passwordless future. Eighty percent of mobile devices used for work have biometrics configured, up 12% the past five years.
- Cloud Apps on Pace to Pass On-Premises Apps – Use of cloud apps are on pace to surpass use of on-premises apps by next year, accelerated by the shift to remote work. Cloud applications make up 13.2% of total Duo authentications, a 5.4% increase year-over-year, while on-premises applications encompass 18.5% of total authentications, down 1.5% since last year.
- Apple Devices 3.5 times More Likely to Update Quickly vs. Android – Ecosystem differences have security consequences. On June 1, Apple iOS and Android both issued software updates to patch critical vulnerabilities in their respective operating systems. iOS devices were 3.5 times more likely to be updated within 30 days of a security update or patch, compared to Android.
- Windows 7 Lingers in Healthcare Despite Security Risks – More than 30% of Windows devices in healthcare organizations still run Windows 7, despite end-of-life status, compared with 10% of organizations across Duo’s customer base. Healthcare providers are often unable to update deprecated operating systems due to compliance requirements and restrictive terms and conditions of third-party software vendors.
- Windows Devices, Chrome Browser Dominate Business IT – Windows continues its dominance in the enterprise, accounting for 59% of devices used to access protected applications, followed by Mac OS X at 23%. Overall, mobile devices account for 15% of corporate access (iOS: 11.4%, Android: 3.7%). On the browser side, Chrome is king with 44% of total browser authentications, resulting in stronger security hygiene overall for organizations.