Updated: May 21, 2020
The year 2020 will go down in history not only as the time of pandemic but also working remotely or home working. Time will tell if businesses could be ready to allow staff to work from home more permanently. There is a good reason most large organizations house sensitive data within their local network environment, to resist cyber attacks.
The year 2020 will go down in history not only as the time of pandemic but also working remotely or home working. Time will tell if businesses could be ready to allow staff to work from home more permanently. There is a good reason most large organizations house sensitive data within their local network environment, to resist cyber attacks. Most medium to large scale businesses employs a full team of IT professionals who lay a complex infrastructure of on-premise servers sitting behind an array of firewalls, routers, switches, virtual machines, VLANs and even cloud-based security measures. While much of this infrastructure supports on-site operations and not necessarily the role of common vocations such as accounts, Human Resources, Sales or Marketing; a crucial part of the infrastructure is the security measures put in place to protect the integrity of your organization's infrastructure environment and crucial data. We can all agree on one thing: If you leave your house door open, sooner or later someone is going to go inside and have a look around. Hopefully, that person is your next-door neighbour, a concerned friend or even the police. But it could just as likely be someone ill-intentioned. A criminal mind is criminal after all, and an easy opportunity is always too good not to let go. Which brings us to the elephant in the room when it comes to working from home, is it secure enough to resist a cyber attack during lockdown?
2019 saw a significant increase in cyber-attacks compared to 2018, a trend that has seen a consistent increase without fail. More data stolen, more costs incurred, and it is only going to get worse during lockdown, and this is with cybersecurity measures in place within business organizations. Working from home is necessary and is vital in 2020; we cannot afford to allow the pandemic to get much worse. But cybersecurity measures at most homes are minimal or simply non-existent. The prime minister of Canada, CEOs of fortune 500 companies, are sending and receiving essential data form the comfort of their own homes during this lockdown period. The staff that can work from home from departments such as marketing, human resources and accounting also have access to critical personal and organizational data. Worst of all, companies are cutting costs, so even if your IT department insists on upgrading security measures, there isn't any money to pay for it. Cyber attack perpetrators know this too.
Companies might need to reconsider their priorities; the damage implication of a cyber attack can be far more destructive than we can imagine. A giant leak of personal data can quickly destroy the reputation and trust of an organization. Couple that with a foreseeable global recession at the end of this pandemic and during lockdown can indeed force most businesses into bankruptcy. The good news is, it is much easier to secure a small IT infrastructure than a larger one from cyber attacks. Here are a few examples:
VPN clients - Solutions in the market like NordVPN and IPVanish have been in the market for years. They are very affordable solutions that can very quickly deter cyber attacks. As opposed to connecting directly to the internet, these VPN clients force your traffic to go through their secure and encrypted infrastructure. They are making it hard for would-be attackers to listen in on information sent to and from your computer, which quickly enables you to send sensitive emails and documents without fear of cyber attacks or interception of data.
Home firewall - There are many affordable plugs and play firewall solutions that cost less than an arm and a leg. We do say plug and play, but the installation can be a little complex. Installing a firewall is one thing, but what makes the difference are the policy settings within the firewall. Setting up whitelists that allow access to and from specific IP addresses and locations is a very effective way to secure your connection. The rest of the house can enjoy regular internet access if you plug the firewall in between your router and the computer you use for work. It is, however, more effective if the entire house is secured during lockdown, not just your computer.
Endpoint protection - These are antivirus software that protects multiple computers as opposed to one from cyber attacks. Most of these solutions are cloud-based and are very effective against threats like phishing emails and ransomware above all things. Ransomware and phishing attacks are the most common forms of attack employed by cybercriminals these days. Ransomware hijacks your computer, rendering either your computer useless or encrypting some of your essential files, and the only way to release them would be to pay a ransom. Phishing attacks are emails sent to look like an email coming from a person or organization you trust, tricking you into clicking on a link that would lead you to reveal essential data or download of a dangerous file. All of which is preventable with an endpoint protection software.
Preparation is critical, it is now or never. The best way to prepare for a cyber attack amid lockdown is to expect it. Some of the options given above does not involve much cost and saves much cost in the unforeseen future. Thank you for reading our article 'Businesses more prone to cyber attack amid lockdown' and we hope you have a beautiful day ahead.
Thank you for reading 'Businesses in lockdown prone to cyber-attacks' by IT Block. IT Block is an IT support services provider and a registered Google News source.