Cyber security threats were a concern for businesses before the COVID-19 pandemic. But with many people working from home and accessing systems remotely, understanding and preventing cyber threats has become more urgent. No one knows what the new normal for work will be, but addressing these cyber threats now can put an organization in a better position for handling future attacks, especially if working from home becomes the norm. Here are three of the top cyber threats organizations face and how to reduce the risk of a cyber attack.
Weak Password Security and Other Access Control
With so many employees working remotely, many organizations have implemented web-based project management, file transfer, and video conferencing tools to stay productive. These technologies help teams collaborate and stay connected, but they require strong password security and access control to protect company data. During the pandemic, remote work platforms have become prime targets for cyber attacks.
To protect their data and their systems, organizations must work with staff to implement strong passwords and provide training on password best practices. Businesses should also implement all recommended security protocols for their technologies, including passwords and waiting rooms for video conferencing platforms and two-factor authentication for cloud-based file storage and project management applications.
While some hackers attack systems directly, many pursue phishing and other scams that target staff. Strong passwords will not protect a network against staff members getting duped into sharing those passwords with bad actors. That’s why it’s important to continually train employees on how to spot and report potential phishing scams. The Now IT Connects team can provide this important training remotely.
Vulnerable Home and Public Networks
Strong passwords and other access control practices offer good protection for your online applications. But with employees working from home, insecure home and public internet connections can provide cyber criminals easy access to your data. Home wireless routers that lack strong password protection can be easily hacked by bad actors.
Remote workers should change the names and passwords of their home WiFi networks from the default settings. A strong password is at least 20 characters long and includes letters, numbers, and symbols. Companies should help workers activate WPA2 network encryption to make data unreadable to criminals as it is being moved across the wireless network. Some companies may consider providing remote workers with firewall hardware as additional protection.
Insecure hardware can leave a company’s network vulnerable to cyber attack. Staff members who use their personal computers, tablets, and smart phones for remote work may be putting the company’s network at risk. It is impossible for a company to establish a security standard on devices it does not control.
Instead, companies should provide employees with hardware and devices to use for remote work. That way, organizations can be certain the hardware of a worker’s computer, tablet, and smart phone is secure. Companies can also require staff to make regular system and security updates to their hardware to ensure it is continually protected.
The pandemic will likely change how employees will work in the future. The Now IT Connects team believes remote work will become more common, even when the threat of COVID-19 has passed. That’s why companies should take the time now to protect their web-based applications and their networks. For expert help in securing your systems, contact the Now IT Connects team today.