The coronavirus outbreak has affected businesses across the world. One unforeseen consequence of the pandemic has been a rise in cyberattacks, triggered by less secure working locations and stretched IT systems.
The initial impact was extreme; in April, Google reported more than 18 million malware and phishing emails appearing every day, each one relating to the outbreak of the new virus. Like many side-effects of the pandemic, this raised level of cyber threat looks set to continue long after the virus itself has faded away.
Some businesses coped better than others, adapting to new working conditions and finding ways to secure their remote networks, even pivoting practices towards new profit avenues for the duration of lockdown. However, all businesses have certainly had to adjust to new business conditions, learning vital lessons from the circumstances created by COVID-19.
Here are some of the most important lessons the global pandemic has taught businesses about their digital security:
1. They Need to Enhance Their Cybersecurity Measures
For many years, the business world has been aware of the threat posed by cyber attacks. Many businesses have access to sensitive data, finances, and information, and IT services have evolved to combat regular attacks.
However, while cyber threats have increased due to coronavirus, many businesses have also had to cope with their security becoming weaker at the same time. This is due to a large number of employees dispersing to less secure locations and networks, with reports stating that 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home during the outbreak.
To combat the vulnerabilities caused by the abrupt switch to remote networks, IT providers for businesses of all sizes must help their remote teams keep data secure in new environments and across several devices.
Solutions such as firewalls, spam filtering, and anti-malware should be offered and implemented, and businesses should start conducting official instruction on safe password and Internet use. Multi-factor authentication for every device is also a must-have for remote teams and onsite workers alike.
2. They Need to Revamp Their Work Policies
The pandemic has forced many businesses to operate online, whereas they may usually function in offices or other shared spaces. This has resulted in different learning curves for changing to remote work, depending on the size, type, and industry of the business.
In March 2020, it was discovered that while many companies were encouraging Work-From-Home practices, only 23% had actually released an official WFH policy. Strong Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) and Work-From-Home (WFH) policies are a vital part of ensuring the security of your company during remote working.
These protocols should always include training on cybersecurity practices, how to secure devices, and policies on Internet access and keeping personal and business accounts fully separated. You should also have policies on cloud or VPN use (if you rely on internal servers to access data) and how to safely access, share, and store data.
3. They Need More Robust Managed IT Services.
High-functioning IT management has become a necessity for small and large businesses alike, especially now that the pandemic has revolutionized the digital needs of companies.
Alongside robust security against cyber attacks, excellent managed IT services will also help your business consolidate siloed data, raise productivity, and increase the efficiency of your company. In addition, they can help your business find ways to cut IT costs, a benefit that many companies are in great need of during this global pandemic.
Growth requires high levels of security that will allow your business to develop safely, and managing the risks of cybersecurity with the help of a professional will help you achieve that growth. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and the increasing digitization of the business world, these strategies from lessons learned by businesses during the pandemic can help your business thrive.