Relevance Of Online Security In SMB’s Coronavirus Response
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow at a frightening pace across the world, interactions are turning more virtual. Many universities including Harvard and UC Berkeley have replaced in-person classes with online sessions. International business sessions now have their digital versions and companies are promoting virtual meetings instead of physical boardroom meetings. All of these measures intend to prevent the spread of the pandemic in all possible ways but SMBs have to be vigilant against threats to online security.
As online communications and transactions increase, the likelihood of different forms of online fraud including account takeover tends to increase. For example, the common issue of password reuse is being used as a tool for bad actors to gain access to sensitive systems. Online fraud is only going to increase as virtual interactions are growing. The attackers will try out many ways to cash in on the dilemma associated with COVID-19.
As of now, it seems like SMB’s would have to consider enforcing work from home policies for an indefinite period of time. Hence it is quintessential that online security is part of every organization’s coronavirus response. Below are the important areas to take into consideration.
Prioritize Employee Password Security
Breach data being increasingly available over the Dark web makes it easy for attackers to gain access to sensitive data if the employees are using compromised credentials and reusing those passwords across multiple sites. The serious security issue is likely to grow as more people are shifting to remote working, which means they would be creating new accounts and credentials.
It is important to have screening systems in place that will alert the employees about the use of compromised credentials and monitor their passwords regularly. Waiting for your entire workforce to be distributed to find out your employees have been making mistakes that make it easy for hackers would be the last thing you want.
Ensure That Your Home Is Secured
It is common that people employ different online security practices at home and in the office. Connected devices like baby monitors, TVs, and smartphones make the home network vulnerable and more prone to attacks. For example, children may unknowingly download malware into your home network.
Educate your employees about the benefits of maintaining a separate WiFi account for business purposes alone while working at home. The practice should not be limited to the COVID-19 period but has to be extended to any point in the future. The security step is critical but not enough to ensure the protection of sensitive data while employees work remotely.
Ask The Employees To Be Vigilant Against Phishing Attacks
One approach of attackers to cash in on the COVID-19 crisis is by taking advantage of the fear and confusion surrounding the pandemic and the company’s response. Because COVID-19 has affected the whole globe, we are all aware that we are in a big crisis. The likelihood of us clicking on emails that come with subjects like “How are you feeling”?, “[company name] employees tested positive for coronavirus”, and similar headlines that raise our heartbeat is more.
SMB’s have to educate their employees on various types of phishing threats and ways to spot them. It is advisable to keep the employees notified about the strategies that the company is going to employ to handle the coronavirus crisis so that they will not be tricked by subject lines that cause fear.
Identify The Challenges Posed By The Work Atmosphere
As SMB employees work remotely for an indefinite period, they may be tempted to make copies of confidential organizational data, save the information into a USB or email them to their personal accounts for convenience. It is the duty of the leadership to monitor all such activities and make the employees realize the security threats that the behavior poses.
Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the national response to it are evolving in unpredictable ways. It has become difficult to measure the severity of the situation and the length of time it is going to last. However, life is going to be more virtual at least for the foreseeable future. As attackers are eagerly attempting to capitalize on the crisis, businesses that fail to address the security considerations as part of their COVID-19 planning are putting their organizations into serious risks.