Hybrid Workplaces Or Hackers’ Paradise?

“In the earliest days of the pandemic, the FBI reported almost 4000 new cybersecurity complaints per day.”

The Covid-19 global pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity. As the world reels between office and work from home, hackers are setting up traps in the transition from conducting corporate espionage to insurance fraud. The pandemic has exposed corporations to hacking due to the transition of the work environment. In the earliest days of the pandemic, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported almost 4000 new cybersecurity complaints per day, this is a 400% increase in previous levels. The World Economic Forum estimates that at the start of the pandemic hacking went up by almost 238%. Finance and Healthcare have been primary targets of cybersecurity attacks. The security of a corporation against such attacks is so extensive that in turn can become expensive very soon, measuring up to $18.3 million per company. 

The change in the workplace environment from offices to homes has left the data exposed at endpoints or completely. Unsecured WiFi networks, home networks, lack of security controls like firewalls and antimalware software can also be a distinct advantage to an information thief. The immobility of office hardware and the mobility of laptops with access to company networks through secured connections or other computer accessing devices presents a unique threat. 

Cybersecurity has to provide a blanket cover to protect the data of businesses. Not only data but also networks have to be secure including wifi connections. For example- Virtual meeting rooms need to be secured too. Malware can be inserted through any point in a network. The backdoor to malware entry can be phishing operations, lack of endpoint protections, or just laziness of employees. There has to be a change in the approach of a company towards cybersecurity. It is not really a technical problem anymore, it can be an organisational and operational problem threatening the whole firm.

Zero trust

To ensure cloud-based security firms need to approach cybersecurity with a Zero Trust architecture framework. It means that no implicit trust is granted to the assets or users based on their physical or network location. The main focus of zero trust is multifactor authentication. Currently working on two-factor authentication, company’s are trying to involve three-factor authentication to add another layer of security.

Make networks bulletproof

Corporates can be made bulletproof by securing the network and the endpoints. The hybrid environments mean that employees can access the network from any place. That means extra efforts in protecting networks in a dispersed activity should be a high priority task. There can be several options for ensuring endpoint security.

The first option is to collect all data about endpoints and analyze it for threats, typically with the help of state of the art AI and ML tools. It would allow not just monitoring the network but also monitoring all endpoints communicating within the network. The second option is to monitor and collect data in real-time to detect threats, analyze it to detect threat patterns, and respond immediately to any threats by isolating the endpoint and removing the threat.

Employee training

Any network will be vulnerable to hacking and malware unless the user is aware of the ways to protect it. Employees need to be trained in protecting their systems from malware. They need to have been trained on phishing simulations, as well as the constant updates on the best practices for security risk management, that are essential to counter threats. 

Dos and Don’ts

  • Avoid using free, unsecured Wifi for work or on work computers and even for logging into work. Invest in Wifi protection. 
  • Beware of Phishing malware. Don’t click on pop-up ads on a work computer.
  • Avoid unsecured sites or sites that you are not fully aware of on your work computer.
  • Do not install any software that comes in as installment through emails. It can be a very serious threat to your computer.
  • Don’t allow anyone else to use your computer or other devices to bring home from work.
  • Use only company-approved software to share files and refrain from using your personal email or any third-party software and services.
  • Turn off remembering the password when you log out of company information systems and applications from personal devices.
  • Ensure logging out remote sessions automatically after a specified period of inactivity and they require re-authentication to gain access.

Proprietary corporate data is being accessed through laptops and home computers that may not have the appropriate firewall and security as office setups. There needs to be an investment in the sector along with knowledge dissemination to counter the threat that looms over all of us.

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Meenal Sharma
I am a journalism undergrad who loves playing basketball and writing about finance and technology. I believe in the power of words.

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