Is returning to the office healthy for your cybersecurity?

Slowly but surely the world is returning to normal. Well…a “new normal”. This new normal consists of a new fashion trend (I can only imagine that the face mask market is booming), limited physical contact, glass screens separating people, staggered work schedules and increased physical distance between staff within the office. Not surprisingly, organizations are focusing on the health-related changes that need to be made which, of course, is essential but should not be the sole focus of their new norm. Cybersecurity has also been seriously impacted by the virus.

COVID-19 caused almost the whole world to come to a standstill. For those of us that did still work, we spent our days working from home – be that actually at home, or in the coffee shops, libraries and other various locations that slowly began to open even when our offices remained shut. Working from home, besides the obvious benefits that it brings, has some major downfalls and I am not just talking about cabin fever. Cybersecurity is seriously forgone when employees work from home. This is often because the devices that are being used for work purposes are also being used for personal purposes.

Imagine using your personal laptop with the same security features as your computer at work. Depending on the organization, that might mean no Netflix – heaven forbid! – no charging your phone through your laptop, no online shopping, no instant messaging and the list goes on. So basically your laptop has no purpose other than for work and who wants that? Bad actors exploit the lack of security and COVID-19 has let them thrive. And, believe me, they are thriving. Since the beginning of the pandemic, instances of cybercrime have increased by 300% in the US alone, according to the FBI, since much of the country’s daily activities are now being conducted online.