Financial employee working from home on his company holding a security checklist

5 Cyber Security Lessons for Businesses In A Pandemic

In recent years, cybersecurity has become a serious topic of concern, especially since more businesses are migrating to the cloud or moving to a remote work environment. Cyber security might seem confusing or intimidating at first glance, but in reality it’s not as complex an issue as you may have been led to believe.

There are lesson both in life and in history that you can use to make safe cyber security choices in the future. You don’t have to leave everything to an IT consulting specialist or expert.

Marriott, Equifax, eBay, and even LinkedIn have all been subject to cyber-attacks. These attacks have only gotten more sophisticated over time but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to avoid. The problem most businesses have is that they don’t practice cyber hygiene and avoid cyber security best practices.

But now since the pandemic there are a whole new series of cyber security challenges to consider.

Lesson 1: Help employees understand risk

In spite of strong organizational controls employees working from must practice strong cyber security hygiene. Being cooped up at home has created a lot of stress for employees and employers alike. As a result people are more susceptible to social engineering attacks.

Employees might find themselves in positions where they aren’t being monitored as much as they would have been in an office setting. They might open up emails or click on links, engaging in activity that makes them vulnerable to other types of attacks. The best firewall against social engineering is a human one.

Communication is key in this case. Cyber security teams and IT consulting specialists have to do their part set up channels where employees can review email chains, malicious links, or suspicious requests from senders. This can mean anything from chats where employees can send questions and concerns. Even setting up periodic cyber security training sessions with employees.

Lesson 2: Expand monitoring

We mentioned earlier that because of lax monitoring policies in a remote environment creates the opportunity for cyber- attacks and social engineering scams.

Mechanisms put in place like proxies, network intrusion detection, or web gateways don’t work in a remote setting. Businesses that don’t require the use of a VPN might remain largely unprotected from malware attacks or man-in-the-middle attacks. These kinds of vulnerabilities only increase in a remote setting. Therefore, many network based IT solutions won’t be very useful in securing your operation.

Part of expanding your monitoring capabilities might mean hiring more IT Cyber Security experts and professionals to compensate.

Lesson 3: Secure physical documents

In an office setting employees have access to paper shredders and bins for disposable print material. However, in a remote or home environment, that might not be the case. Sensitive information might end up in a trash bin. So establishing policies regarding sensitive data is vital. Even if it means no documentation can be disposed of until everyone returns to the office.

Lesson 4: Support Remote Tools

Businesses should look to their cyber security team to install and manage secure digital platforms, tools, and protocols. That means ensuring multifactor authentication when logging in to any device containing sensitive data. A practical option might be to hire more cyber security personnel to provide additional support when adapting to the technology. Hiring a Managed Services Provider with Co-Managed IT solutions could also be a helpful in confronting these tasks. Co-management would contribute to your IT team without completely outsourcing your security.

Lesson 5: Clarify Incident response protocols

Should an incident take place, SOC compliant teams must understand how to report them. It is recommended that cyber security teams build in redundancies into protocols so that response time doesn’t lag behind if your business make appropriate decisions regarding the next steps to take. Or maybe traditional protocols are disrupted as a result of a remote work environment. Cyber security experts need to be adaptive in developing a business continuity plan for their company.

Finally, expect the best and prepare for the worst.

As a prize for getting to the end we’re giving you a bonus.

In cyber security circles, the most commonly used phrase is, “When not if.” Don’t think about if you get hacked. Your mindset as a business leader is to accept the probability that you will be hacked at some point. This framework changes the way your business will approach cyber security altogether. Assuming the worst case scenario allows you to test your security procedures effectively. What are the protocols for responding to an attack. What is the chain of command? What are the actionable steps necessary for me to mitigate the damage? Is there a disaster recovery plan in place, if so how practical is it?

These are questions best answered by IT experts and IT service professionals. Discuss these with your team. If you’re looking for a Managed Service provider bring up these points as well. There’s no telling when the pandemic will end but you can definitely take action to prevent an attack.