Amid the COVID-19 crisis, apart from the severe business continuity challenges, the graving IT security challenges are the additional burden that every business entities have to address.
The massive adoption of the work-from-home practice, vulnerable end-point devices, increased use of insecure online services seems to be a coveted season for cyber attackers. This opens multifarious channels for the attackers to seep inside the critical IT infrastructure of companies.
Thus, the current situation is quadrupling the challenges to all IT managers and chief IT security professionals.
Among the challenges, scaling the operations up and security services that can cover the distributed work environment is the highest. Notably, companies that are providing web-based service to their clients.
Companies with a dedicated managed IT service team can handle this issue and those with an in-house IT security and support teams also can handle it carefully.
However, it is not at all easy tasks at this moment; however, there are some solutions that companies can rely on to get an answer to these challenges.
The Important Challenges in IT Security
The range of problems that every end-point worker has to face is many. It ranges from the app access right policies to lack of immediate point of contact.
As employees are working from home, companies have to compromise on the app access right for the users. Organizations will get forced to broaden access rights such as enabling off-site access even for some of the critical applications that are more prone to attacks.
Besides, the unlimited usage of vulnerable personal devices is another challenge. Though, companies have “Bring your own device” policies in the run, the usage of such devices away from their secured network infrastructure will beget harmful consequences in this situation.
Organizations cannot monitor the devices and can’t patch them at the right intervals. Plus, the devices will be staying out of the network access control limits and end-point device protection systems.
Also, in a quite lenient way, there are chances of using unprotected software and tools that are cheaply available from the net that lead them to noncontrolled networks as well.
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Hence, the attackers are also plotting to wear professional masks and trying to trick real users/employees.
For example, Email-phishing that pretends more like official communications, scammers with a borrowed identity of the legitimate corporate support team, and fraudsters with a fake email that prompts to take immediate actions with fabricated information; likewise the cyber attackers are trying a whole lot of ways to breach into company infrastructure.
Alongside, cybercriminals are searching for nonsecure websites and gateways to push in malware.
Several attempts are figured out in the form of early-warning applications and drive-by-downloads (A drive-by download refers to the unintentional download of a virus or malicious software (malware) onto your computer or mobile device) etc.
The sole intention of this malware is to steal users’ critical data, including personal data, credit card information, wallet-keys, etc. Also, some will turn out into ransomware that demands money from the owners.
DDoS is the next villain roaming to hit someone at this season. In Europe, a major hospital was hit by DDoS attack and forced them to suspend all the schedules and interrupted their IT infrastructure.
It resulted in shifting the patients to another facility on an emergency basis. Thus, as the situation is getting more vulnerable and cyber attackers try to exploit the situation.
So, we have to take preventive measures and be cautious about all these daunting threats.
How to address IT security?
Today we have a lot of advanced measures to handle IT security threats. The advent of AI and IoT innovations gives a whole lot of scope to address these issues.
The major touchpoints that the IT security support team trying to mitigate would be updating security patches, maintain security operations, eliminating risks fo remote access, data security across the distributed devices, securing software development environment, employing multifactor authentication and etc.
In addition, there are few more strategies that the IT security team can focus on to implement a better security environment for companies to run their operations;
Focusing on Core Competencies:
Instead of distributing the resources and skills to different end-points, formulating core security and risk-mitigating policy help IT-management teams to manage things better. Including security operations, remote-security measures, data-protection, IT environment security, and all the core security measures have to be focused on.
Plus, companies should double-check that the employees who are working remotely aware of and trained in identifying and reporting security breaches.
Also, employees should be understood the remote working policies of the company to ensure the security of IT infrastructure.
Review the IT Security and Risk Policies:
Ensure your emergency and risk policies are always ready! Every IT-enabled organization has disaster recovery and security risk policies. But, it is not necessarily used to review in a fixed period of interval.
The policies such as business continuity, incident report, disaster recovery, vendor and talent succession management have to review and test to understand whether it is quite adequate or inadequate. Thus, IT security measures can be implemented immediately as the causes are coming across.
Monitor and Balance the IT Environment:
An emergency surge can be expected at any time in an IT environment. Hence monitoring is a necessary procedure to skip it, and only by monitoring your team can identify the threats immediately to begin the fix.
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So enabling remote monitoring of online tools using in the business, network channels for communications, end-pint devices that are prone to attacks will generously help the company to evade from potential threats.
In addition, the IT security teams will be forced to make prompt alterations in security policies as the team moves from an in-house operation to a distributed working environment. However, it would seem too risky to tolerate such compromises, but for the business continuity, such security lenience has to be addressed.
So, the only solution is to permit such compromises with vigilant security measures, as we have discussed above. And it is imperative to monitor the particular security changes and has to restore it as soon as possible.
As we have discussed, there are plenty of challenges lurking around the IT infrastructure. Especially in the time of crisis, companies will get more exposed to cyber attacks either. Hence to mitigate it companies can try out two valid solutions,
- Employing an in-house IT team that can handle all the operational and security tasks that your business requires.
- Hiring a managed IT service provider to take care of your end-to-end IT environment and its operations.
Both these options are obviously good, but the cost and service involved would be different. Big tech companies have their own in-house team and all the advanced tools to handle many situations. But, mostly SMBs cannot afford such kind of sophisticated IT infrastructure at all.
Hence, managed IT services are a too good option for those businesses that have no time and budget to handle an in-house IT support team.
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