The COVID-19 pandemic has made the work-from-home model the new norm among businesses across the globe. As a result, technology has become increasingly integrated into everyday interactions, lifestyles and work experiences, accelerating the digital revolution. However, as the remote business model becomes widely adopted, hackers are increasingly exploiting weaknesses in new working practices — creating an even greater need for advanced cybersecurity. Cybersecurity involves all of the technology and operations employed to protect devices and their platforms from cyberattacks or hacking. Since the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in cyberattacks including ransomware, phishing and hacktivist intrusions. In order to protect businesses and organizations and minimize potential threats, effective cybersecurity practices must be implemented to help manage cyber risk exposure.

Criminals are targeting sectors that are vulnerable because the economic impact of a hack or digital shutdown can be immense. Therefore, it is important that organizations implement effective business practices to ensure that each individual system is protected.

 

The Relationship Between the Work-from-Home Model and Cyberattacks 

In response to COVID-19, many organizations had to quickly switch to a completely remote work environment. As an unprecedented number of employees began working from home, they used their own devices and home networks, which tend to be less secure than their organization’s network. Many of these devices and technologies lack required industrial and standard security measures. Additionally, internal information can be accessed through irresponsible employee action or human error. The work-from-home business model, forcing a completely online environment, has increased potential exposure to cyberattacks. One of the largest threats to an organization can be its own employees. Employees can access large amounts of data and without proper training in cybersecurity, they can expose an entire organization to potential cyber risks. If networks are penetrated, then all connected systems could be infected.

 

Relevancy of Cybersecurity in Response to COVID-19

The increased reliance on technology through organizations and businesses, in response to COVID-19, requires that employees and businesses recognize the importance of implementing the best practices to eliminate potential cyber risk exposure. Basic cybersecurity is becoming increasingly vital as cyberattackers — from hacktivists to organized crime networks — are targeting vulnerable networks. If successful, cyberattackers can steal funds, break critical infrastructure and steal valuable intellectual property. If businesses and organizations continue to rely on the internet to store important information, conduct transactions and perform negotiations, then effective cybersecurity strategies must be implemented system wide.

 

Cybersecurity Practices to Protect Against Cyberattacks

Due to COVID-19, the technological and working environment is quickly evolving and adapting which makes it difficult to understand the best practices to better manage the multifaceted cyberthreat facing organizations. However, there are several practices that can be implemented within an organization to mitigate potential attacks. An organization’s security is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, developing cybersecurity awareness and training among employees can reduce the risks of cyberattacks on an organization. Employees should undergo proper training to understand cybersecurity. Reducing the improper usage of technology can be achieved among employees – prevention is the best practice to reduce potential risks.

Being equipped with a toolbox of cybersecurity best practices and knowledge to manage cyber risk exposure will expand employees’ understanding of key functional areas in cybersecurity. Understanding potential cybersecurity threats will help prevent future attacks. It is important to consistently back up organizational data and keep software updated. The use of authentication systems, cyberattack response plans and ongoing network vulnerability assessments can help protect an organization’s data. Learning effective strategies in an increasingly digitized and technological environment will help prevent future attacks and protect your organization’s most valuable data.

 

Specific IDB Programs to Manage Cybersecurity 

Interested in upgrading your organization’s cybersecurity to minimize potential cyber risk exposure? The Institute for Defense and Business is offering a program to introduce participants to the multifaceted strategic cyber risks facing organizations from emerging technologies. The IU-IDB Cyber Risk Management Program will help you better understand the multifaceted cyberthreat facing the public and private sector and equip you with a toolbox to manage cyber risk exposure.

 

About IDB

The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) delivers educational programs and research to teach, challenge and inspire leaders who work with and within the defense enterprise to achieve next-level results for their organization. IDB features curriculum in Logistics, Supply Chain and Life Cycle Management, Complex Industrial Leadership, Strategic Studies, Global Business and Defense Studies, Continuous Process Improvement, and Stabilization and Economic Reconstruction. Visit www.IDB.org or contact us on our website for more information.