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Protect Yourself From A Security Breach In The COVID-19 Era

July 16, 2020 Coronavirus (Covid-19) No Comments Email Email

With the pandemic, came a new ‘normal’. While it may have been forced upon us, a majority of the workforce will be taking new measures permanently. Social media giant Twitter, stated their employees would make the move to working from home permanently as coronavirus had shown them how remote workers were just as efficient. With Twitter leading the wave of change, many corporations began considering the same. However, this rapid switch from a typical office environment to an online remote working situation has given way to new security risks.

What is a security breach?

Companies shifting to a purely online model stand a higher risk of facing security risks when employees are expected to adapt immediately with improper instructions. Deloitte has warned that one of the most imminent issues that’ll arise as a side effect of the pandemic affecting our economy is corruption. The increased chances of risky behaviour due to inadequate training or overall preparedness of employees could lead to massive data leaks or damaging cyberattacks.

Online scammers and hackers see many more opportunities as employees shift to working from home. Most companies were forced to adapt immediately, with no real framework or guideline in place for employees to refer to. With many workers using their personal devices to access company data, their work emails or accounts, and in certain cases, unprotected wi-fi, companies can be targeted through multiple touchpoints now. An increase in phishing attacks through malicious emails have been reported, with employees carelessly clicking on links they believe to be trustworthy as they are tricked into thinking the email came from an “official” source.

Once hackers gain access to their personal devices, they also have access to company data. In most cases, hackers aim to monetize the situation, either threatening the employee directly or holding company data ransom, till they receive monetary compensation. In worse cases, hackers steal personal information stored on company servers, and then repurpose this data on the dark web for financial gain.

Preventive measures to put in place

Awareness is always the first step — your employees must have a cybersafety or security guide to follow, prior to setting up stations at home to work from. Ensure communication is clear within the office hierarchy, if any official emails are sent, follow it up with a message on your chosen work communication platform. Ensure employees feel comfortable enough to check with you about suspicious emails and send out awareness newsletters propagating safe habits online. You’d be surprised how many people don’t do the bare minimum, simply because they didn’t know how. This could include something as simple as having an antivirus software installed, potential VPN solutions, or general updates on how to maintain a strict level of professionalism when it comes to company data.

Have a dedicated resource for technical difficulties. If you’re a small business, it doesn’t even have to be a whole department, just ensure one person can help in the case of a technical difficulty. Or have a friendly office chat set up, for people to put queries through, crowdsourcing solutions amongst your employees.

In the worst case scenario, always ensure you’ve got a backup plan which might mean quite literally, always having a remote backup server for your data. In case of a security breach however, ensure the appropriate authorities are informed of the same. Alert your employees immediately as well, keep them in the loop on any new updates regarding the same.

As we continue to navigate these new work landscapes post the pandemic, remember to be considerate of your employees. This is a new playing field for everyone, and we’re all in the midst of developing new skills to cope, especially if this is going to be our new ‘normal’.

Author Bio:

Cara Shrivastava

Cara is currently pursuing her Masters in Marketing Communications and working part-time as a Copywriter at Newpath Web. Writing is her jam — especially if it needs a creative spin! Beyond the internet, Cara loves spending time thinking of new potential names for her house plants; Taylor Smint, Hazel the Basil and Samuel.

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