With the Spread of the Pandemic, Cyber Security Is More Crucial than Ever

A recent report by McKinsey & Company has highlighted that the current epidemic has posed challenges to businesses in terms of ensuring security and business continuity. This is attributed to the various factors such as the increased prevalence of work-from-home (WFH) policies and the lack of robust security associated with remote connections, which present new opportunities for fraudsters to exploit.

In addition to technology risks, employees are exposed to other types of vulnerabilities. Stress, worry, and fear can make them susceptible to online fraud and phishing. Without basic cybersecurity training, such as identifying warning signs in emails and other communications, this susceptibility is further increased.

Due to the recent surge in workload caused by the pandemic and the necessity to provide remote working staff with secure technologies, IT support may be difficult to access. Utilizing IT outsourcing services, such as those provided by Works, could be one potential solution to this issue. Nevertheless, it is not the only option. In this article, we will discuss some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues and provide advice on how to bolster the security of your business.

More Potential Entry Points

Many businesses prior to the pandemic had implemented measures to help protect their networks from potential cyber-attacks, such as encasing them in a technological ‘fortress’ on their premises or implementing strict ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies. This level of security is now essential for a range of devices, including those used by employees who are working remotely.

It is likely that staff are accessing the company’s infrastructure from home using laptops and other unapproved devices. They may be connecting to corporate networks through unsecure methods, such as public Wi-Fi or an unprotected home connection. This presents a possible security risk as criminals could use these points of access to execute their malicious activities.

Many of the challenges that businesses have while implementing WFH arrangements are discussed in the video below.

A Reliance on Technology

The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on how we live and work, with many now relying heavily on the internet for their daily lives and careers. The World Economic Forum has commented that “Almost overnight, the internet has become the medium for successful human connection and the major method people use to work, contact, and support one another.

An attack on a company’s network could result in a complete disruption of operations, whereas an attack on a widely used platform or the underlying internet infrastructure could cause widespread disruption to activities such as ordering groceries online or attending virtual meetings. Data breaches could have serious, or even fatal, repercussions for organisations providing essential services, such as healthcare.

In the event of an attack on governments and organisations, the dissemination of critical information such as crisis updates and evacuation instructions may be hindered.

Threats From Emerging Weaknesses

It is understandable that people may feel overwhelmed during this time of crisis, and may find themselves making decisions based on their feelings rather than logical reasoning. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on many people, with huge numbers of people suffering from illness, job losses, financial worries, needing to work and care for children simultaneously, and so on.

It is conceivable that rational thought does not always prevail when employees are presented with frauds. For example, an overworked parent monitoring their child’s online learning from home may open a link in an email from an unidentified sender, which could allow malicious malware to enter their computer and, consequently, the organisation’s network.

Cybercriminals are aware of the potential weaknesses in security measures and are actively seeking to exploit these weaknesses by targeting victims with deceptive content, such as fraudulent coronavirus treatments or promises of quick riches.

If they haven’t had enough training in internet security, those who work from home may be much more of a target.

There Will Be Less Information Technology Maintenance

With these potential issues looming, IT departments may find themselves under immense pressure. Some of the challenges that these experts could potentially face in their job roles include, but are not limited to, working from home and managing the same emotional pressures as their colleagues in other departments.

It is possible for employees who are working from home to attempt to provide IT support for their company, even if they do not have the technical training. The results of this could be either beneficial or detrimental, depending on the individual’s abilities. Unfortunately, in the worst-case scenarios, incorrect installation of hardware or software, or failure to adhere to basic cybersecurity practices, can lead to cyber breaches that may go unnoticed or unresolved due to a lack of expertise.

Extra Safety Measures Should Be Taken

The good news is that there are many of things you can do to make a dent in these problems. Some suggestions to get you thinking:

  1. It is important to ensure that all staff who are working remotely are aware of the criticality of cyber security, the potential fallout of a breach, and the measures they can take to help prevent future attacks. These measures include:
    • Having robust passwords, particularly for home routers, is essential.
    • Updating all installed programs and software for maximum security
    • Taking precautions by not clicking on links in emails from unknown senders
    • Before receiving “help” from anybody claiming to be part of the company’s IT team, be sure you’ve checked with the real IT people.
  2. Patches should be updated more often inside the enterprise network, particularly for mission-critical systems like VPNs and cloud interfaces.
  3. Increase the frequency of identification checks for new hires. Increase security by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  4. Invest as much time and resources as possible into ensuring that all WFH employees have access to modern, authorized software and hardware.
  5. Network reinforcement is essential if your business offers a platform online, particularly one that serves fundamental services.
  6. Make sure your staff has somewhere to turn when they’re feeling overwhelmed or in need of mental health assistance.
  7. You should review your emergency procedures to make sure you have thorough back-up plans in place.

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