4 key steps to pandemic cybersecurity

By Sybil Andrea
Jun 4, 2020
3 min read
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The massive shift to remote work during the pandemic has brought significant challenges to businesses around the world. As companies transitioned to fully remote teams, many had to find new ways of working—and doing so securely in a digitally reimagined workplace. 

How do you keep your organization safe with dozens of devices accessing sensitive data from unsecured networks? And how do you fend off increasing digital threats amid the crisis? Here are four steps to protect your business during and after the lockdown.

Step 1—Secure your employees at home

Hardly any business across the world had factored a global pandemic into their long-term strategy. And few, if any, were prepared for the sudden overnight shift to remote work. 

Maintaining a robust network security infrastructure at the office can be a challenge in itself. But how do you do it with dozens of endpoints in different locations? Your employees are probably connecting from vulnerable home Wi-Fi networks and unsecured personal devices—some with potentially unpatched or outdated software. 

Clearly, rushed remote work models have introduced a major security risk into your daily organizational practices. The lack of endpoint visibility and access management systems leaves your business network open to cyber exploitation and attacks.

To prevent unauthorized access to valuable corporate data, businesses need an agile and cost-effective security solution. A great way to protect your employees during the lockdown is a remote access VPN. It encrypts data on all their devices and prevents cybercriminals from snooping on their online activities.

Step 2—Review your current software

Outdated hardware and software systems expose your business to a number of cybersecurity threats—from data breaches and leaks to malware and credential theft. 

With limited control over their employees’ remote work environment, businesses must implement a thorough security strategy to protect all connected user endpoints.

Do your coworkers have antimalware protection and VPN access on their devices? Is all their software up to date? Do they use secure apps with end-to-end encryption to communicate? 

Make sure that everyone in your team reviews their current cybersecurity tools and updates them if necessary.

Step 3—Keep accounts safe with robust passwords

Given that over 80% of hacking-related breaches are tied to weak or compromised credentials, password recycling remains one of the key obstacles to business network security. 

An average small business employee has to keep track of 85 passwords. Large businesses have it easier, having to manage ‘only’ 25. Remembering all of these is nearly impossible, so how do you ensure that each account password isn’t just ‘password123’?

Providing your team with a password manager is an excellent way to ensure that everyone is using complex, unique passwords. Layering your security with advanced password management solutions will also ensure the privacy and safety of your valuable business data. 

For enterprise-level protection, choose password managers with zero-knowledge architecture. Those encrypt your data before sending it to the server database. This way, no one—not even the service provider—can store or have access to the information in your personal vault. Even in the event of a data breach, your credentials will remain safe. 

Your employees should also enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Not only will it boost their email security, but it'll also add a robust layer of protection for your company’s internal resources.

Step 4—Start the digital safety conversation

Building a strong cybersecurity posture begins with your team. As the world grows more interconnected, it’s now more important than ever to foster a culture of cyber awareness in the workplace. 

Make sure your employees know how to protect their devices with a remote access VPN, and always use it while working out of the office. Train your staff how to spot phishing emails and what procedures to follow if one lands in their inbox. Introduce regular security training to educate your team about the dangers of social engineering and ransomware attacks.

Most importantly, if your business has a security policy in place, make sure your employees—especially new hires—read through it and follow the necessary security protocols.  

Keep your team informed about cyberthreats, digital hygiene, and why it’s essential. Your organization’s safety comes down to your employees and whether they actually follow the security procedures you establish.

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