The current business landscape has evolved manifold, over the past couple of months. Majorly caused due to the pandemic, the change has severely impacted the way we consume and share data. This coupled with the continuation of the remote working model has led to the creation of multiple transactional points, making it easier for cyber criminals to plan and execute their attacks.
The increase in the incidents of cyber-attacks has become one of the biggest challenges for businesses in India. In fact, as per a recent study by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), cyber-attacks in India rose by almost 300% in 2020 as compared to 2019. This study also stated the main cause for this increase to be due to the shift to a remote working model.
It is true that most businesses are now initiating/are planning to make the shift to a hybrid style of working. However, to be in a better position to safeguard their data against threats, they will need to keep data security at the center of their decisions. They will additionally need to make adequate changes to their existing security policies to protect their mission-critical data.
Keeping this in mind, here are 5 safety tips for businesses to keep in mind, this cyber security month:
- Setting up a VPN access: A virtual private network (VPN), is an internet security service that can securely connect and move data between an employee based outside office premises, and a company’s internal network or public internet. Not only does it encrypt data transfers in transit, it also masks the user’s location. By setting up a VPN service, businesses can ensure utmost security for their critical data.
- Running a password audit: It becomes extremely important for any business to ensure that its remote employees are resetting their devices’ passcode regularly. Incorporating the need to consistently change passcodes as a part of the business’s security policy, can help reduce the risk of continuous data attacks. Additionally, using a two-factor authenticator and advising employees to set tough passwords can add more layers of protection to the business data.
- Deployment of data protection software: Viruses are one of the most common forms of cyber-attacks that take place. To ensure protection from the same, it is important to have up-to-date protection software installed, inclusive of virus checkers, firewalls, device encryption etc.
- Encouraging the use of cloud services: Making the shift to the cloud for storing all confidential information can help a business protect, as well as manage their data better. Employees should be encouraged to use cloud-based applications that are verified by security teams, whenever possible.
- Backing it up: To prevent or avoid any data loss in case of a cyber-attack, businesses should direct their employees to use online backup services/approved external drives to back up their data. In a situation where data loss occurs, access to data backup can ensure the smooth functioning of business operations.
The road ahead
As we continue to manoeuvre through this data era, it is important to note that a smooth return to normalcy is not only in the hands of business leaders, CIO’s or security officers; it is also in the hands of the employees. Working closely, while being physically distant, and taking preventive measures to protect the businesses’ data, can help businesses to safeguard their data against any external threats.
(Ripu Bajwa, Director & General Manager, Data Protection Solutions, Dell Technologies India)