In recent months, almost every business has been forced to shift priorities. Many businesses are considering how they can best retain customers, generate new cash flow and pivot to adapt to the many changes that have led to today’s “new normal.” There’s no doubt that business leaders have a lot to think about.
But, while business leaders are working around the clock to focus on and preserve their companies in the midst of crisis, cybercriminals are also working overtime to find new ways to exploit them. Unfortunately, cybercriminals and hackers know there’s no better time to strike than during a global crisis, and many are attempting to steal data and passwords, compromise private information and even demand large ransoms from businesses.
Cybercrime is on the rise at an extremely fast pace and is expected to cause $6 trillion in damages by 2021! And even amongst news and stories about the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber-attacks on corporations and small businesses are also making headlines.
So, even with all of the new challenges on business leaders’ minds, it’s important to continue to remember the importance of cybersecurity. Here are a few measures you can focus on during these unusual and uncertain times to help protect your business’s data, money and productivity:
1. Be suspicious of incoming e-mails.
Hackers know that an opportune time to send emails with dangerous malware and viruses is when people are already distracted, scared or confused, so it’s important to look at your inbox with scrutiny. With the large number of COVID-19-related emails people are receiving from brands or news outlets, cyber criminals are looking for ways to mimic trusted sources. For example, a counterfeit CDC email address has already spammed inboxes across the country.
Always carefully inspect the e-mail, and make sure you know the sender and can validate the email address. Avoid clicking links within the e-mail unless it’s clear where they lead, and never download an attachment unless you know who sent it and what it is. Communicate these safeguards to everyone on your team, especially if they are working from home. Education for your entire team is crucial—it just takes one to inadvertently cause major disruption to your business.
2. Ensure your work-from-home computers are secure.
Many employees have transitioned to working from home, but many employers haven’t considered the security of those computers and networks. While businesses may have implemented cybersecurity measures that pertain to the workplace, they may not have considered implementing measures that pertain to remote work.
If employees are using company-issued computers to work from home, it’s important to make sure that antivirus/anti-malware applications are still being updated. It’s also vital that employees have a firewall that’s turned on and are utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) to access your company’s systems.
You have less control over employees and contractors that are using their personal computers or devices when working from home. Therefore, confirm that they are using an updated antivirus/anti-malware application, they have a firewall turned on and that they are using a secure method of connecting to your company’s systems, such as VPN. If their personal machines have not been updated, patched, etc. this can lead to your company having unwanted additional cybersecurity issues.
3. Improve your password strategy.
A strong password strategy can go a long way to prevent data breaches. It’s important to reevaluate your passwords, consider your password policies and educate your team about using strong passwords.
It may be convenient to save your passwords in your web browser, but it also lessens your security. Because web browsers simply require their own password or PIN to access saved passwords, a skilled hacker can easily bypass this hurdle. Inadvertently granting a hacker access to saved passwords can be detrimental for a business. Instead, consider using a password manager with robust security to keep all your passwords in one place.
Keeping Your Business Secure During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Even with the shifting priorities and uncertainties in today’s business world, it’s vitally important to not let your business’s computer and network security slide during these times.
If you need help in arranging or improving your new work-from-home environment, additional security advice or would like to have a consultation to discuss how to keep your data safe, connect with us today. Warren Averett Technology Group is actively servicing clients in this season, and our goal is always to help your business thrive with greater cyber security and superior technology that improves efficiency.