Dispelling the Major Fallacy Surrounding WFH Security During This COVID-19 Pandemic

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WFH has now become the new norm across the globe as nations shut down borders, governments impose travel bans and group gathering restrictions, and organizations ask their employees to stay at home.  As we’ve written in earlier blogs, the impact that this has had, especially on organizations who had not incorporated capabilities into their networks to allow their workers to access their servers from home, has been devastating in some instances.  We’ve read that in some cases, workers are basically on paid vacations due to the fact that they are unable to access the work files they need while they are quarantined at home.  Productivity has taken a massive hit and this does not bode well for the global economy as we all try to weather this global storm.

Because of this new reality, we are seeing a proliferation of tech articles providing advice and hints to organizations who now find the majority of their workforce working remotely.  In a recent  HelpNetSecurity article, several other cybersecurity implications are outlined that result from the shift from people working at the office to working from home.  The biggest point brought up is that the shift to WFH greatly widens an organizations’ attack surface. Because many employees may use their own devices for work, it introduces new platforms and operating systems into the mix that require their own dedicated support and security; often which their companies are unable to adequately provide.  As such, according to the article, “With so many devices being used, it’s likely that at least some will fall through the security cracks.”  They, like other articles, also continue to bring up the thought that while workers are physically outside the walled fortress of their corporate networks while they work from home, they can no longer be protected.

To add to that, hackers and bad actors are relentless, utilizing the COVID-19 pandemic to step up their efforts to infect networks, sow chaos and line their pockets; stepping up attacks and hitting organizations when they’re down and unable to protect their workers in the growing WFH norm.  Showing that they really have no sense of morality, hackers have stepped up their attacks on organizations that are being hardest hit right now during this crisis and that are the most in need by the public.
As highlighted by a recent Wired article, hackers continue to wreak havoc.  For example, in the Czech Republic, Brno University Hospital was hit by ransomware and they have still not fully restored digital services.  Unfortunately, ransomware on hospitals is the norm, as hackers bank on the urgent need for these organizations to function, especially in crisis situations such as now, that will push administrators to simply pay the ransom.  These attacks can cause life and death situations in normal situations so in pandemic and crisis situations, it becomes orders in magnitude worse.
On top of that, the article goes on to say that it is not just monetary gain that hackers are looking for during this time.  Some of the attacks are being carried out by nefarious nation-states looking to implant spyware in order to carry out surveillance operations and are taking the COVID-19 opportunity to carry out these plans.  With the overall daily internet usage greatly increasing during this pandemic, more people are online and are thus seemingly at more risk.

So, what is the thought that both of the above articles seem to be getting at?  They, and other articles that we’ve seen as of late, tend to lean on the idea that it is “impossible to completely secure employees working from home”.  This is an unfortunately widespread fallacy that we would like to dispel.  Although we understand that many organizations are having a tough enough time just trying to put in place infrastructure that will allow their employees to work from home, they don’t have to let cybersecurity fall by the wayside.  With Wedge’s PlanV – Secure Remote Office Solution, organizations can be assured that their workers can actually be completely secured, even while working from home.  Based on the Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) platform, real-time detection and blocking of all malware can still be provided to those not protected by the fortified corporate castle within the organization’s physical office.

PlanV offers some key benefits to organizations, including:
1. Allowing workers to access their workplace systems to achieve the same productivity while working from home.
2. Providing real-time threat protection for both the home office and corporate infrastructure.
3. Improving the economics of the WFH environment, lowering worker commute times, reducing bandwidth and office space costs and allowing for centrally managed security – blocking malware before it can even enter your network.

PlanV is both platform and OS agnostic so can provide protection to any and all connected devices; preventing any from falling through the security cracks.  For those organizations who already have a VPN infrastructure, WedgeARP can be easily deployed into their VPN Cloud to protect all connected systems.  For those organizations who have not yet implemented a VPN infrastructure, Wedge provides professional services to help quickly set up remote offices with Microsoft Azure vWAN, secured by WedgeARP.  Contact us at: info@wedgenetworks.com to learn more.  We’re here to help all those organizations facing difficulties as they move forward in this exploding WFH paradigm.

About Wedge Chief Scientist

Husam Kinawi, Chief Scientist Dr. Kinawi has a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the Universities of Calgary, Canada and London, UK. In 1997, he co-founded Mpower Technologies Inc., a wireless telecommunications software company. In 1999, Dr. Kinawi co-founded ActiveIq.com (NASDAQ: AIQT), a Boston-based e-Business applications firm. Dr. Kinawi has over seventeen years of research and development experience working with industry leaders such as Newbridge (Alcatel), Siemens, United Technologies, and Apple in the areas of distributed information systems, embedded applications and wireless Internet solutions. Dr. Kinawi has also spoken at several major conferences, published several research papers, and is the holder of several patents in the area of mobile and wireless devices.
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