In a recent survey, we learned that more than 90% of C-level executives and VPs interviewed have delayed or cancelled key security projects to accommodate the transition to a distributed workforce. What can we expect the impact to be on organizations as a result of delayed or cancelled security projects?\nFor answers, we turned to members of the IDG Influencer Network, a community of industry analysts, IT professionals, and journalists. While their viewpoints were varied, as would be expected, Helen Yu (@YuHelenYu), a C-Level Tech Executive, spoke for many when she said, \u201cThe COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for cyberattacks.\u201d\nWill Kelly (@willkelly), a Senior Technical Writer, was similarly blunt: \u201cWe\u2019re going to see a new era of corporate data breaches,\u201d he said.\nFrank Cutitta (@fcutitta), CEO and Founder of HealthTech Decisions Lab, worries that the consequences could be grave, especially given that businesses have become much more reliant on rapidly deployed technology to fill the gap in face-to-face interactions.\n\u201cHistory tells us that developing a culture of security at the employee level is not for the faint of heart,\u201c he added. \u201cYes, we can send phishing tests to employees to see if they bite, but with more sophisticated hacks and ransomware, the lack of sophisticated security platforms will take its toll.\u201d\n\u201cInformation security abhors a vacuum. Attackers and your firm\u2019s adversaries will capitalize on those delays to their advantage,\u201d warned Ben Rothke (@benrothke), Senior Information Security Specialist at Tapad. \u201cAttackers were ready with their stimulus scams well before the stimulus checks were even mailed. Most delays in information security deployments have a corresponding risk that must be considered.\u201d\n\u201cPlaying defense with an uptick in phishing attacks and malware is a horrible position to be in, but it\u2019s the likelihood for not just small-cap companies but also mid-caps,\u201d said Sarah Ramsingh (@SarahRamsingh), a Machine Learning and Quantum Mechanics Expert. \u201cThe impact is having your organization in a more vulnerable position.\u201d\n\u201cSecurity moves very fast, obviously, and it\u2019s already hard to keep up with the attackers,\u201d said Tricia Howard (@TriciaKicksSaaS), Marketing Manager at HolistiCyber. \u201cThis is why burnout is so rampant in our industry. Security professionals are having to be on 24\/7 and it\u2019s not sustainable.\u201d\nAn \u2018acceptable trade-off\u2019 if bankruptcy is the only other option\nKayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), Cybersecurity Strategist at Ascent Solutions, said delaying or cancelling security projects is \u201can acceptable trade-off\u201d only if bankruptcy is the alternative.\n\u201cDue to the pandemic, this is the choice that some organizations face today,\u201d he continued. \u201cOther organizations should first prioritize their security projects to mitigate those risks with the highest potential impact to the business. Organizations should then have a difficult conversation about residual risks with their cyber insurance providers, and plan to implement monitoring of those risks not transferred to insurance or mitigated through implementation of technical controls.\u201d\n\u2018Security needs to be front and center\u2019\nNot all of the Influencers painted such a bleak picture.\n\u201cNow\u2019s the time to double down on information security,\u201d advised George Gerchow (@georgegerchow), Chief Security Officer at Sumo Logic. \u201cSince the pandemic started, we\u2019ve seen a rise in ransomware, endpoint attacks, phishing, and nation-state indicators of compromise. In times of high uncertainty and anxiety, bad actors thrive. Lockdown those endpoints and start building a Zero Trust model.\u201d\nFormer IT Director Cedric Wells (@cedricfwells) agreed.\n\u201cUnderstandably, many organizations are closely watching their cash flow and preparing for the worst with what has now been declared as a recession,\u201d he said. \u201cI agree that there needs to be more scrutiny and prioritization of security projects. However, now more than ever, with a more distributed workforce, security needs to be front and center. Delaying or canceling security projects at a minimum will put organizations at a greater risk.\u201d\nScott Schober (@ScottBVS), President and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems Inc., was also optimistic, pointing out that when companies put off expenditures in areas such as security, they tend to come back and spend at an accelerated rate when economic conditions improve.\n\u201cOnce the pandemic fears calm, CEOs, CIOs and CISOs will be preparing for a new wave of security spending,\u201d he predicted.\nBrian Thomas (@DivergentCIO), Chief Technology Officer for Coruzant Technologies, expressed a similar view.\n\u201cWhile some of these projects may have been delayed, by and large technology leaders still have critical security projects at the top of their priority list,\u201d he said. \u201cThere is too much at stake today with the plethora of malware and ransomware attacks, no matter the company size or budget.\u201d\n\u201cWorking with customers every day, and the partners who serve them in the Microsoft ecosystem, I am seeing less of a pullback and more differentiation in how our customers worldwide are approaching projects in the security space,\u201d said Wayne Anderson (@DigitalSecArch), Security and Compliance Architect with Microsoft\u2019s M365 Center of Excellence. \u201cIt isn\u2019t a matter of \u2018Are companies spending more or not?\u2019 but rather it\u2019s a question of \u2018Which projects are getting investment right now?\u2019 While there are about a fifth of companies that are overall decreasing cybersecurity budget, broadly a majority are reorienting around the remote work atmosphere and the data streams that are critical to next-generation business.\u201d\nRatan Jyoti (@reach2ratan), Chief Information Security Officer of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Limited, was also focused on the future.\n\u201cIt\u2019s high time for organizations to reorient their security budget in the right area,\u201d he said. \u201cThere can be a huge spike in security budgets in 2021 as remote working has introduced a new array of risks that must be managed. I also see a huge hike in cloud and automation in 2021.\u201d\n\u201cThere may be projects that will have to be deferred around increasing efficiency or improving the user experience, which may set the organization back compared to their peers, but these activities can't be prioritized over preventing breaches and maintaining compliance,\u201d said Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu), an Enterprise Technology Leader.\nCaroline Wong (@CarolineWMWong), CIO of Cobalt, said that if key security projects were delayed or cancelled to make room for critical projects that would enable a distributed workforce to work more securely (for example, VPN implementation or training on how to setup a secure home WiFi network), \u201cthen it could be a positive change, resulting in a more secure setup given the new work environment.\u201d\nWithin the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanium helped the world\u2019s most demanding organizations recover their operations and regain control and visibility. Learn how to secure your distributed workforce today with Tanium as a Service, the world\u2019s first unified endpoint management and security solution with a single console, a single agent, and zero infrastructure.