The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for organizations around the world. With millions of people suddenly working from home for the first time, companies need ways to ensure productivity, connectivity, and security—quickly.
This mid-year update to Businesses @ Work looks at the data from the Okta Integration Network (OIN) to understand how organizations are employing new apps and increasing adoption of existing technology to improve productivity and secure their remote workforce during this unique crisis. Our network now includes nearly 8,000 customers and over 6,500 integrations with cloud, mobile and web apps, and IT infrastructure providers.
WFH: MORE APPS AND TOOLS
Each month we see an overall uptick in the number of apps deployed as companies adopt more tools to get work done. Other than a typical dip in December around the holidays, our total number of unique users tends to uptick steadily as well. Between this February and March, that uptick grew substantially as more users adopted new functionality. We see growth in two major areas: collaboration tools, especially video conferencing apps, and network security tools such as VPNs that extend secure access to remote workers.
Video conferencing has suddenly become pervasive in our lives: not only do home-based workforces need it to be productive, but families are using video conferencing to stay in touch, friends are scheduling get-togethers, and both educational and extra-curricular classes are moving online. So it will probably come as no surprise that three of our top seven fastest growing apps are video conferencing tools. Zoom was the fastest growing app in the OIN with an amazing 110% growth in unique workforce users in March over February, 2020. (For comparison, Zoom grew only 6% during that same time period in 2019.) RingCentral ranks at #6 with 39% growth, and Cisco Webex takes #7 with 37% growth in that same month-over-month period.
SECURITY: NOW MORE THAN EVER
Attackers are trying to take advantage of the chaos around the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a flood of phishing and identity attacks. Barracuda researchers have observed a 667% increase in spear-phishing attacks since the end of February, 2020. Even the FBI has issued a warning about an increase in fraud schemes due to the pandemic. Next Caller reports that about 32% of 1,000 surveyed Americans believe they’ve already been targeted by fraud or scams related to COVID-19, and the company predicts “a second wave of fraud will leverage broadscale confusion and the sheer volume of activity…to prey on desperate individuals and overwhelmed businesses.” Add in a nation waiting for stimulus checks, and opportunities abound for deception. With the traditional perimeter gone, companies need to protect their workers and customers more than ever.
Evolving attacks leverage fears and changes in behavior
Proofpoint, an Okta partner, has observed the rapid rise of COVID-19 lures. Threat actors are actively using COVID-19 social engineering themes to try to take advantage of remote workers, health concerns, stimulus payments, trusted brands, and more. As the pandemic has occurred over a number of weeks, and remains an area of concern worldwide, the overall collective volume of lures only continues to increase.
Users ramp up Multi-Factor Authentication for protection
As more and more people work from home, organizations are using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to ensure their remote workforce has secure access to company data. In the past month, we’ve seen especially large upticks in certain factors. Okta Verify (including Okta Verify with Push notifications) has shown the most growth in the percentage of unique users Percentage Change in Unique Users Authenticating with Each Factor per day, hovering at around an 80% increase over 28 days prior. SMS, voice, Google Authenticator, Symantec VIP, and YubiKey have all had a roughly similar growth trajectory. Our customers are reacting quickly and implementing factors that are easiest to deploy— “some MFA is better than none.” Our annual Businesses @ Work data tells us that many customers, especially newer customers, will migrate to using fewer but stronger factors.