COVID-19 has represented both a crisis and an opportunity. Since the start of 2021, many companies, large and small, claim that significant portions of their employees will remain remote.

Employees keep setting up home offices, which is speeding up the transition to more cloud-based applications and digital transformation initiatives.

At the same time, because of the growing number of threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations must continue to invest in and develop their cyber defenses. It's an unanticipated boon for the cybersecurity field as a whole.

‘Cybercriminals have adapted by exploiting improperly secured VPNs, cloud-based services, and business email’ affirms Malwarebytes.

Many companies must increase their security efforts at the system level in order to support safe remote work. This entails employing cutting-edge technology to assist in the monitoring of computers, the updating of BC/DR plans, and the preparation of end-users for unexpected circumstances in their work environment. 

The New Cyber Normal Has Arrived, Cybersecurity with it.

According to the Cisco survey, 85% of all respondents agree cybersecurity is as critical as or more important than it was prior to the pandemic. The justification behind this increased interest in cybersecurity is because the pandemic coincided with a rise in cyberattacks. According to the Cisco survey, after the arrival of COVID-19 in March, 61% of all respondents reported a 25% higher jump in cyber-threats or alerts at their organizations.

Many businesses made security investments to get through 2020, according to Heather Paunet, senior vice president of product management at security company Untangle. For years to come, the long-term change to work-from-home necessitates rethinking security requirements.

Around the same time, the need for more intensive cybersecurity to defend remote employees implies that organizations may continue to shift to more cutting-edge approaches, such as investing in a zero-trust model, to have a more effective solution to these frequent attacks.

“As noted in the report, the number of cyber-threats and warnings grew in 2020 as malicious actors searched for security vulnerabilities as companies wanted to adapt so quickly to allow staff to work remotely,” Paunet said.

During the WFH transition, organizations failed to resolve some areas that could have improved protection.

44 percent of the respondents said they didn't have cybersecurity training based on the dangers of operating from home, 45 percent said they didn't review the protection or privacy functions in tech tools deemed appropriate for remote working, and 68 percent said they didn't install a new antivirus solution for work-issued computers.

IT executives have noted plenty of obstacles in the transition to working from home.

The top challenge, according to 55 percent of respondents, is to educate workers on how to work at home safely and legally.

The difficulties of setting up work or personal computers with modern apps for workers to do their jobs remotely was stated by 53% of respondents.

And 51% said that workers wanted to move to a modern, remote template of contact and/or cooperation.


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Image: Malwarebytes

 

Other issues emerged as a result of the WFH transition, including Cloud communication software do not have sufficient cybersecurity (concerns about Zoom bombing, for example), Staff may not have adequate cybersecurity defenses for their personal networks and computers, and an increased risk of ransomware and malware attacks in general.

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Image: Malwarebytes

Why is it that important?

Although cybersecurity has long been recognized as a challenge for large companies and technology firms, the conventional approach has maintained that smaller businesses might get along without investing heavily in it. Security is more critical than ever, with cybercrime costing companies and individuals up to $600 billion in 2017. Any organization must take measures to prevent, track, and respond to cyber-attacks.

Being cautious now can safeguard data – as well as the company's credibility – from data analytics designed to spot threats to proper employee training.

However, when smartphones, routers, laptops, servers, switchboards, cloud infrastructure, and cellular networks becoming more important for companies of all sizes, these views about cybersecurity are increasingly shifting.

The internet of things (IoT), a plethora of web-enabled “smart” gadgets that have created new, unexpected data vulnerabilities in homes and workplaces around the world, has accelerated the expansion of cybersecurity issues.

Although IoT devices can provide businesses with innovative and efficient ways to expand and evolve, they also increase the amount of points of entry that cybercriminals may abuse, and they are often ignored in standard cybersecurity initiatives.

What to do now? Adjust your cybersecurity system

In the spirit of “never letting a good crisis go to waste,” organizations will, and should, rapidly redefine their policies and procedures. Kosbit’s network security experts are encouraging every organization to follow network security methods and recommendations to better handle remote worker security and avoid any potential cybersecurity threat.

In fact, security protocols and practices should be checked and revised at least once a year. Remote employees who have poor security protocols and processes covering access and careful management of classified information are at a greater risk of witnessing breaches or inadvertent data leaks.

Based on the findings of this risk assessment, market, and security divisions should cooperate to reevaluate cybersecurity budgets and prioritize initiatives in order to enhance a company's cyber protection in accordance with its risk tolerance.


