While the world and companies everywhere focus on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are forming pandemic plans to keep business going and employees safe, cybercriminals are also following the crisis closely, looking to spread infections in different ways. In fact, according to the LA Times, a health agency in the U.S. has already suffered a cyberattack amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Why? In short, cybercriminals love a crisis. Companies are more vulnerable than usual and their focus shifts to other priorities other than cybersecurity practices.
An important thing to remember about the mobile workforce is that just because your employees are not connected to your company physically does not mean that hackers can’t get into your network from a remote device. As convenient as it is to work remotely, it can also pose many threats to your business if proper cybersecurity protocols are not set in place.
According to the University of Maryland , cyberattacks occur every 39 seconds and a hacker can strike up to 2,224 times a day, so it should come as no surprise to see those numbers skyrocket during the pandemic. Just because the spread of COVID-19 is impacting your corporation doesn’t mean cyberattacks have to. While cybersecurity practices might not be top of mind right now, they can remain a priority without the hassle or maintenance on your end. Here are five ways you can protect your business from cyberattacks during the pandemic.
1. Implement Security as a Service (SECaaS) Solutions
In the midst of the pandemic, enabling your mobile workforce is likely at the top of your priority list. Email is an essential form of communication, especially for remote workers, and one of the most popular cyberattack platforms. Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the pandemic and taking advantage of unaware employees through malicious emails. This makes email security a must-have solution for all businesses. It flags suspicious emails, blocks spam emails, prevents malware and other computer viruses from infecting your remote devices, and protects companies from various cyberattacks like phishing and ransomware.
In addition to email, social media is a huge concern when a crisis arises. While employees work remotely, make sure they are aware of common cyberattacks like spear-phishing, ransomware and malvertising. Typically, cybercriminals target social media users by researching things like Facebook friends and Twitter feeds. They might impersonate a family member then send malicious links via Facebook Messenger, so that the message looks like it’s coming from a trusted source. Amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), hackers are likely to use these same tactics to infect endpoints and networks. In other words, it’s likely that cybercriminals will send messages or post fake ads on social media about the pandemic that encourage victims to click on malicious links. As you operate business remotely, make sure employees are aware that this can and will happen to them if they aren’t careful.
Identity Management, another Security as a Service (SECaaS) solution, is used to manage the identities that enter and exit your network, ensuring only authorized parties can access your devices and accounts. It’s also equipped with single sign-on capabilities and Multi-Factor Authentication to secure access to your network from remote devices. Both of these guarantee more convenience without compromising business protection, which are imperative to the mobile workforce.
Additionally, Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS) along with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) are solutions that ensure the safety of your network in its entirety. Both services detect threats in real-time, analyze trends and traffic and protect your devices from all types of cyberattacks. With the pandemic increasing business vulnerability on a daily basis, cybersecurity solutions that offer 24x7x365 monitoring and management are critical to the survival of any business.
Another thing to remember is that working remotely can potentially increase human error and accidents that are out of your organization’s control. For instance, this could include employees clicking on links from unknown sources via email, social media, or popular video chat services like Skype.
Although this cybersecurity training should be instilled in your company, it’s always better to be safe and utilize Security as a Service (SECaaS) solutions to prevent incidents like this from damaging your business.
2. Use Cloud Backup & Disaster Recovery
Regardless of the current state of your organization due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), data backup and recovery are essential to the continuity of any business. While a cybercriminal may take your business offline, temporarily, you can easily restore data with NewCloud Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), powered by Veeam. With a guaranteed 99.99% uptime, end-to-end encryption and security, your data is always protected and available should you need it.
What if your remote workers’ email becomes encrypted? Studies show that a majority of cyberattacks can be attributed to human error and are triggered via malicious email. Compromising even one feature of Office 365 while your employees are relying on it to be productive could cost your company tremendously. Luckily, NewCloud Backup for Office 365, powered by Veeam, works to protect your critical Microsoft Office 365 data, including email, calendar, documents, SharePoint and OneDrive. In the event that your network is compromised through one of these outlets, you can rest assured knowing important documents and emails can easily be restored.
3. Use Managed Cloud Services
Managed cloud services that include managed backups, virtualization and managed cybersecurity are also ideal to the protection of your company during these trying times. Your information is being protected on a 24x7x365 basis by trusted professionals who are trained on handling sensitive data. This means you avoid the maintenance on your end so that you can allocate more time to your employees and keeping business up and running as much as possible.
5. Avoid Unsecured & Fake Networks
Unsecured networks are networks that don’t need a password and that anyone virtually can connect to. Fake networks are also unsecured networks, but are created by hackers. Fake networks and unsecured networks look exactly the same to a user. Fortunately, majority of us are at home, connected to our own secured Wi-Fi. Also, most unsecured networks are in public places like coffee shops and hotels, which users can’t access with social distancing in place.
With this being said, cyberattacks might be less likely to happen via unsecured networks and fake networks, however, it doesn’t stop cybercriminals from attempting this strategy during the pandemic and it also doesn’t stop devices from automatically connecting to the networks around it.
The best way to avoid unsecured and fake networks during the pandemic is to ensure your devices are only connected to your in-home Wi-Fi and to turn off auto-roaming on Androids and iPhones.
5. Educate Employees on Cybersecurity Protocols
Although cloud solutions and cybersecurity services are ultimately your saving grace in cyberattack prevention, cybersecurity cultures and employee training are just as crucial to the well-being of your corporation. Cybersecurity protocols should be part of your pandemic plan. As you assign different tasks to different people, this should also include how your company will respond in the event of a possible threat or data breach. Employees should know what different cyberthreats look like, while higher authorities should be assigned roles on what to do in the event of a threat or data breach.
To reiterate, make sure that your business is proactive in your communications with your employees about malicious emails or messages received on social media about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Remind them to not click on anything from an untrusted source and to notify their managers of a possible threat or suspicious activity.
While working in quarantine, your devices and virtual communications are the lifeline of your business, so it’s essential to protect them with cloud solutions and security. Your company is already vulnerable enough during this difficult time. Do your business a favor and remain proactive. The more proactive you are, the healthier your employees stay and the stronger your business runs during the pandemic. Contact NewCloud for more pandemic guidance and download our free template.