Reports, op-eds, and documentaries point out that many 2020 pandemic-prompted changes are likely here to stay. From contactless takeout food delivery to the widespread adoption of virtual meetings, the disruption of COVID caused many technological and digital shifts for organizations.
According to recent information from PWC, which surveyed businesses cross-industry, CEOs plan to make their companies more digital and virtual. This means having more remote employees. Additionally, of the CEOs surveyed, 78% believe that a “distributed workforce is here to stay.”
With all this information, it’s time that organizations rethink how they can remain secure and thrive in the new normal.
Some of the business decisions that enterprises were forced to make as states shut down were quick fixes. There has been, and there still is, an evolving adoption and integration of new platforms to the workplace. In the hustle to stay connected, digital security is the first thing to be overlooked. As Mike Wilson details in Security, as many people connect remotely, “relying solely on a corporate firewall is no longer a sound security strategy.,” meaning many more users and organizations are at risk.
The base level for survival in 2021 is to make sure that you’re online. However, to survive and thrive, companies need to adjust their security strategies before it’s too late. Read on for the top five tips for any organization’s cybersecurity.
1. “Trust No One”
Organizations need to adopt a mindset of Zero Trust now that there is no longer a clear security perimeter – physically or digitally- around their structures. Moving forward, no matter which network a device resides in, each connection should be secured and authenticated. We should standardize—and perhaps require—the use of VPNs for any employees working remotely. This goes for people at every level of the company’s internal structure—from IT administrators to CFO’s.
2. Might Feel Awesome to use MFA!
In the same manner, there are so many reasons to layer on authentication methods. Finding an MFA that is a good fit for your organization takes some research. There are so many different options, some may cause user friction, but it’s worth pursuing. Passwords, though ubiquitous, are often sources of vulnerability in a system. Having an additional layer—or ideally, layers—of authentication will immediately bolster your defenses.
3. Audit, Then React
As with any structural change within an organization, it’s worth staying calm and looking over what you already have in place to be able to accurately determine what you need. As COVID spread and companies flailed around seeking rapid solutions, there was a “surge in the adoption of collaboration tools and cloud services,” as Wilson reports. But IT teams should take time to audit every solution for potential vulnerabilities and know-how to securely configure them before they are activated. Finding security solutions, from policies to programs, is about identifying the digital needs of the business as well as the existing vulnerabilities, and making smart, agile decisions.
4. Utilize Intelligent Technology
While the IT team is being stretched to its limits, it’s also a very good time to engage with intelligent technology and pursue how your company can use it. Machine learning and bot detection are critical tools for the new digital norm. Having chatbots set up to address FAQs from your remote employees or clients can be an easy and effective way to reduce the burden on the IT staff. Read more about the possibilities for AI to help with security risks in the future here.
5. Be Clear & Educate Employees
While the impetus to educate employees about cybersecurity has been massive for a long time, it’s even more crucial for a team to be on the same page these days when it comes to the digital landscape. Not only should staff be aware of the telltale signs of common phishing scams and reminded of the importance of strong, unique passwords, but they should also be given regular holistic training on the importance of digital safety. Integrating security into the work as something helpful and serious will help employees make good choices.
Emphasize to employees that the policies your company institutes will not only protect the organization’s data but also help protect personal data. Don’t be afraid to explain and remind employees about the dangers of coffee shop WIFI networks and the problem of password reuse.
Whatever the “New Normal” looks like for your company, it’s clear that the cybersecurity landscape has changed forever. Now is the time to learn about your options and get on board with new solutions.