COVID-19 Cybersecurity Measures for Remote Workforce & Businesses

The Covid-19 pandemic has effected a significant change in the business world, influencing a new work environment for most companies, giving rise to adopting new policies and work strategies.

 “Information is a significant component of most organizations’ competitive strategy either by the direct collection, management, and interpretation of business information or the retention of Information for day-to-day business processing. Some of the more obvious results of IS failures include reputational damage, placing the organization at a competitive disadvantage, and contractual noncompliance. These impacts should not be underestimated.”― The IIA Research Foundation

With the alarming rate of cybersecurity threats in the business system today, it is the responsibility of business owners to set up cybersecurity measures in place for their organizations, while acclimatizing to the new work environment, policies, and technology.

How to ensure Cybersecurity for Businesses Operating Virtually?

In an article in The Brussels Times, “The national center for cyber-security (CCB) has issued a warning of a ‘tsunami’ of fraudulent text messages expected to be sent to phones in Belgium over the coming days. “We have received information from a reliable source that in the coming days, maybe even weeks, a smishing campaign will be launched against our country,” said Miguel De Bruycker, head of the CCB, the government agency responsible for the security of the internet.”

Businesses worldwide are susceptible to this kind of threat. While it is difficult to anticipate the extent of the impact, it is urgent on those many small and medium businesses in the US and abroad to get their basics right. And here are the three most necessary steps.

1.   Look out for potential cyber threats- As a business owner, it is your responsibility and your organization’s security team to protect the most sensitive Information and analytic application of your business, clients, and employees. Ensure you go over your security networks frequently to identify imminent threats that may arise due to the new work-from-home policy.

2.   Provide clear instructions and encourage adequate communication- Each employee under your organization is expected to adopt the new home-working policies, including setting up a more secure network. Hence, it is ideal that your security team makes these policies clear, concise, and easy to follow. The policies should also include encouraging the employees to call up the organization’s security teams for help if they suspect an imminent cybersecurity threat.

3.   Adopt the usage of appropriate security capabilities- as a business owner, it is your responsibility to equip all work devices (corporate or managed) with the right security capabilities. The best practices adopted at the workplace for network security should also be extended to all employees’ home workspace.

“As security or firewall administrators, we’ve got basically the same concerns [as plumbers]: the size of the pipe, the contents of the pipe, making sure the correct traffic is in the correct pipes, and keeping the pipes from splitting and leaking all over the place. Of course, like plumbers, when the pipes do leak, we’re the ones responsible for cleaning up the mess, and we’re the ones who come up smelling awful…” — Marcus J. Ranum.

Examples of Cybersecurity Capabilities to Consider

  • Connect users to a secure network that is business-critical and requires them to be on-premise (in their workspace) to access some business applications.
  • Create an Endpoint, server, and device security (ESDS)
  • Initiate system administration (SA) such as network isolation, visualization, and storage area network (SAN) management and/or multi-factor authentication for system administrators.
  • Network security such as software-defined networking (SDN), secure socket layer (SSL) intercept, virtual private networking (VPN), and internet protocol security (IPSec)

How to ensure Cybersecurity for Remote Workforce?

As employees in an organization, it is on you, as an individual, to rightly follow the guideline policies provided to prevent threats. 

1.  Secure your Wi-Fi network- Be careful of the kind of connections you give your Wi-Fi network. Ensure to change your Wi-Fi default settings to avoid unwanted parties invading your network.

2.  Change passwords regularly- Apart from having a secure/complex password on your networks, switching up and changing them frequently is necessary.

3. Install and update the software- on your work devices as they become available. Also, do not mix your work devices for personal matters and vice versa.

4. Protect your network- against malicious domains and phishing emails by using a virtual private network. This will provide a trusted connection for you and keep you hidden from malware attacks.

To have a robust defense mechanism against cybersecurity concerns, a 360 view & risk quantification helps improve security insight, agility, and remediation path. Risk quantification guides cybersecurity teams to predict risks and make legitimate investments to mitigate the higher financial impact.

We have to be ready with a mindset that the pandemic or its consequences will be long-term. A wellformed cybersecurity team in complete vigilance and necessary access to strategies and equipment can hold businesses’ remote work community against odds. If this sounds a matter of concern, do not hesitate to reach out to us

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