The COVID-19 pandemic developed additional challenges for businesses all over the world as they made adjustments to their typical operations with the “new normal.” IT and security teams are required to impose a higher level of security as millions of employees work from the safety of their homes. Cybersecurity is now a major concern because cyber criminals have been taking advantage of gaps and are performing exploitative actions amidst the crisis.
This article gives awareness about the cyber risks that emerge from the coronavirus environment, and how to optimize mitigation measures for your organization.
Cybersecurity Risk Management Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
The constraints imposed by governments around the world to lessen coronavirus cases have prompted businesses to take a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, which allows employees to access corporate information while staying at home. While many organizations don’t have the tightest security when working in a remote environment, the pandemic exposed companies to an even greater risk when using personal computers or laptops.
Home Wi-Fi networks are uncomplicated to attack and can make your organization vulnerable against cybercrime. It is a must to update your cybersecurity management, an assessment , an assessment that aims to detect risks and mitigate threats by applying suitable actions and extensive solutions to ensure that your organization is well-protected, especially when your employees are granted access to private data in remote areas.
Business Needs That Demand Changes in the Risk Management Framework
Business risks should be prioritized according to the level of impact they may cause in the future. Here are some risks that need to be addressed as they are more dangerous than others.
Cases of hacking become more apparent as people are enthusiastic about sharing their information and personal data on online platforms such as social media sites. This type of risk could be critical for growing businesses; not only does this risk lead to identity theft and payment fraud, but a company can also be financially responsible for such actions, which could lead to a downfall in trust and reputation.
The less debt load you have, the better. Every organization could have debts on hand, may it be from a loan to start the company or credit extended to customers. Make it a habit to keep debt at a minimum or lower your debt load to avoid cash flow interruption or unexpected loss. Interest rate fluctuations are also a threat, so it is also essential to market your services successfully. Income loss from a loyal client won’t be as catastrophic if you were able to diversify your services.
In relation to financial risk, it is essential to save as much money as you can for a steady cash flow. Along with the fluctuation of markets, the economy changes and this can be either good or bad for the environment. Be watchful of updates and trends that can lead to purchasing surges or reduced sales. A business plan should function accordingly to all economic cycles and can prepare you well enough for an economic downturn in case an unforeseen event arrives.
Natural disasters or human-induced events can trigger operational risks to be exploited. It involves a variety of factors that can either happen internally, externally, or both. When not addressed properly, this risk can cause you to lose business continuity and affect your time, reputation, and money. Risk management practices for this threat should include thorough trainings for employees, as they can make mistakes that may lead to financial loss and unproductive efforts.
Laws and regulations are necessary to be complied with and can impact your normal operations when left unattended. Fines and penalties are effects of non-compliance which can therefore raise a red flag for your business. Stay vigilant in monitoring your mandatory compliance and seek assistance from consultants who can help minimize compliance risks from state laws and local agencies.
Businesses strive with the help of different marketing essentials, and it has always been evident that there are competitors within the industry. Making continuous improvements and offering new services that can appeal to customers can greatly put your business one step ahead among the rest. Be aware of the trends and never settle for less, as growing competition within the market can result in loss of customers. Reassessing company performance, optimizing social media marketing, refining strategies, and maintaining strong relationships can fight off competition risk.
A simple bad review or a negative tweet can instantly cause a plummet in your revenue. Managing your reputation and responding to bad or good comments in a professional manner can keep your business away from lawsuits and reputation damages. Social media reviews and comments can greatly affect a business’ brand reputation; therefore, it is essential to provide quality services in order to maintain strong relationships with your customers.
Impact of COVID-19 in the Cybersecurity World
Threats have intensified because of the opening opportunities for attackers that grew apparent during the COVID-19 outbreak. On the other hand, hacktivists or hackers battling against political issues increase cybersecurity threats in their will to pursue social or political data. Script kiddies, also called junior hackers, are also exploring on their own, testing out cyberattack packages and honing their skills. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are using elevated digital technologies and traffic to find vulnerabilities and bait victims into clicking links that are related to the pandemic.
Risk Management Best Practices Post COVID-19
Luckily, strategies and practical steps for businesses are available to lessen the impact of intensified cyber risks in an organization. To prevent costly repercussions, the following practices should be implemented:
Determine weak spots
Even when you think you have the strongest defense, there will always be weaknesses that pop out from time to time. Consider determining vulnerabilities upon running tests and impose solutions to strengthen your security.
Apply new technology and techniques
Encourage the dynamic use of cyber threat intelligence to recognize and address attack trends. Use recently developed tools such as host checking, an authoritative tool to check security status before accessing company data, to fortify the security of remote working in these pandemic times.
Install antivirus programs
Investing in antivirus and antimalware software license defends your employee’s personal devices from low-level attacks.
Implement cybersecurity awareness
Best practices and protocols should be known to all employees to prevent leaking private data on the organization’s cloud storage. They should also remain vigilant with acknowledging emails and double check their credibility, as phishing scams have risen during the crisis.
Indulge in frequent assessments
New methods of cyberattacks should always be considered and evaluated. Check whether existing supervision vectors are sturdy enough, and update management documents such as crisis plans and business continuity plans. Consider new cyberattack methods and provide solutions to known risks.
Execute risk management
Prepare for future attacks and execute risk management plans. They provide a comprehensive view of the company’s risk exposure, carry out periodic cyber crisis simulation activities to prepare their response to attacks, or prepare their retaliation to malicious attempts before a cybercrime is committed.
Use a VPN for protection
Employees that work at home should ensure that their Wi-Fi connection is secured with a strong password. Better yet, the use of a virtual private network (VPN) can add an extra layer of security to work from home operations. They are not exactly a prevention from cyberattacks, but they serve as a useful barrier against threats.
Optimizing Your Risk Management Model
As the pandemic made millions of businesses adjust according to the new normal protocols, the risk management function should also be modified to be more effective. Some ways on how to optimize your risk management model include: enhancement of monitoring practices, streamlining of market risk operations model, optimization of reports and plans, and the automation of performance management and governance. It can take years to implement a stronger risk management function, but these fundamental practices outline the security of your organization to be in good shape.
COVID-19 had every person wearing masks and face shields when going out to prevent themselves from catching the virus. Similarly, being prepared in the cyber world is better than shouldering the burdens from failed security. Being able to react to unforeseen events quickly can lessen the impact of cyberattacks. Organizations that are continuously wary of such illegal acts are well prepared to face the battle against the endless increase of cyber risks and cyber threats.
Find Out More About Cybersecurity Strategies Amidst the Pandemic
To find out more about cybersecurity approaches for your business and cybersecurity risk assessments, take a peek at the services offered by EC-Council. The CCISO Certification is an industry-leading program that distinguishes the real-world knowledge needed to prosper at the peak executive levels of information security. Learn more and test your skills here!