Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, equipping workers to work from home has allowed organizations worldwide to sustain operations, but it has also unleashed a new wave of security threats. This situation has created many cybersecurity gaps in critical organizational infrastructure.
Interpol has reported an “alarming” rate of cyberattacks targeting significant businesses, governments, and critical infrastructure. Phishing, malware, ransomware, and other intrusion attempts are on the rise, and security breaches, including financial losses, have reportedly been incurred by 20% of organizations.
In certain instances, the issue arises from vulnerabilities related to home-based work. The security safeguards of corporate-issued endpoints and business firewalls ignore personal devices and home networks. Intelligent speakers, home monitors, and another home network-attached Internet of Things devices add to the risk, opening new doors for cybercriminals to exploit. So has the near-universal use of instruments for cloud security.
The move to a remote workforce has exacerbated long-standing security problems in other situations. For example, the rapid transition to new cloud services has increased the risk of configuration errors, considered the biggest cloud security threat. Remote data transmission explosion has multiplied opportunities to infiltrate poorly secured virtual private networks (VPNs). Meanwhile, the lack of cybersecurity experts has complicated the process of securing both emerging and current threats from corporate networks.
Bolstering cybersecurity has become much more important than before the pandemic, with today’s ‘new standard’ ratcheting up the threat level. Here are five protective steps that can help IT teams minimize cyberattacks’ risk and harm the company. Although you might think that your company once had these areas under control, due to the changing nature of our modern landscape, the fact is that it may no longer be valid. Consequently, by taking these steps to ensure and overcome cybersecurity gaps, any company can reevaluate its approach:
Conduct A Risk assessment To Overcome Cybersecurity Gaps
Knowing where your remediation efforts should be centred includes finding the most significant vulnerabilities in your protection fabric. This can be done either internally or with an outside expert’s aid by conducting a risk assessment. In essence, the method is a security health check that covers hardware devices, software, network connections, user authentication systems, data classification and storage, and other components and policies of IT. Depending on the risk level, any vulnerabilities found through this study may be prioritized and used to build a roadmap to improve security.
Organize a Risk Assessment To Overcome Cybersecurity Gaps
What is an open floor plan is what most business networks have. Without going through various doors, workers can accomplish whatever they need (technically speaking, routers or firewalls). This “flat” network allows an opponent who gains access to a user’s machine to wander on a quest for valuable data freely and then stage an attack to steal it from the relevant servers.
By creating various sub-networks or, to continue the analogy, locked rooms, switching to a ‘segmented’ network will dramatically tighten security. Routers, firewalls, permissions, and other security mechanisms that thwart the initiative, significantly reducing the risk of disclosure, will face an obstacle course for those seeking sensitive information.
Rethink Your Passwords Plan
The weakest link in the security chain has long been passwords, making them a leading cause of data breaches. Before and after the pandemic, the growth in cloud services further decreased their value by taking away the protections of a corporate network in authenticating users. Depending on the device and how it’s architected, password-based identity management tools can also make it difficult for remote workers to access business applications.
Taken together, these disadvantages present a good case for a switch to multifactor authentication being contemplated. It can go a long way towards toughening your security role by requiring more than one form of authentication to prove a user’s identity, whether a fingerprint, PIN, security token or any number of other options.
Implement Educational and Awareness Programs for Workers
Even in the best of times, adhering to security best practices can be challenging for workers, but working remotely will increase the risk of letting their guard down. Users are more likely to click on a spearfishing email when distracted by taking a jogging break, assisting kids with e-learning, or managing other family duties at home. They might also be unaware of the need for password hardening on their home networks or the risks of working-related behaviours using their personal computers.
A significant protection line against malicious actors targeting remote employees may be security awareness initiatives, such as sending frequent fake phishing emails to warn workers about various phishing techniques.
Be prepared for crises.
If there is something that the pandemic has taught us, tragedy may hit at any moment and from the most unlikely locations. This is as true of cyberattacks as it is of public health emergencies. It suggests that IT teams need to be equipped to handle and resolve cybersecurity incidents regardless of their source.
When and if cybercriminals strike, performing dress rehearsals for various scenarios can help minimize downtime and damage. These “tabletop exercises” include gathering key staff to speak about policies, duties, and other incident response problems. These simulations may save $2 million in response costs, by some estimates.
Furthermore, make sure that the crisis management strategy is up to date. Who is going to warn the regulators and authorities? Talk with the press? Set the Remediation Wheels in motion? This is as critical an aspect of risk management as implementing the technology to keep the information secure.
Threat actors will still be with us, but Covid-19 has raised the stakes on security professionals’ front lines. As companies prioritize business change, security programs that could have been on the back burner now need to be greenlighted to strengthen security hygiene and stop attackers in their tracks.
Executives and corporate boards understand that security investments are crucial in today’s climate. And for companies everywhere, that’s good news.