The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the way we do virtually everything, from education to eating out to business. As organizations and businesses move to online operations, there is a good chance you’ll be working remotely. For businesses and employees tasked with working from home, there are lots of new challenges on the horizon.
Cybercrime and Remote Work
One thing is for certain – cybercriminals will be taking advantage of this unprecedented situation. Already, there are instances of malware being spread through email phishing, malicious apps, viruses (the digital kind), and ransomware. In fact, if you’ve downloaded an app to track the spread of COVID-19, you may have unwittingly exposed yourself to surveillanceware.
Expect the coming months to bring waves of Coronavirus scams as cybercriminals adapt to the pandemic.
Protecting Your Business During a Pandemic
While it certainly makes sense to move to remote work if possible, we urge caution and wisdom as you do this. Cybercriminals will likely be ramping up, not slowing down during this time. Here is a checklist to help ensure secure success:
Remote Access Policy
Prior to providing access to your employees, put in place a clear access policy that acknowledges that your company monitors whatever they do while connected. Employees should be encouraged to act as if they are on site even while working remotely and reminded that punishments for doing something illegal/against company policy will apply.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Access
Employees should not have open access to everything on your network from their home machines. While some applications may run slower across that VPN tunnel, it will help protect company data by keeping it on the network and not on employee’s home computers.
Collaboration is likely still key to your organization, even if everyone is working in isolation. There can be secure file shares set up on your network that employees can access while connected via VPN. Also available are other solutions like Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, and others that can be implemented. Just be sure to work with a trusted IT partner to make sure you have the secure version of whatever you’re using.
The show must go on! Microsoft Teams has capabilities for this, as do other solutions like Zoom and Go To Meeting. Video conferencing will help keep the personal touch on the meetings that must still happen.
Microsoft Teams to the rescue again! There are other solutions as well, but Teams provides a platform to keep a record of conversations, setup group/team calls, and other efficiencies in a secured environment.
Your phone system is important to your business. If you don’t already have a VoIP solution that allows workers to use their office number remotely, it may be difficult to implement at this stage in the game, but we can have conversations with you about this. That said, if this is not viable, perhaps consider reimbursing employees for their personal cell phone usage, if you don’t already, until we get through this.
Business Continuity Plans
The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is precisely the type of event that a business continuity plan is designed to manage. This kind of plan can offset the uncertainty that comes with a disaster, allowing your business to maintain momentum. Reviewing and testing your plan on a regular basis can help you to respond to a disruption of business as usual. If you have a business continuity plan in place, you’re already ahead of the worst of it. Your focus in the coming days will be to fine-tune the parts of your plan that need adjustment.
The COVID-19 situation seems to be a fluid and moving target. If you’re not already remote, you may be soon. Getting these pieces in place can help you do so more securely and successfully. Contact Lieberman Technologies if you need guidance or assistance with any of the items mentioned here. We’re here to help!