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Cyber Security – How to protect yourself

How to Maintain Cybersecurity While Working From Home

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19 – a still unfamiliar global health threat – companies and organisations have been tasked to develop strategies to protect their employees while continuing to operate, even with a scaled-down or skeletal workforce.

Businesses have had to adopt a ‘work from home’ policy to continue operation and remain viable throughout the crises. This, of course, entails the use of remote access technology – something that hackers and cybercriminals are quite interested in. And with cyber-attacks being launched every 39 seconds, the frequency of these may increase with the rise of work-from-home arrangements.

At the heart of phishing are scams directed at individuals using the art of social engineering. Cybercriminals study trending topics and use these as a basis to craft their messages. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that more phishing attacks playing on people’s emotions and concerns will become even more common. These include emails purporting to be about a supposed coronavirus vaccine or economic benefits from the government.

In 2019, more than 23,000 Australian businesses were subjected to some form of cyber-attack, and there were already 9.2 million malware detections recorded during the first half of the same year. What, then, can companies and their employees do to avoid being targeted or victimised by unscrupulous individuals and organisations?

Essential cybersecurity measures

With new data privacy and protection laws, companies have an additional compelling reason to ensure their data (including that of their clients) remains secure. Companies that fall victim to cybersecurity and data breaches are held accountable and can be prosecuted to compensate the other victims – their clients, such as in the case of ransomware attacks.

To prevent such scenarios, the Australian Cyber Security Centre recommends practising proactive strategies, such as:

  • Ensuring systems (such as firewalls and VPNs) are updated with the latest security patches
  • Improving and testing remote access technologies in place
  • Ensuring the security of your remote desktop client
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication
  • Enhancing and or ensuring device security
  • Implementing strategies to protect systems from denial of service (DoS) threats
  • Educating staff and stakeholders on appropriate cybersecurity practices and measures

Moreover, companies would do well to keep backups of all vital files, as well as avail of third party secure storage assistance from niche service providers. A good example of this would be using the services of specialised companies like ours, Visual Approvals, that provide secure offsite cloud-based backup solutions tailored for building surveyors.

Individuals working from home are also advised to use strong, secure passwords and to adhere to cybersecurity policies involving opening suspicious (usually unexpected) email and downloading malware via an email link.

Preparation – the key to cybersecurity

Companies that adopt proactive cybersecurity measures and ensure their employees are trained and educated to anticipate and manage threats even while working from home already have the upper hand.
So, whether you are a digital marketing agency or a building certification company, you need to ensure that system and data integrity remain intact whatever work arrangements you adopt during times like these.