Corona Virus and working From Home
In wake of the Corona virus many companies are now implementing contingency plans for critical events. One such contingency plan is requesting staff work from home to avoid the spread of the virus. Whilst Corona Virus Home Working is a good measure to stop the spread this will also be a critical test on companies IT networks and data security.
Home workers and Data Security
Companies already with established home working arrangements in place will almost certainly make use of VPNs protection of network traffic from Cyber criminals. VPN’s give a point to point encryption ensuring data is secure on it’s travels.
For companies that don’t already utilise VPN’s and other such technologies there is a significant risk of cyber breaches from home users.
Corona and home workers data security risks
Firstly a list of established Home worker protocols:
- Staff use companies PC’s or laptops that are secured with standard set up and software
- Connections to the internet are run through VPNs
- Staff have been adequality trained on remote working procedures
- Devices have malware and firewall protection and software kept updated
- Network login may have secure secondary authentication and log ins.
Looking at companies that have requested Corona Virus home working, the risks can be as follows:
- Staff working on their own devices if not company issued that may have malware
- Network security relaxed to allow connections from home devices thus open for cyber attack
- Uncertainty the network will handle the load of data and so risk of downtime
- Data packets sent over unsecured networks which could be intercepted
- Storage of sensitive data outside of the work place on local private machines
- Emails sent over unsecured email providers
- Staff untrained on remote working best practice
- No control over the Internet networks being used such as local coffee shop, unsecured home, public networks
Best practice steps to implement for corona virus and home working
If a company feels the Corona virus threat great enough duty of care over the staff should be looked at. This can be in many forms. If home working is not an option and staff are still required to attend the office a few basic steps:
- Introduce hand sanity products
- Face masks if wanted
- Ensure surfaces are cleaned regularly
- If a staff member feel unwell send them home or request they stay home
- Reduce overseas travel as much as possible and make use of technologies for web meetings
Introducing Home working to battle the Corona Virus
- Where available issue staff with company laptops with a controlled build
- If working on their home PC ensure staff have adequate malware protection
- Introduce a VPN to secure and encrypt data
- Educate staff on home working best practice
- Update your cyber security project plan or introduce one
- Update staff and review Phishing attempts. Knowing staff will be working from home allows cyber criminals to call and email pretending to be a colleague. This information is easily available from a staff members linkedIn profile!
- Keep staff informed of the Corona Virus Risk and also any cyber breach risk. Make this part of your cyber security project plan.
- Keep all files password protected being sent to avoid data privacy and GDPR issues
- Stress test the network and keep monitoring the performance
Corona Virus Home Working Overview
With the Corona Virus spreading, more companies are going to safe guard staff and also look to keep operational. Allowing home working to stop the spread of the Corona Virus is a positive step to Control the Corona spread but also test home working protocols or introduce home working.
Cyber Criminals look for any weakness to exploit so the Corona Virus impact on business is an opportunity for them. Ensure you stay ahead of the risks and implement adequate protection for the Corona virus, Cyber Security attempts.