The COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered for keeping everyone in lockdown, the facemasks, social distancing, online business, remote work, and of course, the dose of cyber attacks. Almost overnight, everyone went to remote work.
Even though it still exists, business and corporate leaders struggled to facilitate the exchange of information critical to business. Security often was compromised.
In the past, Numerous technology professionals (in the information security realm) rapidly adopted newer technologies. This helped them ensure continuity and employee productivity. But in the rush of enabling remote work during the pandemic and after it, security concerns were left behind on the back seat. What happened? Companies were left vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Securing remote employee access was challenging
One of the biggest challenges to IT security today is the increased risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. A lot of businesses have record numbers of employees working remotely along with those using personal devices for work. This indicates that they are more likely to face cyber attacks.
Defending against cyber threats requires many companies to offer employees access through virtual private networks (VPN). However, this did not work all the time.
Number one: The first interface point for remote employees is usually a wireless broadband connection share with family, friends, or other people in a shared accommodation. Home-based wireless routers have fundamental security and encryption mechanisms. They are easy and attractive targets for cyber attackers.
Vulnerability to phishing scams and breaches
Numerous large companies have mentioned in their research reports that nearly 48% of remote employees fell victim to phishing scams whilst they were working from home. Between February and June 2020, more than half a million were affect by breaches where personal data of video conferencing users was stolen. It was eventually sold on the dark web.
The World Economic Forum had a report pertaining to the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. It revealed that 50% of companies surveyed were concerned about the rising number of cyber attacks due to working patterns shifting towards remote work. This was the third most worrisome concern in their report.
The quick shift to home-based access to organizational resources as well as infrastructure also indicated that employees may not have received adequate training on best remote work practices. This leaves remote employees more vulnerable to phishing as well as other social engineering tactics. Those tactics are made for ransomware and multiple extortion attacks.
Is a unified approach needed to tackle cybercrime?
Yes, it has become evident that a unified approach to tackling cybercrime is need. Remote employees unfortunately are infiltration points because they are accessing the internet through their home networks. This allows attackers to expand the scope of their attacks on any company.
This modus operandi made it necessary for information security teams to adopt a comprehensive and unified approach and model to tackle cybercrime.
Three steps to ensuring comprehensive cybersecurity
Experts from a DDoS Protection Service Provider based in North York, Ontario have decided to share with us key tips for ensuring cybersecurity on a comprehensive level:
• Beginning with the never trust always verify philosophy.
• Safeguarding the network infrastructure.
• Investing in and strengthing continuous employee training.
Beginning with the never trust always verify philosophy
Typical implementations of firewalls and VPNs have been the mainstay of many companies for years, especially in cyber security. Today’s environment has rendered them ineffective. Companies are now looking towards Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). It helps address the modern threat landscape.
ZTNA uses the never trust always verify approach for securing employee access, ensuring secure and granular level access to resources based on user identity, the posture of device security, and contextual factors.
Safeguarding the network infrastructure
Modern-day cyber threats require modern solutions. Defense controls based on the cloud help provide any company’s network infrastructure with strong infrastructure against DDoS attacks and other malicious online threats.
Investing in and strengthing continuous employee training
Apart from deploying strong security measures and solutions, organizational leaders must begin investing in continuing employee training and awareness programs protecting them and their companies.
As cyberattacks become more and more sophisticate, employees should be inform about the serious nature of such attacks and why they should be ready for such. They should have their skills updated continuously with knowledge, tools, and practices of information security to reduce potential risks.