CISO Says… Help each other out

Chris van den Hooven

Chris van den Hooven

Senior Security Consultant

Maaliskuu 20, 2020 at 13:51

The Corona virus has provided for challenging times, impacting businesses globally. It is very likely IT security is no longer a top priority for companies, when the only outlook is surviving the current crisis. Of course, companies are handling things to the best of their ability. The current situation reminds me of 2009, when the world was battling the swine flu pandemic. In hindsight, that flu was comparable to the seasonal flu. It looks like the Corona virus is completely different, with far more severe consequences. We are now faced with the same review, and the comparisons are striking.

Nixu COVID19 Humane


Working remotely

The obvious way to prevent spreading the virus while continuing business as usual, was to work remotely. The initial plan was to allow everyone to ‘work from home’, but after an inventory the capacity of the systems in place to support this was insufficient on the server side. It was also unclear whether staff had suitable workstations and internet connections at home. So, we created plans taking the limitations into account, and focussed on the processes. Although remote working is more common today, most organizations still don’t have enough capacity to enable all staff to work remotely.

What was also different back in the day, was the number of employees anticipated to be ill and off work at the same time. The estimates were around 20-25 percent in the 2009 situation. These figures may be much higher now. Because people who need to take care of sick loved ones cannot work either.

But there is more to being prepared in these specific times of crisis than just enabling and supporting staff to work from home. Have you considered:

  • How you are going to make decisions when half of the (management) staff is gone?
  • How you will communicate with staff, customers, suppliers and press?
  • How much capacity you have in order to enable staff to work from home?
  • Which business processes should continue and what the minimum level is?
  • What the minimal viable workforce is?
  • To not forget support teams, for example the IT helpdesk!
  • What your policy is on remote working and if you have communicated it?
  • In what ways you can support your staff, customers and suppliers?
  • Where you can turn to for help?

Help each other out

One of the Nixu corporate values is to be humane, and take care of each other. I believe nothing is more important in these tumultuous times. A lot of information security is targeted to availability, and we’re experts in this field. The way we operate internally also happens to be the way we operate externally. It is part of our company culture to be humane towards employees and partners and we equally operate humanely towards our customers. We help with policies, processes and procedures, and with risk management and identity management. We have been receiving countless Corona pandemic related inquiries recently. Many associated with incident response matters or the improvement of threat monitoring activities. We have taken notice of organizations experiencing difficulties related to VPN connection speed.  In some cases, companies have been forced to start rebuilding their remote connections from scratch.

If you are facing similar issues, remember that help is always available. Never hesitate to ask for assistance, especially during these times. Whether you require support ensuring the security of your remote connections, with privileged access management, sharing security awareness information with your employees, or any other cybersecurity matters.

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