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With nearly everyone these days working from home, how has the COVID-19 crisis impacted the risk of sensitive data loss?
That’s the question we asked ourselves, nearly two months ago, shortly after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
After all, these are uncharted waters. With nearly every company shifting to a work from home lifestyle – including many employees who were unprepared to do so and now may be feeling uncertain about their own job security – it’s a perfect storm for sensitive data loss.
For our first-ever Data Trends Report, we looked at data movement patterns before and after the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread and many companies issued work from home orders.
Over the last three months, while most of us have been in quarantine, hundreds of terabytes of corporate data have been on the move. It appears much of that data could still be sitting on cloud storage services and USB devices in employee homes and apartments.
Among the report’s biggest discoveries?
- There was a 123% increase in data downloaded to USB devices by employees. 74% of that data was classified by organization data governance policies.
- Cloud storage and USB devices were the most preferred egress paths after the pandemic declaration. They accounted for 89% of all data egressed.
- Data egress across all paths (email, cloud, USB, etc.) was 80% higher in the first month following WHO’s COVID-19 pandemic declaration. More than 50% of that data was classified.
- Our Managed Detection & Response analysts also saw an uptick in malicious activity from external activity, 62 percent following WHO's pandemic declaration. The increase lent itself to a 54% increase in incident response investigations too.
We drew on real data – more than 45 billion data events – anonymized and aggregated from almost 200 customers of our Managed Security Program, around the world. Firms that specialize in high technology, business services, financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing, to name a few.
In addition to visibility around data egress patterns before and after the work from home transition, the report also provides tips for protecting data with a distributed workforce, a data security enforcement actions primer, and more.
We hope the report, available here, can give organizations better insight into their own data loss risk during the pandemic and into the future.