When the province of Ontario announced that businesses were now allowed to reopen for curbside delivery and pickup, it was not a surprise to many stakeholders. Why? Because most of them countrywide were already offering the service long before the announcement.
Even before COVID-19, many traders were already expanding their networks to offer e-commerce sales. The universal epidemic has, however, reinforced the necessity of these efforts. With shops closed and consumers chained to their homes, online sales abruptly come to be the only alternative. Even for businesses that managed to stay open, curbside delivery fitted most consumers’ preferences.
Online sales have been a blessing for most organizations, especially during this Coronavirus pandemic. For some, it has been the savior in this business-ending predicament. But for virtually all firms, it has come with a slew of new challenges.
Adopting models like curbside delivery only means that you have to make adjustments to your networks. We have received several network expansion requests, with a majority of the clients worried about the accompanying security threats. And reasonably so — cyber attackers have moved in so quickly and weaponized this crisis.
How Serious Is The Security Threat?
It’s public knowledge that online attacks have been on the rise. If you are going to expand your network, the threat is even drearier.
Here are some of the major risks that we have noted:
Email Phishing: As you plot to capitalize on email notifications to keep your customers abreast, the bad guys see an opportunity equally. There has been a significant proliferation in fake malware-infested emails. It’s not only your end-users who are at risk. In fact, a more significant chunk of such attacks targets employees and businesses directly. Whenever the target clicks embedded links or images, the phisher gets unauthorized entry to their credentials. The next thing you will hear is your customers claiming to be receiving invoices for purchases they didn’t make.
Social Engineering: Sometime last year, KFC denied being duped by a student masquerading as an inspector and accessing free meals for a year. But, many of us were left wondering, “what if it was true.” It may not have been true for KFC, but not once or twice have firms been duped by false actors. A widespread trick is customers on the curbside providing fake receipts, yet they have not paid.
Attacks Over Public Wifi: You are probably considering extending Wifi coverage to your parking lot, to enable customers to make online orders. The attackers will position themselves between your network and the users’ gadgets. This allows them to harvest data illegally, and even divert already paid for orders.
These are just a few in a myriad of threats you are likely to encounter. Expanding your networks means an enlarged playground for cybercrime.
The truth of the matter is that nobody is safe, every business, regardless of the scope or industry, is a potential target. So, how do you ensure your business is protected?
How Do You Stay Safe While Expanding Your Network?
Reinforce Your Network Defenses: As you expand your network, there will be an increase in the devices used by the organization — from tablets and smartphones to laptops and PCs. With an expanded user-base accessing your network with both personal and professional gadgets, the risk heightens. While your users may be harmless, they may inadvertently expose your systems to vulnerability. Your first line of defense is having robust strategic systems’ protection protocols. Consider deploying the following measures:
Assess your network architecture and then design and implement suitable firewalls.
Regularly conduct penetration tests. This will help you identify the best intrusion detection systems for averting attacks before they become critical.
Implement password expiration and complexity protocols for your Wifi. If necessary, any public Wifi should be encrypted.
Routinely backup your data, at least twice a day, in readiness for any eventualities.
Have control of those who access and share critical information by regularly managing privileges. Essential functions such as those dealing with accounts and receipting should have a single command center.
Assess your networks and correct any weak-points before beginning the expansion.
Invest In Hightech Antivirus And Anti-malware Solutions. For the best protection from risks, you need to adopt a multi-layered and multi-faceted approach. Note that the installation of antivirus and anti-malware tools is as essential as regularly updating them. Quite often, the new patches come with additional security features.
Train Staff Across The Organization On Security Awareness. The new platforms that come with an expanded network require extra expertise. It is your responsibility to ensure that your employees have these skill sets. Train them particularly on the additional security threats, how to identify and avert them.
If necessary, do not hesitate to replicate similar security awareness campaigns to your end-users.
Get Expert Help Protecting Your Networks During the Adjustment
Save yourself and your personnel the worry of additional cybersecurity risks. Leverage Fuelled Networks’ over two decades of experience and a deep bench of technicians for a seamless network expansion process.
We do not just bring expertise and experience on board; we have a rich history of customer-oriented hyper-professional IT solutions.
I have a strong passion for helping Ottawa Businesses, Entrepreneurs and professionals to become more productive and successful while allowing them to feel at ease and secure when it comes to their Information Technology needs. As the President of Fuelled Networks since 1998, I specialize in providing no-nonsense flawless and prompt technical support to Ottawa businesses, with in-depth consulting on Fortinet, Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud Stack and security. I strive to help businesses to succeed and take great pride in building long-lasting positive relationships and taking on a strong leadership role within the Ottawa community.