Remote work in the age of COVID-19

I’m writing this from home in the midst of a multi-week shelter-in-place order that’s impacting all of us here in California. I have to say, the entire ordeal has been an interesting lesson in some basic aspects of human nature.

On the bright side, displays of courage and selflessness are on full display. The medical community, our first responders, and our elected officials are staying on the line to help us all. Even our young people – who are missing graduations, sports events, and performances – are making sacrifices (at least in my area) even though they’re not high-risk. I’m proud and grateful for all of them.

Rise in cybercrime due to COVID-19

But graft, sadly, never sleeps. AT&T published findings indicating nearly half a million COVID-related threats were reported from January through March. (HT to @jolsik for passing that link on). Fraudsters leverage fear and there’s plenty to go around right now. With so many of us working from home the bad guys have a target-rich environment.

Given what I’m hearing about business changes and investment in the face of a pandemic, I can say with confidence the threat surface will only grow. Let me explain.

  • Bain & Company recommends the expanded use of digital tools to help manage initiatives and governance. This report implies even more critical business functions will move online.
  • Zoom video conference sessions jumped an astonishing 20X in the last two months. That growth had a downside as recent security issues with the platform came to light (more on that in a later blog).
  • My own discussions with local semiconductor execs indicates a major boom as people upgrade equipment and connectivity.

Think about it: we are more capable of being productive from remote locations now than at any other time in history. Many businesses are enduring wrenching change – but many more are working hard to take full advantage of the online tools we have. And that means more data in more places with more risk.

So what’s a data security professional to do?

For starters, it’s important to think first about what it means to have a significant proportion of your employees working online. Your users create unstructured data – contracts, source code, financial documents – and now that data is more exposed and more online than ever before. Which expands your threat surface in a dimension that’s notoriously difficult to protect.

To help out, Concentric is announcing a new initiative to help reduce threats related to online unstructured data. We’re offering free coverage of up to 100GB of data for the balance of the year. Our Semantic Intelligence© solution uses deep learning to find business-critical documents and assess risk. And it works autonomously so you can secure your data while keeping your eye on your budget.

Interested? We’d love to give you a demo. Or check out our solutions for data access governance and data discovery and exposure monitoring. Questions? Let us know! [email protected]

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