Concensus Safeguarding

Safeguarding your Systems and Devices During COVID-19

| May 13, 2020

The immediate needs of securing a remote workforce are beginning to wind-down, but now companies need to plan for both short-term and long-term IT decisions. To make these IT decisions, companies first need to consider that much of their remote workforces are adapting to working from home, and many may need or want to remain working from home for the time being. Here’s what you need to know about safeguarding and securing your remote workforce during COVID-19. 

Remote User Authentication

The number one security concern regarding any remote working scenario is user authentication. This is a constant security concern of a typical remote work or business travel situation, but even more so now that everyone is logging in remotely. It is even riskier to companies who have internet-facing services. Currently, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the most common and appropriate solution. 

Your IT team should be offering their expert knowledge of specific technologies, such as SAML, OpenID, and many others, to implement identity management systems correctly.

Password Protection 

Home-based employees may not be changing their passwords frequently enough, repeatedly using the same passwords across different programs and functions, repeating passwords between both work and personal accounts, and having difficulty remembering passwords. Password protections are vital to safeguarding systems and data during this time. 

Employees need to use a password management system to track their passwords, and if this is not a viable option, there are password apps available for their phones. In the short-term, you may want to encourage your employees to write down their passwords and store them in a secure location that is not on their devices. A piece of paper or post-it is unlikely to fall into the hands of a cybercriminal. However, this is only for the short-term until they can get up-to-speed on a password management system.

Also, insist that your employees secure their home WIFI network by requiring a connection key or password to log on. “Drive-by” WIFI breaches in residential areas are rare. Still, they are rapidly increasing as local criminals realize they can log in to unprotected networks and gain access to sensitive information.

Prioritize Your IT Needs

You may need to decide as you go forward, which of your IT needs are the most essential and which can wait. Then, you can prioritize the most critical in the short-term and determine which are most vital in the long-term. For example, you may need to split your VPN between the most secure data and information and the less critical act of simple internet fact-finding until you can be sure that all access points to your VPN are secured. 

These are just a few of the considerations you need to examine to safeguard your systems now, and as the effects of COVID-19 pandemic passes.  Contact us anytime.

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