Many people and companies have transformed the way they work.
By Bianca Dafel, security lead at Dell Technologies South Africa
To stay productive, they must work remotely with different devices ranging from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets. All these devices access different cloud services to share information, which increases risks and can compromise information security.
As a result of this workforce transformation, organisations need to find new ways to ensure the security of endpoint devices and the data they contain; help their employees understand the obstacles and risks they face; and find solutions that adapt to their needs.
Data that is generally affected by ransomware attacks is that which holds sensitive employee, customer, patient or financial information. This means that one of the company’s most valuable assets is vulnerable to an attack.
The threat of ransomware is real: according to Accenture, ransomware attacks rose by 22% in South Africa during Q1 of 2019, around 577 attack per hour.
One of the main reasons why ransomware attacks are considered successful is because of the high number of employees who have data stored on their endpoint devices; as well as the lack of training for employees on cybersecurity issues.
Local companies are absolutely on the hitlists of criminals. The same Accenture report reveals that, outside of Russia, South African Android devices are the most targeted by banking malware.
A Mimecast survey that includes South Africa found that 60% of companies surveyed experienced an attack that spread from an infected employee device, and 58% saw increases in phishing attacks, which specifically target end-users.
What can companies and employees do to protect themselves?
* Train employees on security topics: It is important that all employees understand why data safety is critical at all levels, and how they play a vital role in keeping data safe in and out of the company. Training must consider common and unexpected scenarios in which data can be compromised, and how to show better practices in safety.
* Find solutions that provide high levels of endpoint security, while allowing end users to work freely: In order to be productive, organisations need to protect endpoints and the data they contain in a simple way that allows employees to do their jobs without complications that could be a barrier.
* Keep the security solutions that are available up to date and execute all patches on time: While many organisations do not have security specialists on staff or have limited budgets, every organisation needs to prioritize the maintenance of its software, as well as patch execution to reduce areas of vulnerability.
* Create a backup plan: Organisations need a plan to cope with data recovery. Nowadays information is the most valuable asset in a company. Looking after this information can be the difference between companies that recover quickly from a disaster and those that do not.
* Integrate robust security solutions to protect important data and prevent threats: Advanced prevention to help stop threats; encrypted data so that even when someone accesses the data, it cannot be used; and backup and recovery solutions to move forward if a data leak occurs.