REMOTE WORK AND CYBER INTRUSION: PART ONE

Cyberspace is vulnerable. Technology invasion is a new normal in this digital world. A simple cyber attack can shatter your dream and can make many lives vulnerable. In 2017 Wannacry and Notepetya ransomware attacks plundered nearly 15-20 billion$. The digital intruders in cyberspace have various motives. It may be for data theft, sabotage, demanding ransom, or even competitive advantage. Few hackers take the role of Joker in Dark Knight movie to intrude in your set up and enjoy watching stranger's downfall.

Following statistics shows the grim reality of cyberattacks in 2019.

  • 62% of businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2018. (Cybint Solutions)
  • 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. (Accenture)
  • Only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected, on average. (Varonis)
THE MATRIX OF SECURITY ISSUES IN REMOTE WORK

Remote work culture is a game changer for small and medium firms. No benefits are costless, firms incurring losses with security issues.

Apart from collateral damage, security issues can make everyone's life miserable. Nearly forty-three percent of breaches involved small businesses, thus making them close without achieving their vision and the average cost of each stolen record is around 150$.

The following are the few bottlenecks that are giving advantage for cyber intrusion.

Gladiators With No Shield

Most of the Employers follow BYOD( Bring Your Own Devices) policy to rationalize cost or to save investments. In remote work, allowing personal machines of employees makes the transfer of data between secure networks to open networks. VPN connections are secure, accessing data by using Common Wifi may make our data prey to hackers.

In a recent study of CIOs and senior IT leaders, 81% admitted to seeing security issues related to the Wi-Fi network their employees used. Only 46% of these enterprises were confident that remote workers use a VPN during the workday, and 94% of CIOs surveyed think that bringing your own device (BYOD) policies lead to more threats to mobile security.

Remote Workers Without VPN connections are like Gladiators without Shield, fall is inevitable.

The Momento Moments

In the memento movie, the lead character suffers from short term memory loss.

He tries to recall his memories by using various incidents and photos. This makes him prey for opportunists in the movie. Likewise, In remote work, accidental data loss is inevitable if any malignant file downloaded

The situation becomes more critical when the employee uses a common machine for both work and personal purposes. In general, Small businesses ignore data recovery setup. As per ComLink

  • 70% of businesspeople have experienced / will experience data loss due to viruses, disk or system failure, or some other disaster.
  • 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster and 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately

If our recovery options are not good, we face the same situation as our hero in MEMENTO.

Don't stay at Dunkirk

During World war two British soldiers stranded at Dunkirk town for help. They were attacked by all means and from all directions. New-age technology brought value to data. This data may include the company's software, product-related data, sensitive information regarding transactions, and any intellectual information. These are assets and generally stored in the cloud. Storing data in clouds without Using solutions such as geofencing or predictive asset monitoring is like keeping your data at Dunkirk.

McAfee's report divulges that the data stored in a cloud, SaaS collaboration, and PaaS/IaaS platforms are prone to configuration mistakes that can expose data to cyber crooks. The conclusion was made after analyzing billions of events in various cloud deployments.

The Inception of Rules.

The enforcement of GDPR ( General Data Protection Rules ) in the European Union made small and medium business (SMB) re-architect their data collection policies. The ambiguity in rules, the big footprint of GDPR, and its penalties delaying SMB'S to delay their compliance.

As Per Computerweekly in 2018, 47% of UK IT directors would “definitely” be willing to pay a ransom fee to hackers to avoid reporting a data breach and risking a fine under new EU data protection laws, a study has revealed. This kind of attitude became an advantage to many hackers for a ransom.

Hackers always try to find SMB's that are non-compliance to laws. This hack makes their work easy.

All Employees are not Forrest Gumps

Tom Hanks's character in Forrest Gump movie is a symbol of quick learning. Employers assume anyone can be suitable for remote work. In general, This is a myth because remote work requires proper training. Assuming your employee as a Forrest Gump replicates short-sightedness of management.

Without proper training for remote work, Employees may mix up personal work with office work. A single malignant file in his downloads is enough to intrude into your files.

Ignorance of remote employees towards Cybersecurity challenges will make your company's data more vulnerable to hackers. Few of SMB's won't show much interest in improving management skills for remote work.

CyberAttacks are inevitable If we ignore the above mistakes.

THE END OF PART ONE ( Part Two Includes Solutions)

“Security is neither a management skill nor a policy. It is a Culture”.

In remote work, communication is the key to exploring the potentiality of the candidate. Proper communication can create a virtual office and it makes your employee alert all the time and decreases lethargy in an employee. Following are the major tools used by many firms

Microsoft Teams

Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that provides global, remote, and dispersed teams with the ability to work together and share information via a common space. You can utilize cool features like document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, and more. Microsoft Teams is also fully integrated with many other Office 365 services, such as Skype, SharePoint, Exchange, and Yammer. Pricing starts at $12.50 per month, per user.

Discord

The free platform, which blends the approachable chat UI founds in apps like slack with video and voice chat. It‘s also the only chat in this list that offers push-to-talk features and the Instant Invite link that lets you share a chat server with anyone. The app has a downloadable PC program you can run on your computer which is the handy, lightweight version best for running in the background.

