Your job has never been easy but lately, things have become even more challenging. As the business landscape continues to evolve due in large part to coronavirus (COVID-19) implications, companies have been forced to adapt to new normals that include more employees working remotely, greater logistical obstacles and an increase in online attacks as hackers attempt to take advantage of businesses and their employees when they are most vulnerable.
From phishing to malware schemes, it is more important than ever to protect your employees who may be particularly distracted during this time. “Gone are the days when phishing attacks were tacky and predictable,” says Chief Information Security Officer Doug Rinehart at Network Solutions. “No matter how much filtering you do, hackers can get through – and they move fast.”
With over half of all worldwide companies affected by cyberattacks during the pandemic, many IT professionals are faced with greater security demands and shrinking budgets. How can you navigate these online security obstacles and keep your remote workforce productive and protected? Here are five security insights to guide your efforts.
For many companies, the coronavirus crisis quickly shifted the focus from securing the working environment of in-office employees to a remote team suddenly accessing home WiFi and outside networks. Ensuring that your virtual private network (VPN) protocols were equipped to handle these work-from-home employees was probably a focus – and you should continue to make remote productivity and security a priority.
Experts predict that at least a third of all employees will continue to work from home after there is a resolution to the coronavirus. While this will save companies on overhead expenditures (building and maintenance costs and travel expenses) it will put added pressure on you to continue to ensure your company and customer data is safe and secure in all work environments. “Many companies – including ours – have had to make quick modifications to get employees up and running remotely,” says Rinehart. “And much of the remote workforce may be here to stay.”
The business world moves fast and this pattern has intensified, especially lately. Planning is an important – and necessary – part of your responsibilities but a ready-for-anything attitude and approach will serve you well right now. We’re in somewhat unchartered territory here. Cyberattack tactics are becoming more sophisticated and often hard to monitor. “Today’s hackers move so quickly that when you take defensive action, they’re already on to another one of your websites,” says Rinehart.
Rinehart suggests putting filtering and monitoring protocols in place to protect your remote workforce’s laptops, tablets and smartphones. This is especially critical when some of your employees may be accessing home and outside internet connections and networks. However, automated safeguards require your attention too. “As cyberattacks continue to change, your defense methods need to evolve as well. Stay well educated on what options are available and be ready to quickly implement them, as necessary,” says Rinehart.
“As cyberattacks continue to change, your defense methods need to evolve as well.”
– Doug Rinehart. Chief Information Security Officer, Network Solutions and Web.com Group
Implementing a kind of proactive skepticism toward security protocols you have in place could serve you well during the coronavirus and beyond. Many IT professionals have implemented zero trust principles, which are based on the assumption that all of their company’s data security systems and practices are unproven and not to be trusted until they are tested and confirm their value against specific threats.
Questioning everything will help to ensure you never overlook important data security details. “Practicing zero trust principles will help you to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to monitoring your data system security,” says Rinehart. “When you assume everything can fail it causes you to develop a highly critical eye in all aspects of your security practices and allows you to identify and correct any problem areas.”
Your employees are your first line of defense against data breaches and that is why team education is critical to your company’s security success. Train your employees about what to look for in a phishing email, how to safely access your VPN network and help them develop safe work practices on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Create an atmosphere of awareness for potential threats and implement preventative practices.
“We typically see companies reach out for security help only after they have experienced a data breach,” says Rinehart. “Always plan ahead and be prepared for anything. Have security protocols in place and make sure your employees are always mindful of potential cyber threats.” By educating your workforce and encouraging them to stay alert, you will be well on your way to a productive and well-protected remote workforce.
To ensure your remote workforce remains protected, Network Solutions offers proven security options. SiteLock® Defend™ provides daily vulnerability scans of your websites and automatically removes malware. For added protection, SiteLock 911® consistently scans and removes malware until your site is clean and sends you email notifications as malware is removed.
Network Solutions also provides a Cyber Security Solution that monitors remote devices like smartphones and tablets from malware and cyberattacks – a factor that’s especially important for your remote workers. Partner with us to develop proven security strategies that protect your company and customer data.
Safeguarding your company and customer data while keeping your remote workforce productive and secure is an important responsibility. Thankfully, by utilizing these insights and partnering with Network Solutions, you will be well on your way to managing security threats today and tomorrow.
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