In response to COVID-19, countless workforces have moved out of the office and into the socially-distanced confines of their homes. The influx of remote workers has been a transition for both employees and organizations, but perhaps the most significant impact has been a notable increase in cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the situation.
From phishing emails to malicious domains and even reports of apps that give hackers access to personal data on users’ phones, the cyber threats to remote employees (and the public in general) are many. Now, more than ever, organizations need to ensure security isn’t just the responsibility of the IT team, but a mission woven throughout the organization.
Identify and Know Your Vulnerabilities
Understanding your organization’s security weak spots is a critical first step towards protecting them. Business leaders and IT teams should work together to spot these threats as soon as possible. Depending on your organization’s infrastructure, that could be personal devices (laptops and mobile devices) or home wifi networks.
Once you’ve assessed these threats, develop policies to fortify these weak points. That could be something as significant as changing to a more secure gateway for employees to connect to your company’s network or fortifying your firewall — or as grassroots as introducing new policies for mobile device use. Additional critical capabilities to keep in mind include:
- Secure user connections to business-critical cloud and on-premise applications (e.g. video conferencing)
- Secure laptops and mobile devices, including VPN tools with encryption
- Multi-factor authentication
- Firewall protection to block malware, filter malicious domain URLs, and prevent common phishing attacks
Give Employees the Tools and Support They Need
The most critical piece of effectively boosting security is gaining the participation of your whole team. Security policies that aren’t clearly communicated and followed are worthless. So make sure you share these policies throughout your organization and confirm everyone understands their critical role in keeping your business’ network safe.
Having a best practices resource that is easily accessible to all employees can help ensure that company policies are being adhered to. These documented policies are key to keeping security top of mind for your entire organization while they’re working from home or on-site. Best practices may vary depending on your organization’s needs, but make sure they include:
- Regular password updates
- Protocols to keep systems and software up to date.
- Secure WiFi access points (i.e., regularly changing default settings and passwords to reduce the potential impact of an attack via other connected devices)
- Keeping work and personal devices separate (when possible)
Finally, make sure employees know to be wary of COVID-19 scams. As despicable as it may sound, cybercriminals often exploit crises, so make sure employees are aware and prepared. Ultimately a plan and common sense will keep companies secure during these difficult times.
Having the right IT knowledge and support will be crucial to navigate the uncertain days ahead. CentriLogic is here to help, so please feel free to contact one of our experts here.