Gurmeet Judge

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COVID-19 Security Issues and Staff Working From Home

Posted by Gurmeet Judge on Mar 27, 2020 11:22:10 AM

This is unprecedented times. Now, more than ever, protecting your health is a top priority. With the spread of the Coronavirus, thousands of people have found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly working from home.

Many businesses are going beyond government guidance on the pandemic, with “working from home” policies becoming standard as we try to prevent large numbers of employees from contracting Coronavirus.

One thing that has emerged and became critical over the last three weeks is working from home. Once organizations are back to regular operations working from home will be a vital business requirement to manage business risks instead of nice to have options. As this work style continues to be survival for most businesses, it will be a critical part of a long-term strategy.

“This is unprecedented,” said Ann Francke, head of the Chartered Management Institute. “It may change the workplace forever. Everyone will need to embrace a different sort of workplace behaviour.”

Here are the top 3 security items that every organization must consider

Security For Business: Most businesses prepared for machine viruses and had planned on how to manage risks. However, no one expected the human virus at the current scale and impact on countries around the globe. The business now needs to think ahead and create similar models and an emergency response plan to deal with such a situation.  We need to keep our teams safe, connected and motivated through the toughest of times.

Business leaders are also thinking about the challenges, risks and costs that come with allowing their employees to work from home. And opening secure infrastructure to access remotely means a business must manage security at every access points to control business risks. Either you are opening firewall ports to allow SSL/VPN access or using remote login software to access office networks, you are opening more access points to manage. IT Strategy needs to include working from home options, and the IT process must run ongoing testing to be sure to find out that not everything works as you think it should.

Security At Homes: We were all caught off guard with COVID -19 and businesses had to allow staff to work from home. As most business leader understands that network, systems attacks all start from the least secure device or infrastructure. During COVID - 19, staff homes or personnel devices were that least secure access point to connect with secured networks. There will be employees who don’t have adequate internet access, some that don’t have computers that meet the requirements for your software, some don’t have security software on their home computers, some have no security set up on their home network and possibly a few that don’t have an adequate workspace. There are many items in play, inability to ensure the physical security of a home office, unable to control or ensure the security of the network that employees are using, other family members will often have accessed the same network etc.

All of the above factors will increase business risk and organizations must plan to control and manage these risks.

Training / Procedure / Guidelines: During COVID-19, our team learned that providing tools and technologies to work from home is only half the battle, and ensuring proper training and adequate assistance is the rest of the process. Many companies offer some form of Security Awareness Training. However, this training is usually done only once a year and can quickly become outdated.

Business leaders will now have to consider having monthly or quarterly training sessions to keep your employees informed, educated on threats and their responsibilities when it comes to your company’s information security program and working remotely.

We are committed to be by your side and provide you with relevant information, tools, and solutions. Working from home can initially be a bit of a challenge. But when there is a contagious illness going around, staying away from crowded offices greatly reduces the likelihood of transmission.

Stay positive, take precautions and in words of Mark Cuban, "As bleak as it can seem right now and is horrific and tragic...we'll get to the other side."

Please take precautions and stay healthy!

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Topics: Productivity, Business Risks, Revenue, IT Process, Business Impact, Hard Cost, IT Strategy, Technology Cost, Covid-19, Coronavirus