Importance of cybersecurity for the remote workforce – Post Covid

Importance of cybersecurity for the remote workforce

Cyberattacks are the most common and severe risk that businesses often face. This has been a prevailing thing over the past decade and will continue to do so in the future as well. The financial impacts and the unavailability of the workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic have only worsened the situation. Of late, with the restrictions being to stay home have been eased, companies are offering partial work from home options to the employees. Many companies like Facebook and Chargebee have started offering permanent work-from-home provisions as well.

Rapid technological advancements are playing a crucial part in bringing out both the effectiveness and risk of traditional cybersecurity trends. The remote work culture has expanded the threat surface for cyber-criminals to exploit. Moreover, many industries operate in complex fields like manufacturing and supply chain sectors. These companies have to mandatorily depend on external partners for their business operations, which profoundly increases the chances for cyberattacks. Unlike multi-million dollar companies, many of these companies do not have the luxury to maintain the same levels of cyber risk management. Nearly 80% of IT security leaders believe that most organizations do not have sufficient protection against cyberattacks.

To address the present challenges of cybersecurity in the virtual environment where people can work from anywhere they want, organizations must initially recognize the changes in the cyber risk management profile and develop suitable strategies, training and methods to address these challenges.

The present cyber scenario

In the present hybrid working environment, there are many factors that contribute to deciding the right cybersecurity methods for organizations. The 5 most important factors are as follows.

1) The increasing number of cyberattacks

Since the pandemic, companies with poor security measures have been greatly exploited by cybercriminals. The number of cybersecurity complaints received by the FBI on a daily basis has been increased to around 4000, which was only around 1000 in the pre-pandemic era. Healthcare, manufacturing, financial services and small industries are becoming highly prone to cyberattacks. It has been found that 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small industries and businesses.

2) Shiting infrastructures 

The new working environment and methods are maximizing the possibilities to exploit the vulnerabilities that exist in the present remote work infrastructure. According to a report, the security agencies in both the UK and US have found that cybercriminals aim at individuals or organizations particularly with malware. Additionally, with third-party partnerships and vendor management, the chances of cyber threats keep increasing.

3) Human-made errors 

Increasingly facing financial, personal and social challenges, human beings are gullible to easily fall prey to cyber threats. This often includes providing personal information to unknown sources. In fact, a vast majority of cyberattacks happen because of human-made mistakes.

4) Staff shortages

In the early pandemic times, companies had to enforce complete remote work for the sake of their employees. This greatly impacted the productivity and efficiency of business operations. Many organizations faced massive losses due to staff unavailability. Especially, the manufacturing and supply chain sectors where human intervention is inevitable. Even when businesses started leveraging technologies to reinitiate business operations, providing security could not be implemented as effectively.

5) Challenging environment

Security teams are working under a lot of pressure in a highly challenging and competitive environment. With multiple issues arising frequently due to changes in the working paradigm, the security teams are needed now more than ever. Many companies across various verticals are still finding their way back after experiencing huge losses caused as a result of the pandemic.

Updating cybersecurity risk profile

As mentioned earlier, many organizations are still maintaining work-from-home culture, some have adopted semi-remote work culture or a hybrid work culture to offer flexibility to their employees. These changes in the way of working require suitable cybersecurity risk profiles so that they can be easily managed, monitored and prioritized accordingly.

Identifying the potential entry points play a critical role in maintaining cybersecurity. Companies are now widely adopting digital solutions to keep up with the pace of the ever-growing business environment. The widespread adoption eventually puts software development firms under pressure to develop solutions at a faster rate. This, then allows only a little amount of time to test the products. These inadequately tested technologies or products like customer service platforms or payment gateways become highly prone to cyber threats.

To overcome these challenges, it is essential to have teams of experts in various fields like risk management, security and business analysis. These teams can work together to analyze the cybersecurity budgets, investments, etc and ensure the resilience of the company in terms of cyber risk management.

Adopting best practices and training methods

The immediate solution towards cybersecurity is to revise the existing risk guidelines, requirements and control over data access for employees. When it comes to adopting new tools for security, make sure to thoroughly examine them and understand the requirements to share and maintaining data with a third-party vendor. Organizations must also have readily available and robust data loss controls, traffic analytics tools and access restrictions. Ensure if the vendor has also taken considerable efforts to maintain security before partnering with them.

Depending on the needs, companies can adopt suitable strategies to keep up with the current trends. For instance, if the organization’s IT resources need to satisfy the market needs on a large scale, then, the organization can consider speeding up its cloud strategies.  Other ways to ensure cybersecurity are opting to adopt automation and powerful analytics to effectively improve the efficiency of security processes. It is important to know that the methods of improving cybersecurity are not a one-time thing. These are iterative processes that become more efficient over every iteration.

Once the new mechanisms are in effect, the employees have to be notified about the process and their roles in preventing, detecting, managing and recovering from cyberattacks.

Based on the roles, companies can provide customized exercises and training programs to the employees. These programs must contain information on new threats, devices that are in use and data access and reporting any suspicious activity. The management teams can undertake simulations for new cyber scenarios to identify any shortcomings in that particular method and find ways to improve it.

This operational shift is more likely to stay much longer even after the pandemic era. Adopting the right and effective cybersecurity practices and methods will not only protect businesses but also helps them in working smoothly without data compromises and financial losses.

Coder-Engineer in the works. Infinitely curious like a feline. Would like to know what’s beyond the singularity someday.
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Coder-Engineer in the works. Infinitely curious like a feline. Would like to know what’s beyond the singularity someday.
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Coder-Engineer in the works. Infinitely curious like a feline. Would like to know what's beyond the singularity someday.
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