“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” Warren Buffett’s warning to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 2008 of the imminent woes facing financial institutions could be just as well applied to the tremendous impact COVID-19 has had on today’s businesses.
Long before the coronavirus, digitisation had prompted several trends related to technology, innovation and mobility. However, the global economic disruption of 2020 has accelerated these trends at a rate few could have imagined, with increases in remote working, hybrid work environments and cloud adoption, to name a few. Unfortunately, most businesses were unprepared for a sudden shift in the way we work and have been left badly exposed to an unprecedented wave of cyber security threats.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen our dependence on digital tools and solutions increase dramatically. Companies have been forced to adjust, adapt, experience and overcome unforeseen obstacles to maintain their operations, all against the backdrop of an historic economic crisis.
To make matters worse, the World Economic Forum’s COVID-19 Risks Outlook identifies cyber attacks and data fraud as the largest technological risks arising from the effects of COVID-19.
As many companies manage their transition to hybrid workforces, including both remote and on-site workers, they risk leaving themselves exposed to severe security threats if they don’t take proactive steps to reduce their risk.
These risks include the following:
With employees working from anywhere, the number of potential points open to a cyber attack has grown exponentially. Company data is now being accessed via networks over which organisations have little control.
Teams still need to print, scan and share documents with one another on a daily basis, regardless of their location. Without a secure document management system, organisations are putting their data at risk. While cloud environments continue to be a popular and effective solution for hybrid workforces, business leaders must ensure a migration to a secure cloud software so that all employees can work together efficiently and safely.
Remote working is here to stay. Many employees expect to continue working from home in some capacity in the future and businesses are adapting to enable this. But whether it’s a shared apartment or a shared office, greater mobility also increases the risk of third-parties gaining access to confidential documents and information.
Employees access information, and print and share documents using many different devices and manufacturers. Maintaining control is increasingly difficult where such brand and device inconsistency exists, yet it’s critical to reducing cyber risks associated with a growing number of devices in the workforce. Businesses that opt for a standardised fleet of printers and multifunction devices (MFDs) across their company will achieve greater control over the security of their data and documents.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many IT managers and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) assumed that the systems they had in place to protect their networks would extend to other peripheral devices, according to IDC’s 2019-20 Vendor Assessment report. However, this wasn’t the case, with the IDC warning that security around network perimeters was “crumbling” and “every device connected to the network is now an endpoint security risk, printers and MFPs included”1.
Businesses that don’t heed this warning will be left highly exposed to cyber attacks. Companies must shift away from sole dependency on IT departments for managing cybersecurity and towards the development of core security competencies across their entire business. This entails the creation of a robust security framework underpinned by a proactive approach to minimising risks, rather than reactive, such as in the case of adaptive security architecture.
The future and cyber resilience
Data breaches are always bad news for businesses, and print and document infrastructure breaches are no different to any other security lapse, resulting in downtime costs, fines associated with corporate governance and regulatory compliance, as well as reputational damage.
It’s fair to say that the way we work and do business has changed permanently. Companies must become more mobile and adaptable without compromising security.
According to David Ferbrache, Global Head of Cyber Futures at KPMG, the pandemic has outlined the need for greater cooperation and collaboration to combat “ruthless entrepreneurial cyber criminals who exploit the situation for gain”.
Security in the post-COVID digital age requires a united effort. Workers must be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to work more flexibly and efficiently, without putting business data at risk. This is the only way to build a culture of cyber resilience.
To learn more about specialised cybersecurity solutions for the current threat environment, as well as industry-leading security tips, download our guide, Kyocera: Major Player in the Modern Age of Document Security.
1 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Security Solutions and Services Hardcopy 2019–2020 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US44811119, Dec 2019