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October 2020: Letter from Our President

October 01, 2020 | Blog

It is hard to believe we are already in October. This marks the beginning of fall and a month that catapults us into the Holiday season, and a sign that 2020 is almost behind us. Thank goodness!

This is also the month in which we nationally celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness. Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004 as a broad effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online. Today, our industry celebrates it as a time to educate our community on cybersecurity. This year, although met with challenges, has taught us all a lot and we can begin to look back and plan for improvements for 2021.

With most teams still working remotely, it is difficult for businesses to manage their IT efficiently. Installation of security patches, anti-malware tools, data backups, etc., are all more difficult now.  Does that mean your work-from-home model is not viable? Not really. A lot of companies I have spoke with recently, in fact, are contemplating a permanent work-from-home model even after the Coronavirus situation ends, as the benefits of the model are now clear to them–it offers a lot of flexibility and helps save on overhead costs.

You can still have a remote workforce while keeping your data safe. There are just a few things to consider.

  • Formulate rules
  • You can start by formulating rules that define the extent and manner in which personal devices may be used for work purposes.
  • Who is allowed to use personal devices for work?
  • Spell out the regulations that they must follow. For example, regular checks for malware and updates to anti-malware software, etc.,
  • If there are restrictions to the device type, software or operating systems that may be used, out of security concerns, then these should be addressed.

Train your staff: The first order of business is training your staff on how to identify IT threats and cybercrime activities that they can be a victim of. Examples include phishing emails, dubious attachments, clone sites, etc., Another area to train your staff about is the use of free/public wifi. They need to know that public wifi can be a gateway for hackers and cybercriminals into your system. Accessing emails from the airport’s waiting lounge or the mall’s food court can expose your business to IT threats.

Teach good password hygiene: Help your employees understand how important password strength is. They should be able to identify weak passwords and steer clear of them. Also, they need to know that no matter how urgent the situation seems, password sharing is not acceptable. Similarly, mistakes such as repeating the password for multiple accounts, not changing the passwords frequently, etc., can make a cyber criminal’s job easier.

With a strong IT policy that caters to the work-from-home environment, you can make this new normal work for you. However, it is important to clearly define the policies and actually put them into practice. All of this may seem new, and tedious, especially for businesses that are looking to recover from the effects of the on-going pandemic, which is why we are here to help set up a strong, secure, work-from-home environment for your business.

In celebration of Cybersescurity Awareness Month, we will be offering free Dark Web scans for your business to see if any credentials are compromised or on the dark Web. If interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please tell us here.

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