Cybersecurity And Teleworking Consequences From COVID-19 Pandemic

Cybersecurity And Teleworking Consequences From COVID-19 Pandemic

Early this year, a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, changed how businesses operate. In order to adhere to laid out restrictions, companies across the globe were forced to shut down their offices and shift their business operations from the traditional office space workplace to a work-from-home model to maintain business continuity.

Teleworking During The Pandemic

Although teleworking was nothing new in the business environment, and companies were gradually adopting it, many organizations were severely unprepared when the pandemic struck. For many businesses, this was the first time that their employees were to collaborate, communicate, and operate outside the office.

While employees were enthusiastic about the shift, the IT departments struggled to understand and prepare for the new way of working.

Teleworking has proven to be a challenge to companies due to the following reasons:

  1. Businesses hadn't established a teleworking policy, which made the transition difficult
  2. Businesses initially lacked the appropriate tools to transition their employees and facilitate teleworking
  3. Employees were finding it hard to resolve technical issues without an expert on-site

But despite the challenges faced, this new way of working has also benefitted businesses in the following ways:

  • Businesses have been able to cut down on operational costs.
  • Employees have been able to keep a balance between their work and their private lives.
  • Increased productivity as remote workers are likely to take fewer days off or leave of absence.
  • Teleworking offers businesses better disaster preparedness and the flexibility to deal with unexpected events.
  • Businesses that have embraced teleworking experience increased employee satisfaction and retention.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally, it's quite clear that teleworking is here to stay and will be adopted even post COVID-19. According to a survey by Gartner, 74% of participants in the study plan to move their workforce to remote permanent positions post COVID-19.1

Cybersecurity During The Pandemic

While the world is focusing on health and stabilizing the economy during the pandemic, cybercriminals worldwide are capitalizing on this crisis. With companies being faced with scaling down operations, low profits, cutting down costs, and the possibility of a looming shutdown due to the pandemic, the confusion and uncertainty have led companies to get distracted when it comes to their cybersecurity.

In a single month, organizations that would typically gather in a shared physical location had to shift their operations to the internet and ensure that their communication networks were private and secure. The IT infrastructure that businesses long depended on, cloud computing, data centers, servers, and mobile devices that their remote employees use to collaborate have not only become crucial overnight but have also increased their cybersecurity risks.

A Spike In Cyberattacks During COVID-19

The shift in communication and operation of businesses through the internet has attracted cybercriminals and increased the risk of cyberattacks. According to iomart, large-scale data breaches have grown in frequency and intensity in 2020, with the number of breaches increasing by 273% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same time last year.2 Deloitte has also reported a spike in email phishing, ransomware, and malware attacks as malicious attacks use COVID-19 as bait to impersonate brands.3

Beazley also reported an increase of 25% in ransomware attacks in the United States during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the last quarter of 2019.4 The industries that have mainly been affected by the attacks were the healthcare sector, manufacturing, and financial services. The reduced level of cybersecurity is a factor that has aggregated these security risks.

Your IT infrastructure is very crucial to your business operations. It's vital to ensure that it is adequately protected against attacks.

The following are cybersecurity controls that you should implement to enhance your cybersecurity:

  1. Installation of security software such as antivirus programs to detect and remove malicious programs
  2. Implementation of robust user authentication processes such as complex passwords, MFA, and biometric authentication
  3. Secure mobile devices used by employees through encryption, password protection, and enabling the 'remote wiping' option:
  4. Implement a firewall to establish a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from external sources
  5. Implement cybersecurity awareness training programs

Get in touch with our team today to discover how we can help you keep your network and data safe.

About LeadingIT

LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.

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Sources:

1https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-03-gartner-cfo-surey-reveals-74-percent-of-organizations-to-shift-some-employees-to-remote-work-permanently2

2https://blog.iomart.com/cost-of-a-data-breach

3https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ng/Documents/risk/ng-COVID-19-Impact-on-Cybersecurity-24032020.pdf

4https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/09/2045639/0/en/Beazley-Breach-Insight-Ransomware-rises-25-in-Q1-2020.html