The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the whole world in crisis mode. With no end in sight, fear and urgency experienced by most people have given rise to opportunities for cyberattacks. The nature of remote work has provided hackers and cybercriminals avenues for malicious activities. Applications like remote access trojans (RAT), for example, have become a focal point of threat campaigns; when installed, the RAT can capture and manipulate sensitive data on employee computers, as well as perform spying activities.
Unfortunately, poorly secured home networks and connected devices leave organizations offering WFM at risk of phishing, ransomware, and other threats. The situation requires businesses to step up to the challenge and rethink their existing cybersecurity strategy.
So, here are three things you should consider in the post-pandemic environment:
Prepare your budget
This year, cybersecurity budgets face new and unexpected costs. With the work from home (WFH) situation, organizations struggle to protect remote staff from a wider, more dynamic threat landscape. You’ll need to factor in threat assessment and insurance for your budgets, for one. It’s best to pay for resource upgrades and staff training as well. Additional training, with up-to-date tools, can teach staff how to keep themselves and the company’s digital assets safe; otherwise, you’ll end up paying for their mistakes.
If a business hasn’t been hit by a major cyber incident (that it knows of), it will probably be hard to push executives to invest in a larger cybersecurity spend. Present the board with a real-life ransomware incident and walk them through how a similar attack can affect the company. They can ask questions about tools and contingency plans, allowing you to propose the strategy you have in mind. Then get them to sign off on the finances.
Consult with industry experts
Naturally, you need to talk to cybersecurity experts and IT professionals who have updated knowledge on cybersecurity trends and threats. Increasingly sophisticated hackers and malicious actors are using nation-state tools to engage in criminal activities. Moreover, they are highly skilled in sneaking into systems, staying in systems, and erasing their tracks without detection. Unless you’re thinking like a cybercriminal, it would be very hard to understand their approach.
Remember, you’re facing human minds — not just computers — so your team needs to consider other perspectives as well. Experts who have a forensic psychology degree, in particular, could offer useful insights into how hackers and cybercriminals operate. They are able to anticipate how a malicious actor may plan to infiltrate your systems. Data protection officers also know the best practices to protect data on a large scale. Their insights could help your business better protect client information.
Focus on device and network protection
Most WFH staff have little choice but to use their personal devices and home networks to get the job done. Unfortunately, sensitive information and personal technology don’t really mix well. The longer people stay out of the office, the more likely they do company business on personal devices. They may not have up-to-date software or passwords to keep company assets safe. They may also use poorly secured Wi-Fi networks.
Companies should furnish employees with tools like VPN, antivirus software, customized firewalls, and licenses just like on employer-managed devices. While the shift to cloud-based computing improves productivity, many software applications serve as potential attack points. Providing employees with the right tools to protect their identity, and keep the line between personal and professional, should be the priority of every business today.