The New Normal for Small Businesses Comes with New Cybersecurity Risks

By Ryan Klund - Business Development Associate

Coronavirus and the corresponding economic recession occurring around the United States has brought about several challenges for businesses and unfortunately the current climate is set up perfectly for damaging cyber attacks at companies that are not properly protected. Some experts are even predicting that the largest cyber-attack could happen in the next six months.

When stay-at-home orders went into effect months ago for non-essential organizations, security took a hit for many that were unprepared.  Just think about it, work-issued computers are chocked full of firewalls, anti-virus protection and other security features on a secure work network and still attacks happen at an alarming rate. Now, with employees working from home – in some cases on their own personal devices – the risks are increased exponentially.

Here are the reasons working from home can make organizations more susceptible.

  1. There are more endpoints an attacker can target

    1. If you think about the security of your business being a building, it is easier to secure a bunker than a mansion. In general terms, the more windows and doors a building has, the easier someone can break in. Millions of people working from home on personal laptops and devices, making businesses more vulnerable than ever before.
  2. Home networks are less secure

    1. The home internet connections being used by remote employees to access company data over a VPN are not secure or managed. In many cases, home networks and hardware are already infected with malware and can be easily exploited by hackers.
  3.  Phishing scams are on the rise

    1. With employees working from home, the line between work and life is blurred and there’s a possibility your employees are using their work machines for personal use. Right now, with information about the crisis at a premium, hackers and threat actors are preying on people’s fear and their desire for information. Phishing scams have increased across the board causing a threat to business security.
  4. Other factors make homes are difficult to protect

    1. Homes are very complex and difficult to predict and protect. Some workers might need to retreat to a closet just to get some quiet work time. As a business owner or leader there’s no way to tell who is listening to conversations or looking at computer screens with employees outside of the office.

While working from home might come with some security challenges, this situation could be a great opportunity to improve the security posture at your organization. There are steps that can be taken to lock down important data, like implementing Multi-factor Authentication for access to system critical platforms and getting rid of VPN connections and moving to cloud-based solutions.

If you are interested in starting the conversation about cybersecurity improvements, contact SWICKtech’s expert IT consultants for a free 5-minute consultation.

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