Time magazine recently called the Coronavirus fallout as the world’s first “Work From Home Experiment”. Up until recently, home based workers represented just over 3% of the total workforce. It is unclear what those numbers are today but clearly they are significantly higher. The firewall that had been established for South Florida cybersecurity solutions within IT infrastructures when users were housed within the office is no longer effective in the current situation. Additionally, there are an increasing number of hackers and other bad actors out there that are actively looking for opportunities to capitalize on the vulnerabilities that exist in the less secure networks being used by employees at home. Cybersecurity becomes a far more pressing need for businesses of all sizes in these times.
In early March the U.S. Government issued a warning to be on the lookout for phishing and other cyberattacks. When addressing cybersecurity risks, your primary areas of focus must be people, processes and tools. Business cybersecurity strategies therefore must extend beyond the walls of a business physical location to the homes of its employees to protect not only the company but the employees and their families.
The mitigation of cybersecurity risks is not so much a problem that can be solved as much as a risk that must be managed. South Florida based companies should either have an inhouse IT Security expert or a trusted South Florida IT solutions vendor that can help them navigate this new cybersecurity landscape.
- Nearly 90% of small to mid-sized businesses see cybersecurity as an area of growing concern for their business.
- Well over half of SMB’s do not feel they have the inhouse expertise to handle cybersecurity solutions.
- The overwhelming majority of SMB’s would be willing outsource IT to a company that could provide the right cybersecurity solutions to mitigate IT security risks.
While most IT providers are most focused on the tools side of the cybersecurity solutions equation, the greatest area of opportunity for companies to address to reduce risk is through education and the implementation of internet-based usage policies. The human factor in the cybersecurity of your business is going to be your greatest areas of vulnerability as cyber criminals understand the behaviors and habits of most computer users and know what to exploit. Establishing a culture of cybersecurity is essential to securing your company’s network.
Here are three things your South Florida company can and should be doing to mitigate cybersecurity risks in a work from home scenario:
1. Education – Educating your users on best practices when working from home is the place to start. Many people are simply unaware of simple things that should be done to protect themselves from cyberattacks and need to be informed and trained accordingly. Here are a few examples:
- Using computers with out of date software
- Opening emails and attachments with news about COVID-19 or Coronavirus
- Downloading unnecessary files such as a take out menu from a restaurant
Conducting trainings with your team is a key component of a successful cybersecurity solutions preparedness strategy. While employees may find the use of password protection tools and 2-factor authentication to be cumbersome, educating them to the fact that by not adhering to these standards they are not only putting the company but themselves and their families at risk is essential for getting their buy-in and cooperation.
2. Checklists – Creating a checklist that your team can refer to at their remote workplace will help to keep them in compliance with company security regulations. The easier you make it for your team to access the requirements and adhere to them the more successful your program will be. Without the normal security of your onsite perimeter, employees will have to do certain things manually to maintain their home network security and the checklist will help them to do so. Consult with your IT provider to better understand what items your checklist should include.
3. Provide Ongoing Training – Cyber criminals are constantly working on finding new ways to break into networks and steal data and likewise you and your staff need to stay up to date on new threats and how to protect yourselves. As hackers are always testing to find holes that can be penetrated, you also should be running phishing tests and other measures to test the resiliency of your staff in protecting the network. This type of training will keep your team alert and minimize the risks associated with working remotely. Whatever you do, it should be done on an ongoing basis to stay on top of evolving cybersecurity risks.
While there is never 100% protection to any network, as a South Florida small business your job is to put a plan in place, take specific protective measures and then maintain those measures to minimize your risk as much as possible. Often times, just making it harder for cybercriminals to penetrate yours and your employees networks is enough to get them to move on to another victim. Finding the right South Florida IT solutions provider to assist your company in putting those protective measures in place is essential to the security of your business data.
If you have questions about how to protect your remote employees as well as your own IT network from cybersecurity threats, contact User Friendly Technology Services for an South Florida IT solutions evaluation. And to stay up to date on technology related news and information, please visit (and don’t forget to Like!) our Facebook page.