2020-05-27 Even as many countries around the world start relaxing their COVID-19 lockdown rules allowing more people to return to their workplace, working from home and remote working is here to stay. For instance, in South Africa, most banks are choosing to keep many of their people at home, even after 1 June when we switch to alert level 3. We’ve been doing the same at Synapsys: even though as an essential service we have been able to return to our offices, we’ve continued working from home and are planning a phased return over the next few months where we alternate between going to the office and working from home.

Of course, as a country we’ve been warned to expect the restrictions to ebb and flow as the disease flares up in hotspots, so it is not unlikely that people who return to the office next month, might find themselves working from home again.

All this is to say that any adjustments in how you and your people work from home or remotely are for the long haul. Companies are reporting a 40% increase in cyberattacks since they started working remotely, and so our partner Acronis has been sharing some invaluable advice, especially around cyber protection, for remote workers. We’ve collected a selection of their tips here.

Maréva Koulamallah, Acronis’s Head of PR & Communication for EMEA recommends:

  1. Plan ahead but also be ready for last minute changes. 
  2. Prioritise. Keep tight deadlines in mind first. 
  3. Accept that some things might take longer but do not give up. Focus, in the meantime, where you have the strongest impact. 
  4. Communicate a lot and do not fear mistakes, that is how we learn. Correct them quickly.
  5. Do not blindly trust the technology and implement the right cyber protection.

 

It’s astonishing how fast criminals are to take advantage of a situation. These are just a few examples from around the world. And in South Africa we’ve seen our own variations: notably PerSwaysion, which targets corporate email accounts exploiting Microsoft logins, and is very sophisticated and detail oriented. Other scams include messages claiming to be from banks about cashflow relief, fake purchase orders or payment notifications, and to students and staff of academic institutions that are suddenly all remote.

More tips from Maréva.

Speaking on an April webinar around staying cyberfit during the COVID-19 outbreak, Candid Wüest, VP of Cyber Protect research at Acronis shared a number of recommendations. Here are some highlights.

  1. Update default passwords on WiFi connections and routers.
  2. Log out or lock your laptop when you’re not using it.
  3. Update and patch your software.
  4. Use sophisticated security software on all the devices on the same network.
  5. Use strong and unique passwords — a password manager can help with this.
  6. Use two factor authentication where available.
  7. Separate your home and work accounts on your laptop — this can help with productivity too.
  8. Don’t overshare on social media — that picture of your cat joining your video conference is cute but be careful about what other information you could be inadvertently sharing.
  9. Only use approved data sharing platforms.
  10. Backup all your data daily and encrypt your device or enable remote wipe.

 

Let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect and to find out more about Cyber Protection for remote work.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 27 May 2020