As a large workforce around the world continues to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring employees have the right IT systems in place is a top priority for businesses – but what about cyber security? It’s true that remote working brings many benefits and can drive efficiencies and productivity, but how confident are you that your remote workforce is complying with cyber secure practices?
Neil Kumaran, products manager for Gmail, said: “no matter the size of your business, IT teams are facing increased pressure to navigate the challenges of COVID-19.” We’re covering some of the current issues businesses are facing, and sharing how to stay vigilant in these unprecedented times.
The rise of phishing emails
Unfortunately, even in times of a global tragedy, there are criminals out there who look to gain from a grave situation. In fact, there are a huge number of them! In just one week alone in April, Google blocked 126 million phishing scams specifically relating to COVID-19. From emails with attachments allegedly containing the latest coronavirus statistics to links claiming to offer support during the pandemic, cyber criminals are very simply exploiting public fears during this difficult time.
Are your employees aware of the risks and are they confident in identifying fraudulent emails? There are a number of ways you can encourage them to be diligent:
- Check the email address the correspondence has come from; often there will be discrepancies between the email domain and the company claiming to send the email
- Keep an eye out for spelling and grammar mistakes – these could be a big giveaway that the email’s not from a reputable source
- Check links before clicking on them. By hovering over a link, you can preview the URL and see if its location is legitimate
Exploiting remote working practices
With more people working from home than ever before, with some doing so for the first time, or certainly for a prolonged period of time, security outside the office must be considered as a priority.
Staff are finding new ways to communicate and collaborate, corresponding over instant messaging, video calling and often sharing sensitive information and documents online. Again, whilst great at driving efficiencies and encouraging a team culture, this new way of working poses a risk, especially when staff are left to their own devices to manage their new working life without the support, and often approval, of their IT departments.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has detected cyber criminals scanning for vulnerabilities in software and remote working tools as more people work from home during the pandemic. This includes exploitation of the increased use of video conferencing software, where phishing emails with attachments naming legitimate video conference providers aim to trick users into downloading malicious files.
Home workers must receive guidance on how to remain secure to protect businesses during this unprecedented time – from providing cyber security training to implementing new systems. To get started, here are some top tips to support secure home working:
- Encourage staff to set strong passwords for their user accounts and implement two-factor authentication where available
- Do a pulse check on staff sentiment around cyber security – find out how they are coping with new technologies and identify where they need the most support
- Produce written guidance for new software staff are expected to use which they can regularly refer back to for assistance when IT support is unavailable
How to further protect your organisation
Remember, many people are finding this pandemic extremely difficult to navigate while they adjust to a new way of life. Some may find it distressing to learn new technologies and practices so a seamless system in the back end may be the best solution for your business.
Now more than ever, the ability to see across an entire network is paramount. Pulse360 measures service quality across physical, virtual, hybrid and even cloud-native infrastructures. The fully-virtualised performance assurance platform can alert you to even minute changes within your network, generating the recommended actions to protect your organisation from cyber threats and other issues before they have a chance to impact your business – and your customers.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you take control of remote working and protect your business in these testing and challenging times.