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Cybersecurity – Remaining Safe with Hybrid Working

Every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a reminder about the importance of cybersecurity. The collaborative initiative has become more important than ever before with increased digitalisation. Private sectors and the government come together to raise necessary awareness throughout the month; indeed, according to Statista, data leaks among IT professionals shot up by 55% following the pandemic of Covid-19.

In this digital-first era, businesses cannot skimp on their cybersecurity and must take appropriate initiatives to bolster their cybersecurity. We spoke to a number of industry experts to gain a better understanding and insights on how businesses can strengthen their IT security.

Changes within Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has significantly changed in recent years, with evolving digital threats as well as the impact of the pandemic. In the past, everyone was able to put more trust into security plans, by simply using VPNs and computer/mobile passwords. Many computer systems come with a built-in data protection program. However, with the imposed threats that businesses face today, it unfortunately is not enough. Speaking about the impact of the pandemic, Paul Holland, CEO, and Founder of Beyond Encryption, comments: COVID-19 and the corresponding digitalisation of services have caused an onslaught of external attacks and only continue to rise two years on. We now see much smarter cyber criminals devising ways to prey on vulnerable individuals – common examples of which include COVID or financial-based scams.”

There are simple, yet effective ways to help protect yourself against scams such as this. Businesses can identify scams by checking the location of the company attempting to contact them. If there is no physical location, the chances of the company being a scam are highly likely.

Moreover, it is not a job of a single employee within an organisation to keep everything secure. However, it is a collaborative approach that businesses should imbibe within their practices. Commenting on how everyone can play their part in bolstering cybersecurity, Eric Mink, CTO at Pax8 EMEA, highlights the importance of critical thinking. Mink says: “During this month, everyone should take a moment, even if it is only for ten minutes, to think about security both at home and at work. Consider whether you have a multifactor authentication setup for all of the apps you use. Do you have strong passwords used only once per app? Do you have a strong password manager?”

Businesses find cybersecurity intimidating, especially when employees are working from home which enhances the threat surface due to increased virtualisation. Simple and easy procedures, such as two-factor authentication, can benefit the company. If there is a threat posed to the employee’s accounts, they will immediately be notified and be given the option to change their passwords. Luckily, the hacker will not benefit from anything as they need the one-time code the employee has access to in a safe place.

Combating Threats Together

Businesses should take extra precautions and make sure that their security is always up to date. New and more threats circulate every month that most businesses are unprepared for. Nehal Thakore, Country Head UKI at Bosch CyberCompare, opines: “The industry must understand that the focus should not be on ‘if’ but ‘when’. Organisations should ensure that their environment is secure and prepared for business continuity with different tools and processes and redundancy.”  Businesses should always stay up-to-speed with different practices and ensure they have the best tools available to them.

John Street, Operations Director at Agilitas, believes that businesses must leverage best practice accreditation schemes to stay updated in this rapidly evolving landscape. Street asserts: “Achieving certifications such as ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials provide businesses with the framework and processes to be more resilient when it comes to Cybersecurity as they look to protect both physical and data security needs.”

Organisations are recommended to develop a security policy that covers all possible attacks, educate employees about safe work practices, and promote their cooperation over compliance. If businesses so wish, they are able to build their own cybersecurity plan through third parties instead of relying on their previous strategy.

Future Considerations

There is no such thing as being ‘too safe’ when it comes to cybersecurity. Businesses should always stay on top of the ongoing changes and threats posed today. Extra steps should be taken to ensure that the practices implemented within devices are up-to-date and are able to tackle anything that comes their way. Ben Jenkins, Director of Cybersecurity at ThreatLocker, states: “Given that ransomware is an ongoing, rapidly evolving global issue, and that data privacy is constantly jeopardised these days, keeping businesses safe is no longer an optional feature; it has become critical to stay ahead of the bad actors in today’s cyber landscape.”

The world is rapidly evolving both technologically and economically. It is clear that new technologies will continue to emerge and digitalisation will only increase. Businesses that are able to leverage a combination of cybersecurity measures with appropriate up-to-date training, will be able to reduce cyber risks.

Ben Jenkins, Director of Cybersecurity at ThreatLocker

John Street, Operations Director at Agilitas

Nehal Thakore, Country Head UKI at Bosch CyberCompare

Eric Mink, CTO at Pax8 EMEA

Paul Holland, CEO and Founder of Beyond Encryption

Global Banking & Finance Review


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