The pandemic has changed the way businesses operate worldwide. In just a few months, companies that required employees to gather in the office have suddenly become virtually connected. All over the world, employees are connecting with their colleagues, partners, clients, and sharing information online. 

Data centres, cloud storage systems, system and devices that remote workers are using to stay connected and access company data means that our dependency on IT has become more vital. With employees continuing to generate business data from multiple devices, and unsecure networks, data protection and cybersecurity is an essential for businesses to look at. 

The new virtually connected world

We’ve seen different industries and departments quickly embrace this virtually connected world. Approximately, 90% of Sales has moved to a web sales model, where the Sales guys are pitching their products and services through video conference. Health care professionals have started to hold consultations over chat, video, email and phone with their patients, including sharing confidential reports. The education industry have also started to host webinars, and e-learning platforms to continue teaching.

Even in our personal lives, we are all doing our bit to help stop the spread. Essential shopping trips have now transferred into online shopping orders. The largest increase in e-commerce shopping has been reported in Vietnam (57%), India (55%), China (50%) and Italy (31%).

However, with a surge in online use, cyberattacks have also increased.  

Massive increase in cyber risk due to Covid-19

As everyone is virtually connected, cyber security has become a major concern worldwide. According to a recent report by INTERPOL, cyber attackers have been trying to extract sensitive information from hospitals and medical institutes.

What’s more with businesses exploring the idea of continuing to work remotely, IT departments are under pressure to ensure everyone in the company is supported to function this way.  Though IT teams are deploying new collaboration software to keep employees synchronised, these increase the risk of hacking of sensitive data. 

In addition, many businesses have allowed their employees to use their personal devices to conduct work activities, including access to enterprise applications without enforcing security controls.

Since the lockdown, the number of phishing attacks on remote workers has soared. Cybercriminals are well aware that employees are the weakest link to an organisation, and what’s more they are even more vulnerable at home. According to the media, the number of Covid-19 related phishing attacks increased by 667% since end of February.  Remote working and productivity tools such as Zoom and Microsoft have been used to hack into systems or deploy malware.

It’s these astonishing figures that has led to business leaders to consider increasing cybersecurity protocols. Almost 70% of organisations have said that they will increase their cybersecurity spending.

The demand for Cybersecurity

Even though Covid-19 is expected to be temporary. The ramifications of this virus will mean that every business will change its working style. To fit in with this change, business leaders need to start thinking about the working environment after Covid-19. Though the biological virus might be stopped with a vaccine, digital viruses will continue to grow. Business leaders must take action to confront the risks.

Ways to start introducing Cybersecurity into your business:

There are a whole host of ways the businesses can start introducing Cybersecurity related changes into the organisation. Here are the most important ones. Take this time to start introducing changes that will safeguard your business.

  1. Cybersecurity Education: Investing in a Security awareness training program is essential, and beneficial. Security awareness training programs trains employees to become first line defenders. Simulated attacks give employees the chance to experience cyber-attacks, and at the same time train them into spotting red flags. The interactive e-learning and web based training that comes with these programs are valuable to continuously increase awareness and engagement.
  2. Policy and procedures: As business operations change, the supporting policies and procedures will need to be revamped. After knowing the loopholes and vulnerabilities in your organisation, start drafting policies. Password security policy, security policy, Wifi, bank transfers and handling confidential data policies and procedures are a must.
  3. Data Protection software: Although bulk of cybersecurity is about training people, technology can help. There are various technology controls which can prevent phishing attacks from succeeding. More importantly, search and invest in a solution that encrypts your data from the moment it is created.
  4. Updated Software: No matter where your employees are, always make sure that the devices and systems they are using are up to date.
  5. Cyber risk planning: Cyber risk management is a process of identifying, analysing, evaluating and addressing the organisation’s cyber risks. It is important for business leaders to be fully aware of the risks in their business. Conducting a cyber risk assessment will help you identify the vulnerability, analyse the severity, and decide on how to respond to the risks.