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COVID-19 cyber security: 9 key security considerations for remote workers

By: GardaWorld
March 23, 2020

NYA and Drum Cussac, two GardaWorld companies, are working together to offer effective planning and crisis response solutions in light of COVID-19. To learn about our capabilities or to request a quote, please fill out our contact form.

As employees are working from home in response to COVID-19, there are new cyber security risks to consider.

Cyber criminals are monitoring the shift in working patterns. We have already seen online scams related to COVID-19 and the exploitation of vulnerabilities, as large numbers of employees move from a secured network environment in the office to remote working.

This includes the exploitation of unsecured network connections to monitor traffic, and the sending of malicious password reset reminders. The problem may be exacerbated by the fact that users have less support from IT helpdesks.

Important security considerations should be raised early on and communicated effectively to all employees who are working from home.

 

Here are 9 key issues to consider:

 

1. Network Security

Network security

  • Employees should access company data using a secure and reliable internet connection
  • In instances where users do not have access to secure WIFI at home, they should use company-issued work phones to connect to secure 4G.
  • If this is not an option, the use of secure VPNs is essential to protect confidential company data.

 

2. Bandwidth

Bandwith

  • Ensure there is enough bandwidth on the firewall or VPN to allow all employees to access systems simultaneously.
  • Identify critical users to prioritize those who need access to specific systems or data.
  • Consider failover options.

 

3. Company Devices

Company devices

  • Ensure employees are issued with company devices with appropriate security configurations enabled.
  • This includes ensuring anti-virus and malware detection are both enabled and updated remotely. Ideally, such devices will also be configured to prevent the inadvertent download of malicious content and applications.

 

4. Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management

  • Use a central device management solution to digitally enforce policies and issue security updates and patches as required.

 

5. Secure Communications

Man holding a cellphone in hand while workin gon a laptop

  • Consider ideal methods of communications for employees working remotely and ensure employees have access to relevant software.
  • Consider secure methods of communication for other stakeholders, including clients and the delivery of services through software such as video conferencing.

 

6. Applications

Man wearing headphones working from home

  • Ensure employees have access to appropriate applications to carry out their daily jobs.

 

7. Support to Employees

IT support agent wearing headphones

  • While some employees are well accustomed to working remotely, others may require additional support.
  • Consider the increased pressure that may be placed on IT support and ensure they have adequate resources during this time.

 

8. Awareness and Training

Woman wearing headphones, learning from home

  • Provide remote IT hygiene training for employees to limit the likelihood of “human error.”
  • Ensure employees are made aware of online scams related to COVID-19.

 

9. Third-party Vendors

IT professional wearking headphones and smiling

  • Check in with vendors providing IT security and support to your organization to ensure they have appropriate contingency plans in place to provide ongoing support.

NYA and Drum Cussac, two GardaWorld companies, are working together to offer effective planning and crisis response solutions in light of COVID-19. To learn about our capabilities or to request a quote, please fill out our contact form.