Zoom

The most popular video and audio conferencing tool with simple UI. It’s very easy to use and we can share the screen in the background to make to know anything instantly. We can accommodate at least 100 for 30 to 40 minutes in a conference with free of cost. It is good to conduct any webinars or value addition programs to employees. Prices may vary depending on the basic personal meetings to $19.99/month/host.

Remo Conference

Remo is a visual top-down view, 2-D map comprised of interactive “rooms.” The app uses video, audio and chat to allow people within the space to interact naturally in real-time, from anywhere in the world. Each room within the Remo space can be customized to the needs of the user. The employees really will get office feel if properly we can use this app. The standard plan starts at $50/month for up to 25 attendees.

Wisp Remote Collaboration

If you don’t have any constant access to news updates, company policies, a complete list of co-workers, no need to worry. Its help you to collaborate with remote employees in a more engaged and effective way.

You can share company news, create polls, communicate company policy, share files up to 200 MB in all formats. Prices may vary depending on the strength of the company. For small companies with less than 49 employees, it starts at $49/month only.

There are many tools like skype, Go to Meeting, slack, Ryver, Hangout chats which are similar to the above tools.

Project Management tools

Inertia in project management is like a wound which my fester further and deviates us from project management. Proper management skills can bring accountability from the employee side and responsibility from project manager side. Following is the brief list of tools that are available in the market to manage our projects or employees.

Trello

It is a simple project management tool which can give a glimpse of any task in small boxes. It contains a board and card system where the board is used to define multiple tasks and the card is used for stand-alone tasks. It contains a colouring system which can be used to symbolise the project pace. Up to 10 projects are free in Trello and it has minimal chargers if we want to more projects. Deleting the obsolete projects would help to use this tool for long.

Monday.com

It provides a flexible portfolio and project management software capabilities. Sharable boards in this tool make easy for everyone to know the project status. Internal and external connectivity makes easy for the clients to get a project status and portable nature of desktop to mobile without losing portability is an added advantage. Invite key stakeholders to your work board and choose from over 50 column types to identify priorities, deadlines, costs and more.

Pricing varies for different plans like Basic Plan: $25/month for 5 users, Standard Plan: $39/month for 5 users, Pro Plan: $59/month for 5 users and Enterprise Plan: $188/month for 5 users.

Basecamp

Basecamp is ideal to use when we want to divide the project. The divided project will be given proper attributes and pinned with a person allocated. We can integrate it with third-party tools to as per our customization. It’s pop up notifications are unique which alerts us as per the time. Mangers can raise automated questions and employees can have a separate view of their stuff. Its hill charts are so worthful which makes us quantify the project progress. It’s available for fixed and flat pricing of $99/month

Zoho Projects

Gantt charts are used in this tool so that critical projects can be easily assessed within minutes and it shows coloured deviations if the task is not accomplished. Its drag and drop interface makes routine tasks simple and it automates those tasks. Record every minute of your hard work, either manually or with timers, and our built-in integration with Zoho Invoice will automatically generate invoices from your timesheets. We can integrate le this tool with third-party tools. It’s paid plans start at $25/month to $100/month for enterprises.

There are various tools which track our project management like Jibble, Toggl, Teamwork, Time conductor and Hubstaff.

Documentation tools

Making communication meaningful can minimise communication. Documentation tools help us and make employees more accountable. The tools which we use must be simple and lightweight so that it stops unnecessary complications.

Following is the list of tools for documentation.

G Suite (Google docs, sheets, slides)

Mostly widely used documentation tool. It can be appreciated for its simple build and good interface. Documents can be shared with access or without access so it helps to avoid misuse of valuable content. It compromises many google products and email id can be customized with your company name. Its interactive whiteboard is a unique feature.

G Suite offers three main plans: Basic, which costs $6/user/month and comes with 30GB of Google Drive storage; Business, which costs $12/user/month and provides unlimited storage and extra security and admin controls; and Enterprise, with unlimited storage and advanced controls, which costs $25/user/month

Dropbox

It contains team folders and makes us easy to share and edit. Dropbox paper, smart sync, Remote wipe and live support are its unique features. Admin dashboard helps in team monitoring and audit sharing activity. Like all other tools, it allows third party integration. A Dropbox Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space. Dropbox Pro used to cost $9.99 per month for 100GB, $19.99 per month for 200GB and $49.99 per month for 500GB.

Airtable

Airtable gives you the freedom to arrange your work just the way you like. It features a centralized database to help teams work together coherently and becomes 10 times more efficient. You can instantly make changes synced across everyone’s devices in real-time.

Airtable can store information in a spreadsheet so it is easy for you to add whatever contents to its field, just to work in an organized manner from any corner.

When it comes to pricing details, you cannot create date ranges in a calendar view, nor can you plot multiple date fields on a calendar view on a free plan. The Airtable Plus plan costs $12/user/month on the monthly billing plan.

Apart from the knowledge of tools, the most important thing is which tool suits you. The above survey is just to give you knowledge on various tools. You need to have clear cut knowledge on your work culture and project capacity so that you can use the most suitable tool for you.