The Virus Doctor Ken Dwight Details Urgent Need For Cybersecurity
For technology services providers and break-fix shops, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a shift in work, not just for your business and employees, but for your clients and potential clients.
What Does the COVID-19 Crisis Mean for My Technology Services Business?
Like many technology service providers, the past few weeks have focused primarily on the dramatic shift to working from home. Millions of employees have had to reposition their work to home offices, kitchen tables and bedrooms. They've also needed to get the technology that allows them to connect with customers. Zoom for videoconferencing and Microsoft Teams for collaboration and communication have become commonplace.
Yet with those shifts, new technical issues have emerged as well, namely from the increased risk of cyberattacks. Dwight noted that the current public health crisis has meant new work demands. "In the process of staying in touch with my clients, I'm getting several different perspectives," Dwight noted in a recent interview.
Break-fix clients, he said, are seeking help in getting remote workplaces established, so there's been an increased need for help with Zoom installations, he said. For managed services providers, however, that work, while hectic in recent weeks, will begin to taper off.
"There are still several (MSPs) that are still focused on getting their clients set up to be able to work remotely and that has become a big part of their business right now," Dwight said. "That'll be a fast-peaking wave because in a week or two everybody will be set up to work n that environment and that part of the MSPs' business will go away. Presumably, they'll get back to more of a normal working environment."
Break-fix businesses are starting to see a reduction in work volume as customers take a wait-and-see approach as concerns about cash flow begin to mount.
Dwight predicts that the rise in cyberattacks will mean a new wave of activity for the industry. "Malicious people out there are going to try to exploit the users who are working from home," Dwight noted. "Criminals are not letting this deter them from their usual efforts."
Dwight noted the rise in phishing attempts that are trying to play to people's fears. Hackers are issuing emails that purport to be from legit organizations such as the World Health Organization or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unnerved at-home workers, eager for COVID-19 information, see these fake emails and click on links or attachments that can embed malware.
The government's stimulus efforts are also driving phishing attempts, Dwight noted. Emails and texts are circulating that claim to be about individual benefits or, for businesses, news about the loan and grant programs available.
What Can Businesses Do During the Pandemic to Shore Up Cybersecurity?
During this unprecedented time, there is an opportunity to improve several aspects of cybersecurity with clients. The first is to focus on operations, processes and procedures, especially as they relate to business continuity, disaster recovery, data access, privacy, authentication and user privileges.
The second is to focus on training. In some cases, the work volume for employees has dropped. It's a good time to make sure employees are aware of cybersecurity patterns, how to detect suspicious emails, what information to share or not share and what policy aspects need to be followed.
The pandemic is a time of great unknowns. Focusing on what can be controlled and prevented helps businesses and employees while keeping criminals at bay.