Business VPN downloads surged by 200% in Hong Kong on Thursday following the approval of national security legislation, according to analysis by business VPN provider NordLayer.
The spike in downloads by Hong Kong-based companies followed a similar increase of 175% last week when the law was first introduced. NordLayer has been consistently recording high demand from Hong Kong throughout the week, indicating that thousands of businesses are preparing for possible changes and new regulations. This shows that the new law created “turbulence” in the business sector.
NordLayer recorded thousands of new business users from Hong Kong in the hours following the vote. The demand is being driven by the need for remote access network security to protect employees and to counteract cybersecurity and censorship fears.
According to Allianz, 35% of Asia-Pacific risk management executives rank cybersecurity as the most important business risk, followed by business disruption at 34%.
Why are Hong Kong businesses scrambling to implement VPN?
The proposal for new national security legislation by China has sparked renewed controversy in Hong Kong. Businesses working in or dealing with the city-state need to ensure secure and stable network access. This can be accomplished by implementing a VPN.
Daniel Markuson, NordLayer Cybersecurity Expert, said: “Businesses have been forced out of the office around the world. Combined with increased cybersecurity risk, this has caused companies to rush to implement next-gen solutions that tackle modern digital security issues. It is clear that the global uncertainty calls for focused strategies to reduce risk.”
The pandemic has proven that during crises, businesses reach for cybersecurity solutions. NordLayer has seen up to 600% increases in sales in some countries. This highlights a growing trend of companies turning to VPNs to secure their networks and ensure access.
Stable network access is critical for businesses — and they can act in advance to avoid interruptions.
NordLayer cybersecurity expert Daniel Markuson lays out 5 steps to keep network access and protection:
1. Secure the network and all assets.
Protect endpoints, assets, and infrastructure with data traffic encryption. A VPN is a reliable and cost-effective solution to protect businesses from myriad attack vectors.
2. Ensure global access.
Keep connected globally with international server access. Dedicated servers from business VPN providers offer flexible and reliable network security and ensure global access.
3. Apply lessons from COVID-19 cybersecurity trends.
There are correlations between crises and increases in cyber attacks, with the COVID-19 pandemic as the latest example. According to the FBI, cybercrime reports have quadrupled since the onset of the pandemic. Hong Kong and international decision-makers need to factor that into risk mitigation strategies and ensure protection through the current unrest.
4. Facilitate secure remote work.
Businesses need to be using remote access VPN to protect networks and allow employees to access resources remotely. As the world has recently seen, working from home leads to heightened cybersecurity risk. Cloud-based solutions with IP allowlisting let employees work on a secure network wherever they are.
5. Train and onboard your team.
Phishing was the top threat vector in data breaches in 2019, according to Verizon’s DBIR. Human error or social engineering was present in 44% of data breaches, per the same source. Phishing and vishing scams often target areas of unrest or political instability. Criminals often leverage the opportunity to catch people distracted or off-guard. For all these reasons, constant training and onboarding are crucial.
*120-fold increase translates to 11,900% increase or tens of thousands of new downloads