Cybersecurity in the Modern Working Environment

Cybersecurity in the Modern Working Environment

The digitalization of societies across the globe has presented new opportunities for small businesses to utilize the opportunities presented for finding new markets to sell their products and services, as well as develop their brand and extend their reach. However, small businesses that transition to online operations are more likely to lack appropriate funding for cybersecurity solutions in comparison to larger enterprises, and this leaves them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Therefore, business owners that wish to operate in the digital environment, must develop robust cybersecurity strategies on top of a quality website and a prominent marketing strategy.

While the impact of a cyber-attack or a data breach may be harmful to any individual who is on the receiving end of it, its impact becomes significantly larger if the victim is a business that may hinder their operations and business processes. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all businesses started working from home which posed a complex challenge for the organization’s IT and cybersecurity departments. Doubtlessly, operating from remote locations and possessing access to shared organizational resources increases the complexity of protecting the organization’s systems, networks, data, and applications.

Due to the transformation of the workplace from work-premises to home, the lines between leisure time and work become blurred, where the personnel are more likely to utilize the same devices for both leisure time and work. The significant number of social media networks and other platforms in which individuals are present increases the potential for cyberattacks, and leaves individuals vulnerable to malicious sources. For business organizations in the past decade, cybersecurity has been regarded as a vital component, but the significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks and data breaches has increased the complexity of maintaining a robust cybersecurity presence. 

Organizations in the modern operating environment have the responsibility of providing numerous company-issued laptops and mobile devices, which not every individual may not fully be aware of the cybersecurity practices for safe utilization. The rapid shifts in recent years and many changes to the operating environment have increased the complexity of the responsibilities that the IT departments must assume to meet the increasing demands of cybersecurity; which are not helped by the fact that the personnel operate from remote locations and their exposure is greater.

Meeting the Challenges

In efforts to meet the current challenges of supporting remote access and connections, businesses have been integrating technologies that help in this aspect such as platforms for web conferencing, virtual private networks, and intranet portals that enable the personnel to operate behind a firewall that secures their sensitive data and information. Business organizations have long been practicing the option of working from remote locations which implies that they already possessed these types of solutions, but with the drastic change coming from the pandemic, numerous organizations had to swiftly adapt to the new operating environment.

Additionally, since the beginning of the pandemic, health and safety concerns have been emphasized by every company. Wellness resources and touchless technologies have been integrated by many businesses in their facilities. Although these integrated features are a positive step for promoting health and safety measures, they pose a significant cybersecurity challenge for organizations. Considering the current dynamics, businesses will have to go through their imminent return. The adoption of the latest health and wellness technologies is a vital factor for organizations returning to the workplace, due to its importance organizations must take charge of their IT security and appropriately integrate it with the business environment.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the demand for technologies such as air purification systems, crowd detection sensors, and temperature screening devices. Organizations have been tasked with the complex responsibility of ensuring adequate health and safety measures that enable the organization and its employees to operate in a safe environment. With these developments that affect the working environment, IT departments must increase their staff and competencies so that they will be able to properly respond to the rising security implications.

The Emphasis on Cybersecurity Skills Training

Business leaders in the modern environment must be aware that with the increased technological utilization, the personnel will be looking for additional guidance and support. Managers have the massive responsibility of creating a safe operating space in the digital environment through increasing awareness about cyber hygiene as an effective preventive measure. Cyber hygiene is an important factor for ensuring the safety of digital operations. The basic principles of cyber hygiene are:

  • Utilizing tools that satisfy the hygiene requirements.
  • Correctly performing the hygiene tasks.
  • Appropriately establish a routine.

The purpose of cyber hygiene is to train the personnel of the organization to develop a proactive approach to cybersecurity, in an effort to reduce the ever-present cybersecurity risks and threats. Although informing the personnel about the safe practices of cybersecurity and cyber hygiene is of crucial importance, it isn’t enough to ensure cybersecurity. Organizations need to increase accountability in regards to their actions which can be done through the development of cybersecurity strategies and policies that regulate utilization and access for the personnel. These developed strategies and policies can include guidelines for creating safe passwords, identifying scams, and providing a general outline of how the personnel should access the internet in their working environment.

The development of a cybersecurity strategy requires a proactive approach that is continuously developed as the business moves forward. Business organizations must ensure that they prevent their personnel from being the weak link in the system, and a vulnerable prey for cybercriminals. It is recommended that organizations develop an internal cybersecurity culture that focuses on safe practices for protecting the organization’s digital assets and avoiding the chance for personnel to fall victim. Through engraving a cybersecurity culture, the personnel will enhance their capabilities of recognizing and identifying a threat and will be able to undertake the necessary measures of staying safe and avoiding becoming a victim. Emphasizing security for the employees will increase their awareness and will make sure that they possess sufficient knowledge about the collective utilization of organizational networks and systems.

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“As a student, I am preparing for the industry that I’d like to work for. I really do not know where to start. What areas should I focus on? etc. The course gave me an overview of the knowledge that I need to solidify when it comes to the field. I am grateful once again, and I hope this would help me find the right connections and lead me to a cybersecurity job in the future. Kudos to you guys! ”

Kolapo Agunbiade
Computer Engineering StudentComputer Engineering Student,