WFH model

This measure, which was stated by 54 percent of those polled, would help people who work from home on a daily basis. Employees who need to access business services while on breaks will benefit from it as well.

Train more for WFH

Training is critical for workers who operate remotely, according to 49 percent of respondents. Individuals, teams, and divisions do, however, receive instruction that is unique to their needs and obligations. Security preparation that is generic can only get you so far. If the protection guidance is precise and appropriate, staff are more likely to pay attention.

Online Privacy

Security teams had to resolve urgent organizational, process, and infrastructure vulnerabilities related to the pandemic-induced response and the transition to remote working as workers started working from home in less safe conditions and, in many situations, with less secure personal equipment.

Leaders have had to plug instruction gaps, hold virtual all-hands sessions, and advise staff to exercise digital hygiene by patching machines and upgrading smartphone apps.

Some 44% of those polled said they plan to take this measure to ensure that remote workers' resources function properly while still keeping connectivity and data secure.

Antiviruses and firewalls

Viruses, worms, and trojans are forms of malware that are continually emerging. Antimalware software mounted on an individual computer unit, gateway server, and dedicated network equipment is strongly recommended in this regard since it can help avoid initial exploitation of remote workers' computers and flush out malware that can damage the organization's network.

A firewall is a form of network protection device that controls and prevents unauthorized access to and from a private network. A firewall is basically a shield that prevents disruptive powers out of an organization's network. Any access to the Internet should be secured by a firewall, which is recommended for any organization. Additionally, even remote employees may use a firewall to shield their home network and families from potentially malicious Web pages and cybercriminals.

A total of 200 managers, administrators, and C-suite executives from US companies replied to Malwarebytes' survey. Many respondents worked for small and midsize companies, while others worked for major firms. 

according to the report, this measure would benefit 44 percent of respondents because many of this year's attacks against remote employees are older, industrial threats that could be identified by the right defense products.

Data loss prevention.

Human beings are, without a doubt, the weakest link in any organization's defense. Every business must reconsider its security policy and introduce technology to ensure that remote employees can not transfer confidential information outside the company's network.

VPN

When accessing remote devices, VPNs help preserve end-to-end encryption, increasing the protection of data transmitted.

Its key purpose is to make internet access more secure, convenient, and private.

Allowing remote employees access to a company's network often necessitates exposing the network to the entire internet.

Although VPNs build encrypted “tunnels” between a remote worker computer and a server connecting to the internet, no one can access the data transmitted via this connection.

Access controls

Unauthorized users should not be given access to a company's network. Furthermore, companies must allow remote employees access to only the software and resources with which they are authorized to work with.

If required to use BYOD solutions, allow workers to differentiate their personal and job tasks by using various devices.

For all privileged access, multi-factor authentication can be used. However, you can make sure the delegates are in order and that “break glass” plans are in place if important members are unavailable. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a single delegate would suffice.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi

Every remote worker should stop using VPNs and password managers in potentially unsafe public Wi-Fi networks. If remote employees may not follow these rules, cybercriminals would be able to easily track their connections and obtain confidential data.

Email protection

For cybercriminals seeking to establish a foothold in an organization's network and access sensitive company data, email is a typical entry point.

Phishing, ransomware, and company account compromise are the most popular email security risks.

Organizations must create strategies for coping with email protection.

They would be able to see the contents of emails passing through their email servers as a matter of strategy.

Beyond that, companies should adopt a protected email portal that checks and handles all incoming and outgoing emails, meaning that no threats are allowed in.

Keeping emergency preparations up to date

You're not alone if the business was caught off balance by the latest pandemic and didn't have a strategy in place to help a remote workforce. Nearly a third of firms were unprepared for operating from home at the onset of the pandemic, according to a Pulse Safe report.

Business executives must refresh their emergency planning while they look to the future to meet potential threats and end users' needs. This includes reaffirming the company's dedication to device protection and developing standards for long-term remote work.

New guidelines must be tracked and conveyed to the IT team and end-users when the organization introduces them. companies If workers are affected due to heavy weather, a personal emergency, or a pandemic, companies must have a plan in place to allow them to work remotely during these periods. It would be impossible to communicate how you will facilitate cybersecurity inside the remote employees without paperwork (and it will be even harder to launch a response, should an urgent threat emerge).



Remote work has risen in popularity in recent years, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. As a result, it is strongly advised that every organization begin and incorporate remote work into their strategy. 

It has already been shown that organizations that use this strategy reap significant benefits, including improved talent retention, efficiency, better work-life balance, and so on. Remote work, on the other hand, has security concerns and other issues that companies must face before adopting this practice.