COVID-19 has forced individuals and organizations to make fundamental changes in the way they operate on a day to day basis and incorporate new practices such as social distancing and remote working. Governments all across the world have imposed a self-isolation on its citizenry in order to stop the spread of the deadly virus which has caused more than 200,000 deaths worldwide, already. As the number keeps going up, institutions have been brainstorming different ways to ensure stability by devising new economic plans.
While the whole world is focused on health and economic threats that are imminent due to the presence of COVID19, cybercriminals are making the most out of the pandemic situation. Several reports showcase a steep rise in malware and ransomware attacks around the globe as attackers try to use COVID-19 has a cover to impersonate several institutions and brands. Due to their activities, personal computers, and mobile phones are being infected. As users keep downloading COVID related applications that claim to give information but actually install ransomware on devices, rendering them unusable, not just individuals but businesses are being affected by this ploy.
Security risks and remote working:
As more and more employees and students shift to a remote environment, the probability of cyberattacks also increases. Businesses and institutions relying on remote work are now heavily dependent on virtual private network servers to sustain operations as it provides a layer of security for their business. However, it is important to ensure that these VPN services are secure and reliable against potential cyber-attacks. Employees should be advised against using a personal computer for business purposes in order to safeguard the interest of businesses.
Delays in cyber-attack and risk detection:
With all enterprises shifting to remote culture, it is difficult for security teams to get a hold of all operations while everything is moving rapidly towards sustaining operations. What this results in essentially is a delay in the detection of potential attacks on servers and networks that carry sensitive information. All organizations should ensure that their security teams are up and running and are being able to manage restructuring security protocols in a timely manner.
Exposure of sensitive information:
Not every employee “working from home” would have a stable internet connection or even all the necessary means to work efficiently. There might be scenarios where an employee would be accessing company information via a public channel, thus exposing the business to physical security risks as sensitive information and documents could be stolen or damaged with such acts.
Companies should, therefore, sensitize employees about information security and relay the importance of having a private connection each time they work remotely. Another security measure is implementing technological solutions to ensure that sensitive information remains secure on each and every device.
Increase in cybercrime and cyber-criminals:
The pandemic is also witnessing one of the largest downsizings in the history of the modern workplace. Countless people have been laid off due to the effects of COVID19 on the economy of businesses. A large number of companies had to take drastic steps to sustain themselves. As more and more people with internet are rendered jobless, they are looking at other-often illegal-means of making a living.
Firms should focus on implementing proper channels for a safe exit plan. Implementing such strategies would help safeguard their own business. On the other hand, employees who have lost jobs should look at this event from a positive angle. This can be converted into a useful break where they can enroll for online courses and enhance their skills or even venture into a new area that interests them and is profitable.
Cybersecurity has been an emerging field for the last two decades but this pandemic has put a heavy strain on the economy at a global level. However, all businesses are reconsidering the critical requirements for their sustenance and every non-essential operation and workforce is bound to be downsized. Although important, cybersecurity might come under ‘non-critical’ when it comes to picking out the most profitable parameters of any business.
What organizations really need to focus on with their business continuity plans (BCP) is to prioritize those practices that sustain operations and turn out to be profitable in the long run. Looking at the current scenario, remote working and a heavy focus on cyber-security seems to be the case.
Cybersecurity will face fundamental changes in its role and importance towards businesses in the long run. Nevertheless, it is important for companies to focus on parameters that will cater to sustenance in the long run.