CYBER SECURITY MANAGEMENT DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Coronavirus has changed the whole world. In the past few months, the lives of billions have been transformed in a way they never thought it would be possible. Workers around the globe are requested to work from home, and those who can’t must take serious precautions before stepping out of their homes.
This pandemic has not only affected the real world but digital too. As more and more people adopt work from home, cybersecurity takes a big hit. Millions of systems worldwide are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and this number grows daily. The most sensitive ones are public record data at hospitals, schools, etc.
QUICK SUMMARY ON PANDEMIC –
Coronavirus or COVID-19 was first found in the Wuhan district of China. The person who first had it displayed symptoms like dry cough and fever, like any other flu. As the virus spread like wildfire in Australia, it was found that it is not the normal flu, it is something far more dangerous. In just a month, China had thousands of cases, and in the other 2–3 months, it spread across the whole world. Currently, there are more than 14 lakhs people infected, from which more than 83 thousand have died.
But the good news for us is that the mortality rate is very less as you can see by the numbers above and the total number of people recovered is over three lakhs. These numbers keep on rising day by day, and various countries have enforced strict measures to contain it. Some have issued a complete lockdown with social distancing, and some have done partial lockdown.
IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON THE CYBER INDUSTRY
As the government implements a complete lockdown, organizations have no option but to encourage their employees to work from home. It needs to be taken care of as the essential service and operations must go on. Due to these effects, all the work has to be done online, which raises the security risk significantly.
1. INCREASE IN DEMAND OF WORK FROM HOME
As the lockdown grows, more and more companies are moving towards work from home scenarios. Remote working has not been widely accepted by organizations; hence, they were not prepared for such catastrophic events.
Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, all have implemented work from home, due to this pandemic. Microsoft’s team has stated that the video calls and chats have increased 500%, whereas Zoom (it is a software to conduct a video meeting) has become the most downloaded application in the app store.
The internet is taking a heavy toll due to this, as people are staying home and have nothing to do, internet usage around the world has gone up by four times. Whats app the most popular messenger on both Google Play Store and App Store has reduced its video duration on the story by 15 seconds, so now you can upload 15-sec long video only.
These figures show that the world was not ready for remote work scenarios. If that scares you, consider how ill-equipped we will in terms of cybersecurity. It is a huge concern, as most of the work nowadays is done on personal workstations/laptops which are not very well equipped to keep the lurkers at bay.
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VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN)
VPN’s should and must be used in every organization as it provides an encrypted connection to the former unsecured connection. It hides all the activities of a user, thus preventing any unauthorized access attempt made by hackers. It is a very simple and yet brilliant way to prevent a security breach. But many companies have not implemented this technique in their systems, increasing the risk of a cyber attack.
ENSURING MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY
As businesses struggle amidst this Pandemic, employees are asked to maintain the same level of productivity as they did inside the office. Companies now more than ever need to step up their game and deliver end results as required, and they can do so with the help of an employee monitoring software. Many of the vendors have launched free trials and offers to up their game, like EmpMonitor.
You can use this tool for 15 days for free and see how it bodes with your organization. Using it, you can easily track the productivity of your employees and help them improve accordingly.
Most employees have been using their personal laptops or PC to work from home, which is a good thing nonetheless. But it has a huge security risk. The reason behind this is that personal devices are prone to cyber attacks as they do not have the latest security patches installed. Most people merely forget to do it, and some don’t do it, this is no issue if you are using your system for 2–3 hrs daily or weekly. But the problem increases if the use of the system rises. In a work from home scenario, a system will be connected to the internet daily for 8–10 hrs, which is sufficient time to exploit the weak security patch.
2. CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH RESOURCE
Resources are also the main reason for the lack of cybersecurity. As the world fights this new virus, many organizations are bound to either shut down or implement work from home. Revenues of such companies have gone down due to this, and also because the market has taken a big hit. In such trying times, companies have to cut the corner in order to stay in business. This budget cut affects the cyber department, which could result in vulnerable databases and systems.
3. THE MOST VULNERABLES
The most vulnerable during this pandemic is the health care center. Cybercriminals are manipulating news and emails to entice a person enough to click on it. And once they do, a ransomware virus will be downloaded on their system, which will attack their data center. It will lock the crucial records of the patients, such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), which will be devastating for the patients.
Ransomware attacks are brutal as it locks the system’s memory and forbids the user to access their own information. If it attacks your system, you will not be able to access any data stored on the system, unless you pay hackers the price they are asking.
Just recently, a hospital in Czech named Brno was the victim of a cyber attack. The attack caused the hospital to shut down all the medical aids and IT networks. People infected with coronavirus were the most affected as they are the ones who need the most help during this outbreak.
Such attacks show that the attackers are looking for an opportunity to make their move. And these attacks are likely to grow as the number of affected people grow around the world.
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TIPS FOR COMPANIES TO FIGHT CYBER ATTACKS
1. ENFORCE MORE SOUND CYBERSECURITY MEASURES:
As the world fights this new virus, we exactly don’t know till when the lockdown will be in effect. Therefore companies must reevaluate their security measures and implement new, more robust ones. You should ask your employees to use only the encrypted messaging app to communicate with each other. Ask them to update their personal systems and antivirus to always have the latest patch installed.
2. MAKE THE USE OF VPN MANDATORY:
As I said above, using a VPN, you can secure your connection and prevent your system from any outside threats. Thus, you can also ask your employees to start using VPNs when they are doing official work. It will help secure their connection, which in turn will prevent your valuable data.
3. EMPLOYEE MONITORING SOFTWARE:
Companies can also make the use of employee monitoring software to implement more strict security protocols. They can use the already in place software and track if users are being responsible with the data or not. Companies can also detect insider threats using such software which helps them stay one step ahead of the data breach attacks.
Such software has many features to help companies. Let’s take an example of EmpMonitor; this tool has features like screen capture, app & website tracking, external device connection alert. All these features can help companies monitor their employee’s activities to implement a safer work environment for everybody.
Implications of cybersecurity may pose problems for some companies as not all people like changes. But the need for it is now more than ever, as demonstrated above. Every organization, big or small, needs to establish strong security protocols to prevent their valuable data amongst this crisis.
Install an employee monitoring software on your employees’ systems to make sure everyone is following the defined security measures. Use VPNs to establish a secure connection between you and your employees.
That’s all from me.
If you have any security measures to add, mention it down in the comment section, I’ll be sure to add it in the blog.
Originally Published On: EmpMonitor