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Cyber Risk Rising During COVID-19

by John Stebbins on Jun 30, 2020 10:30:02 AM

Amid all of the obvious concerns businesses are facing during COVID-19, a more subtle threat is lurking: cyber risk.

Companies have stepped up to protect their operations in the pandemic. But one of the most difficult challenges has been IT security. Remote workforces, the rise of videoconferencing and collaboration platforms, and growing use of other digital tools are straining controls.

Here are some of the biggest cyber risks organizations face.

Bypassing Controls

With so many employees working from home, unsecured data transmissions are increasing. That’s especially true when staff bypass VPN or other controls to get their work done. Learn about security protocols for your telecommuting policies.

Open Opportunities

Criminals are exploiting vulnerabilities that can increase your cyber risk. For example, weak digital infrastructures and cloud-based connectivity make businesses easy targets.


Since the start of the pandemic, phishing campaigns have spiked. These malware-laced tactics take a variety of forms. Often, emails appear to come from trusted organizations like WHO or are fake Zoom or Skype notifications – links employees may unknowingly click on. Cybercriminals have even targeted employees’ work accounts, with emails allegedly coming from inside the company.

Exploiting Weak Websites

With rising demand for information during COVID-19, many websites have been created to keep the public in the know. But attackers are taking advantage of sites with weak controls by spreading malware in downloadable documents.

Whether they’re performing their routine tasks or researching COVID-19-related information for their role, employees are vulnerable to attack in all of these situations. But there are steps you can take to protect your company’s sensitive data and lower your cyber risk.

  • Make sure VPNs are secure and actively managed
  • Implement multifactor authentication
  • Ensure proper firewalls and anti-malware/anti-virus software is installed
  • Remind employees about protocols and procedures such as browsing practices and creating strong passwords
  • Have a reporting and response system for threats
  • Continue to monitor to catch incidents early
  • Regularly back up data

For more about helping your employees understand how to reduce cyber risk for your organization, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 401-332.9325.


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