Since the arrival of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a period of revolution in the world of tech. Business has pivoted quickly to an entirely new way of doing things, with remote working, cloud storage and teleconferencing at its heart.
And this transformation has brought with it a whole series of new risks. Phishing, malware and ransomware have all applied pressure to cyber security firms, and to the economy more broadly. The UK government estimates that the cost to the economy of cyber crime sits at around £27 billion per annum. That’s a figure which rivals some entire government departments.
Of course, all of these risk factors have been around for as long as digital networks have been around. And they’ll continue to persist in the future – whatever shape the workplace ends up taking. Identifying and managing digital risk, therefore, is a must of all corners of the tech sector . A specialised form of technology insurance might be appropriate in guarding against total disaster – provided that you’ve taken some of the other measures outlined below, it might be that the cost of such insurance isn’t all that egregious.
Certain kinds of attack are more common than others. It’s therefore worth employers making themselves aware of these, and prioritising their measures accordingly. At present, it’s phishing attacks which constitute the biggest risk for most businesses. Certain kinds of website, however, might be vulnerable to distributed denial-of-service attacks – make sure that you have a means of guarding against them.
How can we mitigate the risks?
Software might form a bulwark against viruses and other kinds of malware. The right antivirus will seek out pieces of code which have been identified as malicious. It might subsequently quarantine and remove said code before it becomes a threat. But it can only do this if it’s kept regularly updated. The same applies to other pieces of software, like operating systems. Keep everything up-to-date, and you’ll enjoy the most complete protection possible.
A workforce which isn’t aware of the risks will constitute a systemic security vulnerability. It’s therefore vital that employers take the time to train members of staff to identify risks. This might mean specialised training to workers in specialised cybersecurity fields. But more significant are the vast majority of workers, who might be tricked into opening the wrong email attachment, or navigating to the wrong website.
Phishing measures don’t just target the ignorant; they’re getting sophisticated enough that just about anyone can fall for them, especially if they’re caught off-guard. Have policies in place to address the problem, and make sure that they’re implemented as a matter of procedure.
However effective the measures we implement, we will never get the risk down to absolutely zero. While eradicating cyber-crime entirely is a laudable ambition, it’s unlikely to ever be achieved. Therefore, business should make plans for when the worst happens.
If you’re unaware of the scale of vulnerability in your workplace, then you might commence with a security audit, preferably performed by an impartial outside party. This will let you know exactly where your vulnerabilities are, so that you can deal with them effectively in the future.