With the mass shift to Work From Home and employees logging on remotely, cybersecurity and data protection have moved higher up the list of corporate priorities. With many companies not planning for, or being accustomed to, remote working, the opportunities for phishing, hacking and ransomware have risen considerably.
Attacks vary by geography, and interestingly, more than half of malicious activity in the current crisis has been reported in Europe and US. Nevertheless, in a globally connected world, every country and company needs to be on its guard.
From the smallest SME to the largest multinational, secure access is vital, with Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) and VPNs being leveraged to protect networks and data. With remote access now a huge issue, you must identify what is essential to your business that you have to protect.
While managers wrestle with macro challenges, we must all take individual responsibility. That means using strong passwords and other forms of Multi-Factor Authentication when logging in remotely – which ideally must be reset on a weekly basis. Anti-virus software and systems should be kept up to date, and every authentication should be verified and audited if enterprise assets are involved.
For most conscientious employees, it comes back to transparency and trust – and only by reconciling technical and business risks, and highlighting them in your risk formula, will businesses be safely protected. Training should be constantly updated, and data procedures clearly communicated.
Simple mistakes made by users are one of the most common vulnerabilities that attackers exploit, more so when there is a bigger shift to the cloud, a concern that we take seriously. UniFLOW Online, as an example is a unique integrated print, scan and device management solution, which allows managed user access and enhanced document security for print jobs in the cloud.
Such due diligence is called for in every step of our work, including how we access information, which, at all times, should only be through official portals. Palo Alto Networks, a US-based cybersecurity company, identified 116,357 newly registered domains with coronavirus-related names between January and March – 2,002 of which were classified as ‘malicious’ and more than 40,000 were considered ‘high risk’.
UAE managers should fully familiarise themselves with Resolution No. 281 from the UAE Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (released at the end of March) which creates a new obligation on all private sector businesses to have a codified approach to system access and information security.
Employers must set out their rights of access to IT systems, such as our Therefore document management system, which speeds up business workflows and Avantech SCAN2x, which streamlines scanning and document management into a single process. Internal departments can be connected, with PIN numbers for each user and optional swipe cards and fingerprint readers, enhancing security protocols.
While many large multinationals adopt such practices, this will be a new requirement for many SMEs and local companies that have not previously been required to adopt this approach by law. Remote workers must be given access to appropriate “smart systems and electronic applications.”
A data revolution is imminent. According to the ‘Big Data Market’ research report published by MarketsandMarkets, the global volume of big data is expected to grow in value from US$138.9 billion in 2020 to US$229.4 billion by 2025. Businesses will increasingly have to base their decisions on its projections as opposed to merely relying on hunches.
Data and security protection will continue to rise in importance as remote working increases, social platforms grow, and search is revolutionised by Big data and IoT. At Canon, it is our unwavering commitment to be at the forefront of all these profound changes and to support our customers and partners sail through the tough times rest assured of IT security and work efficiency.
By Shadi Bakhour