Coronavirus’ Effect on Teleworking
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As it continues to spread across the globe, the novel Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has brought seemingly everything (especially that which involves a crowd) to a halt. Nearly every major sporting event has been postponed or cancelled, schools are closed until further notice and offices are beginning a shift to a completely remote workforce.
With these unprecedented times comes unprecedented risks and obstacles for the workforce. With more workers than ever utilizing remote access to continue business operations, hackers have a huge window of opportunity to wreak havoc on a now much more vulnerable working population.
Along with becoming more vulnerable for attack, the limits of what is possible in teleworking are also being tested. While many companies have always had employees who work exclusively from home, most systems have never seen the level of traffic they are now experiencing. This leaves the potential for service interruption and an overworked IT staff who may not have the people power for the amount of potential issues a remote workforce of this size may bring.
In this blog, we will go over these risks and some precautions that your organization can take to help get through this crisis as smoothly as possible.
Remote Access Can Mean Easy Targets
One of the biggest issues with a newly remote workforce is that workers may not realize the necessity to protect their networks properly. This may lead to hackers finding easy pathways to sensitive data. An article from Risk & Insurance highlights the need for a “telecommuter playbook” that includes simple, but effective steps workers can take to protect themselves and their companies from an attack due to vulnerability.
These steps include:
- Protecting your home network/Wi-Fi with appropriate security software and passcodes to avoid a breach.
- Avoid any kind of unsecured, public Wi-Fi.
- Having the contact information of your organization’s I.T. supports specialists on-hand at all times.
While maintaining a secure system on their home networks, employees also must be on the lookout for increased phishing attempts. With so much information about COVID-2019 and its effect on business operations flowing to inboxes, it’s as easy as ever for hackers to plant phishing emails aimed at gaining passwords and other sensitive information. They can do this by posing as your business or groups like the World Health Organization (WHO). Reminding employees to check all links before opening them can prevent a threat from slipping through the cracks. Check out last month's blog about phishing and the advanced methods hackers are using to infiltrate computers and even cell phones.
If employees practice proper cyber hygiene and remain vigilant while working at home during what may be the new normal for the next several weeks or months, hackers will have a harder time taking advantage of an already difficult time for all businesses.
Networks Will Be Tested
In addition to the threat of hackers, systems themselves will be tested in this remote climate. While working remotely is nothing new, the sheer number of employees working from home at this moment is something most organization’s systems have never experienced. While some organizations have made preparations for this type of incidents, many others have not.
As IT staff for many organizations may be overworked, it is important for businesses to take a safe and thorough approach to handling their systems during this remote workforce period. Enabling endpoint detection and response software can be used to help support staff immediately quarantine an infected device. In addition to improved software, rehearsing and refreshing an organization on business continuity plans to prepare for a potential service interruption is a necessary step to take in preparation for a network to go down.
What Can Be Insured?
Sometimes, preventative measures and safeguards aren’t enough to protect an organization from a breach, even in normal circumstances. Companies should look into an involved and advanced cyber insurance policy that covers potential losses for business interruption as well as potential data breaches and the steps that may be necessary to remedy those situations.
RCM&D understands this is a difficult time for the world and your business. For more information on your options to protect your remote workforce, talk to your trusted advisor today.