Optimising Business Security During COVID-19
It’s been a challenging year for businesses, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Amid rising threats and shrinking profits, meeting today’s security needs has rarely been a straightforward task. Through this challenge, though, businesses are learning how to optimise their cybersecurity for both the present and future.
Reported cybercrimes have risen an astonishing 800% over pre-COVID-19 levels, with thousands of incidents occurring every day. As many businesses shifted to a work-from-home approach, they encountered unfamiliar IT territory, too. If that wasn’t enough, many companies now face financial difficulties amid the recession.
Optimising business security isn’t necessarily easy right now, but it’s not impossible, either. Here’s how companies have been responding successfully.
Addressing Remote Work Security Concerns
By far, the most prevalent security concern during COVID-19 is the shift to remote work. A distributed workforce means dealing with potentially unsecured devices and untrusted networks. As companies embraced cloud computing to make work more accessible, stricter access controls have become indispensable.
Companies can’t secure every employee’s personal devices, but they can limit access to their sensitive data. Network segmentation ensures breaches in one area won’t affect another, and multi-factor authentication reduces the risk of a non-employee gaining access. Practices like zero-trust security have always been helpful, but now they’re becoming necessary.
Some businesses have turned to employee surveillance technology, but these can come with security concerns of their own sometimes. With proper usage, though, they can be valuable tools for monitoring worker behaviour. That’s particularly advantageous when phishing attempts taking advantage of human error have been so prevalent.
Rethinking Security Budgets
Many companies have also had to pay new attention to their cybersecurity budgets. According to McKinsey, overall cybersecurity spending will increase over the next year as businesses become more aware of its urgency. Not all companies can expect growing cybersecurity budgets, though.
Across small and medium-sized companies, cybersecurity spending is shrinking more often than it’s growing. In the face of declining revenue, SMBs don’t always have the resources to improve their cybersecurity budget. Still, some smaller businesses are finding ways to make the most of their limited finances.
In the early days of a crisis, security leaders can focus on tech that brings immediate value. Sometimes this includes adopting new practices like automation that extend small security teams’ reach. Using data analytics to find vulnerabilities and opportunities has also proved helpful.
Physical Security Considerations
Digital risks aren’t the only threats facing IT security during COVID-19, either. With fewer people in the office, some businesses worry about burglaries or other physical dangers. The average burglary costs $2,800, which can be a lot to a small company facing economic hardship.
Security cameras, lights and stronger locks can help prevent these costly break-ins. While physical backups are a helpful cyberattack mitigation measure, they’re also prone to physical damage. Storing backups in discreet, well-protected areas helps prevent these threats.
Companies should also take care to remind their remote employees about physical security. If a burglar stole the devices they use for work, they could access sensitive business information. Just as with offices, security cameras, smart locks and discreet storage can help here.
Staying Safe in COVID-19 and Beyond
As companies adopt these new security practices, they’ll start to see their advantages first-hand. Many of these trends won’t disappear after COVID-19 as a result, now that businesses know their importance. If companies had embraced them earlier, it could’ve prevented costly incidents, and they won’t make that mistake again.
Businesses will emerge from the COVID-19 era more secure than ever before. Having to meet new challenges has made them keenly aware of the benefits of next-gen security. The post-COVID-19 business world will be one where cybersecurity takes centre stage.