The Coronavirus crisis has changed the world as we know it. With social distancing, lockdowns, and work from home becoming the “new normal,” cybercriminals are exploiting the situation for many businesses that were caught off-guard in regards to their newfound digital environments.
One of the reasons for a sudden spike in cybercrime is that the work-from-home model is increasingly becoming the norm, while many are not adopting the strategies necessary to protect their digital space. When you allow remote access to your data without adequate safeguards, you are essentially opening your I.T. infrastructure to criminals. It is easy for malware and hackers to get into your system and corrupt it unless you have the right measures in place, which we will go into today.
With employees operating from home, there many loopholes that cybercriminals target. Some of these lapses in cybersecurity them include:
Lack of Knowledge
Most employees don’t realize how their simple actions or non-actions can permit a cyberattack that can bring your whole business down. This extends from I.T. critical personnel to employees who are simply accessing their emails from unsecured devices.
It is More Difficult to Oversee I.T. Operations
With teams working remotely, it is difficult for businesses to manage their I.T. effectively. Installation of security patches, anti-malware tools, data backups, etc., are all more difficult now that employees are using their home devices to access secure documents and data.
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Business is Not a Victim of Cybercrime During Work-From-Home?
Does increased risk mean that the work-from-home model is not viable? Not at all! Many business leaders are contemplating a permanent work-from-home model even after the Coronavirus situation ends, as the benefits of the model are now clear to them—it offers plenty of flexibility, employee satisfaction and helps save on overhead costs.
You can still have a remote workforce while keeping your data safe. There are just a few things to consider before you move to a total digital migration for your WFH staff and equipment:
You can start by formulating rules that define the extent and manner in which personal devices may be used for work purposes. Who is allowed to use personal devices for work? Once that is established, spell out the regulations they must follow and implement extra factors such as two-factor authentification. Regular checks for malware and updates to anti-malware software will be much more complicated than if all devices were networked under your company’s roof, but you should implement the process nonetheless.
If there are restrictions to the device type, software, or operating systems you may use due to security concerns, these should be addressed.
Focus On the 2 Ts of Cybersecurity
Train your Staff
The first T is training your staff on identifying I.T. threats and cybercrime activities that they can be a victim of or unwittingly perpetuate. Examples include phishing emails, suspicious attachments, clone sites, etc.
Another area to train your staff about is the use of free/public wifi. They need to know that public wifi can be a gateway for hackers and cybercriminals into your system. Accessing emails from the airport’s waiting lounge or the mall’s food court can expose your business to I.T. threats.
Installing and pushing updates for antivirus software can only address some of the safety concerns. Clean online practices are required for everything else.
Teach Good Password Hygiene
This is the second T. Help your employees understand how vital password strength is and what good password development looks like. They should be able to identify weak passwords and steer clear of them. Additionally, they need to know that password sharing is unacceptable, no matter how urgent the situation may seem. Similarly, mistakes such as repeating the password for multiple accounts or not changing the passwords frequently can make a cybercriminal’s job much easier.
Keeping Things Under Control
Control practices are more proactive, as you can conduct monthly audits of the devices your employees will be using for work purposes.
Arrange for regular security patch implementation, firewall installation, and software updates. Require the installation of quality anti-malware software, firewalls, and email security systems on all devices. Even in the remote environment, you can ensure appropriate data access through role- and permission-based access control measures.
With a firm I.T. policy that caters to the work-from-home environment, you can make this new everyday work for you and your remote team. However, it is essential to define the policies clearly and put them into practice.
All of this may seem new, time-consuming, and tedious—especially for businesses looking to recover from the effects of the ongoing pandemic. This apprehension is why it is a good idea to work with a managed services provider to help set up a robust, secure, work-from-home environment for your business.
Tier 3 I.T. Services design, implement, and train on hardware and human solutions that foster safe digital environments. We are happy to walk you through the steps necessary for success today and tomorrow when it comes to your digital workplace. Get in touch with us today to get started!