As the pandemic pushed millions of workers home, corporations rushed to build infrastructure to support their new remote workforce. Organisations fundamentally built on brick-and-mortar operations were quickly brute force tested on their ability to pivot to remote work, and generally many organisations were eventually able to adapt. The realisation of the viability of remote work, along with its involuntary implementation, have created a new ecosystem of digital tools and interactions both within and without organisations.
For many, this shift to remote work is a silver lining in an otherwise uncertain couple of years, as employees were afforded a certain level of additional freedom and leeway.
Many got to spend more time with spouses and children, be more attentive to chores and responsibilities, and generally benefit from the comfort afforded by working from home.
While these things all lent some reprieve during the early days of the pandemic, it has been accompanied by a rise in data breaches and a new wave of cyber security threats for organisations to contend with. The distributed nature of an organisation’s network has reduced its ability to totally oversea custody of its resources.
While most IT infrastructure is equipped with security systems, the quantity of access points vastly increases with employees’ personal networks and lack of in person oversight or brick and mortar security.
Additionally, the challenges posed by effectively moving as much of an organisation’s workforce to remote work as possible opens the opportunity for new, unforeseen vulnerabilities or operational blind spots and the isolated nature of each employee slows potential to address these issues quickly and effectively.
The potential access points to an organisation’s network were numerous before spreading those resources across the homes of its workforce. Third-party network integrations, operational digital transformation, and constantly evolving cyber threats are an ever-present threat. Shifting an underprepared workforce to a remote environment, while understandably necessary, presents an enormous risk in terms of both cybersecurity and operational resilience.
The full scale of emerging risks and requirements that weigh down information and cybersecurity must be addressed in a standardized and well-established information management and cybersecurity architecture.
Preparing for a Data Breach
What can organisations do to better equip themselves and their operations? What are the key strategies and to develop 360-degree security for a new paradigm?
- The first step is to prioritize and integrate cyber-security and operational resilience into the core of the organisational strategy and invest accordingly. New infrastructure inevitably has a cost but investing in sustainable solutions can net returns in the future, as potential disruptions are mitigated, and the potential savings are redistributed throughout the organisation and its business. The business of illegally accessing, transacting, and distributing data and sensitive information is a 1.5 trillion-dollar market annually, and any portion of that successfully prevented is a value to both the organisation and the broader community.
- Second, search for and find solutions to operational blind spots. The shift to remote work was abrupt, and the challenges to operational effectiveness were not entirely known. It is important then to locate and understand any blind-spots in an organisation’s operations and security. Identifying these opportunities on a consistent basis is the key to maintaining a strong security posture as threats evolve.
- Conduct regular security audits, reinforced with automated monitoring technologies. Audits are a fundamental tool for the situational awareness of any organisation’s undertaking. It is often the first step in any effective project. For complex and evolving cyber threats it is a requirement. Audits can be labor intensive, but teams who are able to bolster their efforts with automated risk assessment technologies can mine a tremendous amount of value from the exercise and allows them to take proactive measures.
Cyber security is complicated, and while most of us are hoping are just hoping to find some reprieve through a tumultuous few years, organisations are continually faced with new cyber challenges. With proper implementation, taking these few fundamental approaches can lend sustainable results.
A mature cybersecurity system has multiple layers of defense spread across the organisation, but many organisations fail to understand the serious compliance and risk management implications of cyber and information security. The ever-growing threat to the organisation that it poses in the pursuit of its overall business objectives and continuity cannot be understated.
To fully meet these requirements, organisations cannot just manage and monitor cybersecurity continuously to mitigate risk and will likely be unsuccessful unless this management is conjoined with an integrated strategy that approaches information security, risk, and compliance from a holistic business and enterprise-wide lens – meeting international standards for information management and cybersecurity.