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Covid-19 Pandemic – Work From Home Cybersecurity Risks & Preventive Measures

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“There are cyber threats out there, this is a dangerous world, and we have to be safe, we have to secure no matter the cost.” – Edward Snowden

The entire globe is under the Covid-19 attack and there is no choice for all but to start working from home. Of course, except for some brave countrymen who are still serving us all on the front. A big thanks to them!

For us all, as a proactive measure to curb the virus, the apt solution is social distancing and for working people, it is WFH – “Work from Home”, a terminology that has never been so popular or has never garnered so much attention. We are all stuck onto that – working remotely.

It does have many positives, undoubtedly, why otherwise would we all be adapting this work model? Being able to work, offer productivity and results sitting in our secluded premises, being in touch with all virtually maintaining a physical distance – that is what is WFH.

But, have we ever analyzed what could be possibly happening on the cybersecurity front when there are numerous network connectivity talking to each other? With so many devices, OS, infrastructure on the go, there could be so much happening – good and bad.

Is the data safe? Is the network protected? Are there cybersecurity threats? How is the entire coagulation of connectivity across the globe protected?

These questions are surely worrisome. And for sure, there must be unwanted things happening across the cybersecurity network.

What could possibly be happening?

Cybersecurity at Risk – Key Challenges & Threats

With the WFH model working all around the globe, here are some of the most common cybersecurity challenges/threats that could occur and create havoc:

  • Lack of authentication and authorization
  • Unsecured WiFi networks
  • Usage of personal devices and networks
  • Monitoring access controls
  • Malicious campaigns
  • Increased cyber-attacks, phishing attacks, malware
  • Widened the organization attack surface
  • Security cracks
  • Lack of physical protection
  • Noncompliance of organizational standards
  • Internet availability and speed
  • Concurrent number of VPN connections

We better be prepared!

How Best To Ensure Complete Cybersecurity In A WFH Environment?

Offer Extensive Training To Employees On Organizational And Cybersecurity Policies

As employees face a new way of working, they need to be well trained in the details of what rules and regulations the organization follows and so do the cybersecurity policies. Employees need to understand that though they have chosen their comfort zone depending upon circumstances, it is their duty not to let the security aspect compromise even a little. That can be perceived only when they are trained well enough and in advance.

Manage Asset Inventory Effectively

Now that you know the new model of working, it is a must to have a comprehensive asset inventory plan in place. It is vital to know what IT assets are present, who all are accessing the network, what is the current security process and is there enough budget to adhere to the security services.

Have Proper Access Management Process in Place

It is very important that the right stakeholders have the authority to retrieve the organization’s assets at an appropriate time and place. This has a vital role in ensuring the implementation of security policies at an apt time. Identity management and access management must be managed effectively, ensuring secure user authentication and verification through various mechanisms. Multiple norms like GDPR and HIPAA are competent enough to ensure a thorough access management procedure in place.

Assess Risks Accurately And Prepare A Mitigation Plan

Identifying risk areas, understanding the pain points, preparing for avoiding them and if encountered, solving them is a key area to focus on. Risks could be of different genre and treatment of those vary based on its nature. It is essential to understand those and prepare a thorough mitigation plan.

Follow Predefined Norms, It Helps

Need be or no need, it must be essential for organizations to perform certain activities to maintain a healthy cyberspace. Activities could include regular backup routine, deployment of firewalls and routers, regular antivirus update, searching for malicious users, execute vulnerability scans, implement strong password policies etc.

Leverage Multi-factor / Two-factor Authentication

One popular mechanism to ensure cybersecurity is multi-factor authentication. It has been a proven model since long and preferred by many. It offers an additional layer of security that helps big time in ensuring a comprehensive cybersecurity. Offering an added layer of protection comes two-factor authentication or two-step verification in the form of an email confirmation or biometric ways like face recognition or using a USB device.

Utilization Of Virtual Private Network (VPN)

To cross geographical bindings, most users use VPN as a preferred choice. VPN makes way for your data via a server lying at a place that is opted by you. It also helps in maintaining privacy information that exists online by encrypting it, so that the malicious intent of cyber criminals isn’t sufficed.

Create Firewalls And Protect Your Data

As the name suggests, firewall is an apt mechanism that act as a strong obstacle between your gadget and the network by shutting ports to transmission. It directly helps cyber attacks from entering the periphery of the system and harming it.

Run And Update Antivirus Software Regularly

One very common and successful way of stopping malware from entering your system is to install and execute antivirus software on a regular basis. If the antivirus is modern-day and latest, it is sure to stop most malicious attacks from happening.

Update Applications On A Regular Manner

Simply installing apps isn’t enough. To secure its usage and your system, it is essential to keep installing updates on a regular basis. These updates may involve patches that will encompass security risks and its associated effects. It can be directed to run routinely to save on time.

Take Regular Backup Of Data

However protective we are, there are chances of lapses and hence, harm to information. Hence, being safe is being practical. Taking regular backup of data is what helps the most. This assures safety of data amongst the many reasons for cyberattacks. Backup could be on different physical media like CD, DVD, hard drive, pen drive but the latest technology speaks of cloud-based storage.

Keep Eye On Phishing And Unwanted Emails

A very common way for cybercriminals to harass someone is to send phishing messages. Employees working from home need to be very alert while opening any email message that is suspicious, looks unwanted and harmful. These messages can turn dangerous in terms of reaching out to private data of organization.

Leverage Encryption Logic

Use secure methods of communicating with other colleagues and for that utilize the encryption-based communication techniques. There are many secure encryption logic techniques that can be used by all to communicate with each other. That leaves a lot of security within the entire network.

Ensure WiFi Security At Home

When we talk about work from home, the most preferred internet technology is WiFi and hence that needs a protected periphery. There are chances of proximity locations to tamper your network and hence, it needs a lot of security.

Hoping For The Best, Prepared For The Worst

Cybersecurity is amongst the vital concerns globally, especially when the world is working on their own, from their own space, yet attempting to offer the best of productivity and security. We just hope the global concern for Covid-19 gets razed soon and we are back to our office spaces. But till then, let us work safe, secure and happy!

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