With Singapore and many countries around the world start to re-open their economy gradually after weeks and months of lockdown, how are businesses responding to the new normal in terms of cybersecurity?
The Current Landscape
Since the pandemic hit us, many businesses are forced to accommodate many changes, and one of them is telecommuting or Working From Home. Even after the circuit breaker is lifted, many businesses will continue this new way of working for safety reasons. According to Gartner, 74% of companies intend to keep at least 5% of their previously on-site employees in remote work positions following the pandemic due to the financial benefits
This means a few things. One, business activities will be conducted online. Two, businesses will need to provide the necessary software, hardware devices and solutions for their employees to work from home such as laptops, access to data and systems in the cloud; which brings us to the next point.
Upgrade and Investment in Technology
The rapid adoption of new technology to enable working from home and moving businesses operations online has put a considerable amount of strain on IT departments and security teams to ensure the safety of these new tools while. This sudden shift to a more digital operation has revealed gaps in many businesses. Many are not able to keep up with the change due to outdated technology and systems. According to the WEF, the increase in work-from-home (WFH) arrangements has also expanded the use of potentially vulnerable services, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) that lack adequate safeguards, amplifying the threat to individuals and organisations.
Now that businesses have all the new solutions for remote working, what are the implications?
As the pandemic accelerated adoption of technology, it also increased cyber-risks for businesses. It has created new opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of the increase in coronavirus-themed phishing emails, misconfigurations in rapidly adopted technologies and so on. Suddenly, business leaders must ensure that business networks stay secure with almost all their employees working from home and with sensitive data being accessed from different places.
As a result, many organisations are increasing their spending on cybersecurity. Cybersecurity spending is the top IT priority this year, with 68% of major organisations, both public and private, have plans to increase their cybersecurity investments in response to the pandemic.
How can businesses secure their infrastructure?
Getting up to speed with cybersecurity policies and processes
Perform a risk assessment on critical processes and review remote working policies with a focus on cybersecurity. In the rush to support remote work, employees may have turned to a wide variety of publicly available online applications to communicate and share information with their colleagues. Now would be a good time to identify the software needs of employees, reassess software, services, and platforms that are being used, and set policies around software that is sanctioned for company use.
Employees need to be more aware of how they access data and the current threat landscape such as common phishing techniques, precautions when working from public spaces.
Regularly check for vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities should be patched as soon as possible, especially systems that have access to company data because they may be exploited by cybercriminals. Now that things are up and running, it’s time to consider a security audit. Likely, some of these devices are not compliant with organizational security policies. Some devices may be unpatched or installed with outdated operating systems.
FREE Cybersecurity Tools
The pandemic has taught many of us to become better prepared to face unexpected scenarios. Take simple steps. Here are some free resources that may guide your business to the new economy.
1. Pragma FREE IT Security Health Check – Are there any vulnerabilities in your network that can give way to attackers? This non-invasive security test offers a snapshot of your IT security in a tailored report with recommendations. Get your report within 2 working days by a simple sign up via email with Pragma’s security specialist.
2. Right-Hand Cybersecurity Free Cyber Training – Educate your employees on how to be more cyber ready when working from home. Our partner, Right-Hand Cybersecurity is offering free cybersecurity training to help businesses secure themselves during this period.