Cloud Computing for Nonprofits, Creative Agencies and Tech Startups: How to protect your workers in the cloud: cybersecurity’s new normal
We’re all living in a new normal, e.g., the way we live, and work has been permanently altered.
Some statistics to think about (we’re huge fans of data):
- According to a 2020 poll, around 17% of workers worked remotely prior to the pandemic.
- By April of 2020, the percentage of those working remotely hit 51%.
That makes sense, since companies where employees could work remotely catapulted headfirst into doing business online. Chaos ensued. We prevailed and are still prevailing…
By September of 2020, as reported by Gallup News, the percentage of workers operating remotely hit these numbers:
- 33% were “always” working remotely
- 25% were “sometimes working” remotely
That‘s approximately 58% of people still working remotely in some capacity, be it part or full time. This trend will more than likely continue.
Now, working remotely means that companies and organizations must migrate from working off of local servers to cloud computing. With this migration comes increased cybersecurity risks. Not only are there more risks, but they’re also different.
Unfortunately, working in the cloud can be analogous to walking in tick infested forests.
When you go in the woods (the internet), you put on bug repellent (security protections) to prevent tick bites (getting hacked) and from winding up in the hospital with Lyme disease (breached, sued for millions and bankrupted, or worse).
According to the Cyber Observer, a security solutions company, here are the top 5 take-away statistics for 2020:
- Worldwide spending on cybersecurity is going to reach $133.7 billion in 2022. (Gartner)
- 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing.
- Data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019. (RiskBased)
- 71% of breaches were financially motivated and 25% were motivated by espionage. (Verizon)
- 52% of breaches featured hacking, 28% involved malware and 32–33% included phishing or social engineering, respectively. (Verizon)
Now, if that doesn’t feel like a punch in the gut…
The truth is that cybersecurity risks in the cloud are here to stay and they’ll continue to develop, change and evolve. Companies must address their online vulnerabilities if they want to keep on doing their positive work in the world.
The most common cybersecurity risks include data loss, data privacy, mishandled and or stolen credentials, and security compliance issues. Though some of the cloud computing technologies such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), have security controls in place, they can’t and don’t cover all the bases. That means the ultimate responsibility for protecting people, data and devices falls squarely on the shoulders of companies like yours.
So, how can a company mitigate their cybersecurity risks in the cloud?
- Educate your team on your cybersecurity policy. (Here’s a guide on what to include in a basic policy in case you don’t have one.)
- Set up a virtual private network (VPN) so employees can use a secure internet network that encrypts their internet traffic.
- Encourage staff to use a password manager to consistently create strong passwords for all their business (and personal) logins (devices, apps and software). Gone is the era of using the same password for all the same sites and devices.
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). These use a variety of authentication methods (one-time passwords, biometrics, security questions, etc.) to protect user accounts and company data.
These suggestions are just the tip of the cybersecurity iceberg…
We know that trying to address your cybersecurity needs and reduce your risks in the cloud can be not only challenging but overwhelming and time consuming. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive cybersecurity solution, it’ll definitely pay off partnering with an IT services partner. Afterall, there’s only so much time in a day and you have a job to do: to change the world for the better.
Lastly, if you’re looking for more support in keeping your cloud secure, we invite you to sign up for our free Protect Your People, Data and Devices: Cybersecurity Roadmap for 2021 webinar or reach out to schedule a free consult with Gerson here.