Two-thirds of organizations are at a ‘significant risk’ of cyber attacks caused by the pandemic

Sapien Cyber study highlights how 64% of US organizations believe Covid-19 has distracted their cybersecurity team, risking ‘significant damage’ to operational technology (OT) environments.

Washington DC, December 2021: Two in three US organizations believe the distraction caused by the pandemic poses a ‘significant risk’ to operational technology (OT) environments according to a landmark study commissioned by Sapien Cyber, pioneers in OT cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, 81% of executives say Covid-19 forced their organization to bypass cybersecurity processes, according to EY’s Information Security Survey 2021.

This comes at a time when 83% of organizations believe a cyberattack on OT environments has the potential to ‘cripple’ them.

The data comes from Sapien Cyber’s latest report, polling 100 CSO, CISO and other board-level security experts at large US enterprises to understand how the C-suite is taking on evolving cybersecurity threats. The research was independently collected by Norstat, an international data collection agency.

While the study highlights the potentially devastating effects of the pandemic on OT environments across the country, 90% of enterprises have evaluated the threats they face in OT environments, an encouraging sign that this crucial area of an organization’s IT systems isn’t being overlooked.

Interestingly, a third of CSOs and other board-level security experts believed the CEO was the ‘biggest barrier’ to improving cybersecurity, putting a spotlight on the lack of recognition for cybersecurity’s importance amongst company leaders. Compounding this issue, 62% of cybersecurity leaders said they did report directly into the CEO, suggesting an alarming state of complacency at the top of organizations.

Commenting on the findings, Glenn Murray, CEO at Sapien Cyber said: “The worrying trends in cyberattacks, especially on OT environments in the US, show that the C-suite need to be taking a more proactive approach to make sure they have the right defense strategies in place.

“The strain on resource over the course of the pandemic has shifted the focus of in-house cybersecurity teams, which will undoubtedly lead to critical systems becoming vulnerable to critical attacks and leaving many organizations sitting ducks. From our research, it could be argued that cyberattacks have the potential to be more devastating financially than the pandemic itself, and this knock-on effect from the global event could have far-reaching consequences in the cyberworld.” 

To download the full report, visit:

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