Coronavirus challenges organizations’ capabilities for remote working

Matti Suominen

Matti Suominen

Head of Product Cybersecurity

March 13, 2020 at 16:14

As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to escalate globally, one very concrete consequence has been the dramatic rise in remote working. Even if there many other serious challenges on top of the mind, cybersecurity company Nixu reminds that all organizations should pay attention to the security of remote working.

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, many companies have taken preventive measures to protect the health and safety of their employees and society and set new policies that either recommend or even require remote working when possible. This dramatic and sudden change in ways of working may create a new situation where good practices are forgotten or disregarded if remote working is not common in the organization.

Practical recommendations for safe and sound remote working:

 1.      Follow the policies on VPN usage of your company.
This is especially important if working in a public location through a publicly shared WLAN. Consider other options, such as using a shared connection from your phone instead.

2.      Be aware of scams and other types of malicious activity related to Coronavirus.
Criminals and scammers are known to utilize crisis situations to their advantage. Several mobile applications and malicious websites have already appeared which claim to provide guidance or information related to the situation. Avoid such resources and rely on well-known public sources as well as the instructions provided by your company. Do not enter your company credentials to any system or application which claims to be related to Coronavirus.

3.      When working on sensitive documents and environments remotely, take care that you do not expose those through the home network or other devices.
Only access such resources with your work laptop. Don’t transfer any documents to other devices that are not approved for such use. Learn always to lock your laptop when not actively using it.  

4.      Remember that social contacts and personal well-being are important -  even more when working remotely.
Be active on online communication channels, social media and similar. Meeting your co-workers in chatrooms and through other online channels can help to keep spirits up and share information that would normally get exchanged at the coffee machine.

Practical recommendations from organizations' standpoint

To ensure that the work can actually be carried out remotely, the following aspects need to be carefully considered:

1.      Ensure that the company guidelines and capabilities for remote working are up to date. Also, ensure that employees have a channel to ask questions or raise problems. Consider how communications will work if an employee has IT-related problems, which may limit their access.

2.      When implementing exceptional emergency access to resources and locations, which don’t usually allow it, make sure to implement proper access controls, instructions and ways to monitor these connections. There may be a need to demonstrate and prove later on that they have not been abused – for that, you need a proper audit trail. Consider Privileged Access Managed (PAM) solutions if readily available.

 3.      And finally, consider what resources are needed for both daily work and exceptional cases. Can these be accessed remotely? Are there situations where physical presence is required? What kind of extraordinary measures need to be taken to limit the amount of physical presence required?

 

If your organization doesn't already have a scalable infrastructure for remote working in place, getting it set up is relatively easy - without necessarily being costly. Please contact us if you would like to hear more.