C-suite execs expect business changes — think working from home, emphasis on e-commerce — to become permanent

More than three-quarters of C-suite executives think the business changes made in response to COIVD-19 will become permanent, according to a new report from Mahwah-based cybersecurity firm Radware.

The report, “C-Suite Perspectives: Accelerated Cloud Migration but Lagging Security,” found that 83% of C-level execs expect changes in the areas of people, processes and applications due to the pandemic will be kept in place even after it ends.

It also found that 44% of executives reported a negative effect on budgets, 43% reported a workforce reduction and 37% said they had reduced their company’s real estate footprint.

Other findings included 80% of respondents saying they believe more than a quarter of their employees would continue to work remotely in the future, as opposed to pre-pandemic, when only 48% of companies allowed more than a quarter of workers to do so, and 6% did not allow remote work at all.

In addition, 56% said the contactless economy — including e-commerce, video conferencing and more — had a positive effect on business.

“The transition to remote work and new online contactless business models is not temporary, and is affecting future strategy on how organizations invest in cybersecurity,” Radware Chief Marketing Officer Anna Convery-Pelletier said in a prepared statement. “Normally, businesses would make this shift over an extended period of time. However, the pandemic forced a massive shift to remote work, which is now creating new security challenges.”

Not only that, 76% of companies adopted cloud computer services faster than they had planned, but the study found that the rapid conversion of information technology helped companies maintain operations, but potentially exacerbated cybersecurity gaps — with 40% of respondents reporting an increase in cyberattacks.

“Before the pandemic, digital transformation was a long-term strategic goal for most businesses,” Vice Preesident of Market Strategy Michael O’Malley said in a statement. “On-demand content consumption, contactless payments, curbside pickups and remote workforces are now business imperatives. Executives must revisit what they’ve implemented to ensure that a lack of cybersecurity planning does not undermine their goals.”

The real estate reduction was most dramatic in the retail sector, where two in five respondents said they made changes, including store closures.

Radware worked with Enterprise Management Associates Inc. on the survey of 260 executives, conducted in July. Executives came from a wide range of industries, running companies that had minimum revenue of $250 million and 1,000-9,999 employees.

For the full report, click here.