From 2020-2022, a combination of global events brought about significant disruptions to society and business that will take time to overcome.
But not all these disruptions were harmful; in fact, some of them only accelerated trends that were occurring. For example, the increased reliance on virtual meetings, remote work, and virtual learning strained internet capabilities, and software companies such as Zoom saw a dramatic uptick in usage.
While some organizations chose to piecemeal their online and virtual roles, some were early adopters of virtual meeting tools that connected people from all over and fully integrated with other processes within the organization.
The benefits of virtual meeting tools are that you can increase connectivity, accessibility, interaction, and security. In addition, having secure virtual meeting tools can help individuals in your organization stay on track, increasing productivity while lowering the overhead of being in person.
What’s more, remote work is not something that was a flash-in-the-pan. In fact, remote options are immensely popular.
In a recent survey, McKinsey & Company found that 35% of job holders work from home full-time, with another 23% doing so part-time. Additionally, 13% of people say they have the option to work remotely but choose not to. Those statistics equate to over 93 million people having the choice of working from home 1-5 days a week.
Another key takeaway from the survey is that when offered, over 87% of workers responded that they would like the opportunity to work from home regularly, with an average of 3.3 days a week of remote work.
What’s surprising is that most industries support remote work, but digital industries provide initiatives to encourage and sometimes demand it from their employees.
The increase in remote options and virtual learning creates a ton of cost-effective options but also comes with an increase in risk. Threats online will continue to grow as long as the trend of work, finance, and education increases online as well.
In fact, the growing threat of online security has jumped in recent years, with the most current industry report claiming that over 93% of all online activity is accessible by third parties.
In 2021, cyber-attacks increased by 15% over the previous year, and these stunning statistics add importance to organizations’ need to adopt better security protocols.
To start, an organization needs to understand the causes of these attacks. Hackers can generally access and compromise your systems through misconfigurations, human error, poor maintenance, and unknown assets.
Once the root potential of exposure is understood, organizations can turn their attention toward addressing the risks.
To address these growing cyber-security concerns, governments, corporations, and individuals are taking increased steps with their online security protocols and budgets.
In some instances, governments have increased regulations and requirements to protect the privacy and data of individuals online.
There are specific steps your organization can take to protect all the online activity, especially since the most risk is associated with user error within the organization and not the particular software and IT protocols installed.
The best strategy to minimize your organization’s online exposure involves layering external security protocols and internal processes.
Security and IT specialists suggest 5-strategies to include in your security processes;
- Implement VPNs for all connections
- Update security software regularly
- Enforce password rules
- Retire unused services
- Leverage existing security options
In greater detail, let’s explore each of these to understand better how you can educate your team and workforce to protect their data and that of your organization.
Implement VPNs: Utilizing virtual private networks (VPNs) gives your organization a near-impenetrable online access channel. Using a VPN becomes even more critical as you have remote and mobile access to your servers and files through public and less secure WiFi.
Update security software regularly: Hackers try to access breaches in security that often occur when software hasn’t been patched and updated. Updating periodically and often limits the possibility of exposure.
Enforce password rules: Strong passwords are the first line of defense against compromised access in your organization. Regular password updates and specific regulations that require highly secure passwords will enhance any other security protocols you install.
Retire unused services: When services expire, any user logins, applications, and credentials can become an access point for hackers. Once unused or expired services occur, delete all user credentials, access, and other functions.
Leverage existing security options: When you receive third-party software and apps, they usually have highly specified security features. Utilize the third-party security features and incorporate them within your security protocols for added layers of cybersecurity.
With the increased use and demand of online access and remote work, it becomes more important than ever to provide the best IT security you can and the training and understanding your employees need to keep your operations safe.