An unexpected upside to the events of 2020 has been our newfound capability for deploying a remote workforce. While this shift towards a remote and flexible workforce had been happening gradually, many companies have had to embrace these arrangements full-time this year. 

We’ve learned that cloud offers great potential for connecting our workforce across a range of locations. Organisations can now deploy simple and effective tools for sharing information and collaborating on projects in real-time. 

The downside is that this distributed workforce is potentially exposing sensitive and critical data to a host of new risks. To understand how these risks can be mitigated, we first need to explore the very real threats that every organisation faces. 

Gone phishing 

Phishing emails can seem so obvious when we see them that it can often lead us to wonder why anyone still bothers sending these attempts any more. That’s because they only need to work once to be effective.  

Unsurprisingly, 44 per cent of Australian chief security officers (CSOs) surveyed in 2019 said they believe phishing attacks were still the biggest security threat they faced. Because phishing attempts prey on human errors in judgement, your organisation’s ability to protect against these attacks is only as robust as your cybersecurity awareness training. 

Give me back my data 

In 2020, a number of Australian CSOs would have felt just as desperate as Mel Gibson’s character in the film Ransom.  With several high-profile attacks already this year, we know that ransomware in Australia nearly tripled in the first six months of 2020. 

Toll Group was taken offline after hackers successfully locked down its systems twice with ransomware, causing disruption throughout the supply chains of Australia. Lion (beverages) also suffered a ransomware attack in which criminals threatened to auction confidential information unless Lion paid a ransom of more than a million dollars. These two attacks alone illustrate how devastating a single ransomware attack can be. 

State-based 'hacktors' 

Cybercrime is unfortunately no longer just the domain of unscrupulous criminals. Foreign governments around the world have realised they have the ability to wreak unprecedented damage through relatively affordable means, for example, through government-sponsored cyberattacks. 

As a result, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the extraordinary announcement this year that Australian organisations are increasingly being targeted by sophisticated state-based cyber actors (hacktors) according to advice from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). As part of this announcement, he made the recommendation that all Australian organisations adopt the 'Essential Eight' cybersecurity best practices. 

Your organisation’s ability to control and secure your device fleet will be the most important strategy you can put into place for protecting your distributed workforce. This means having secure devices that can be easily patched and updated remotely. By having a streamlined system for updating operating systems and browsers across all your devices, you can create the visibility and peace of mind you need in 2020. 

Datacom is proud to be partnering with Google to bring their Chrome Enterprise suite of Chrome OS, Chrome browser, and Chrome devices to Australian organisations who are serious about keeping their distributed workforce secure.  

Through the connected capabilities within this suite, and Datacom’s integration and security expertise, we can help you secure your new distributed workforce wherever they are. Contact us today to learn how you can protect against the next generation of security threats. 

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