SonicWall guest blog - How to protect your business during a global health crisis

By Agasthiamani Sankaran - March 24, 2020

The current pandemic of COVID-19 is presenting businesses with new challenges around keeping employees safe and operations running, while governments and healthcare organisations work to contain and stop the spread of the virus.

When challenged by disaster or unforeseen circumstances, consider these best practices.

Expand your remote workforce, securely

Organisations, enterprises and businesses are protecting their workforce by allowing employees to work remotely. Increasingly, this is becoming compulsory, and remote working could be the future.

These precautions are causing unexpected increases in mobile and work from home employees. Many organisations are not prepared for the increase and don’t have enough virtual private network (VPN) licences to accommodate the rising numbers of users. This is a problem, as employees might not have access to the business resources they need, or could access them via non-secure connections, posing a security risk.

To mitigate this, security-conscious organisations should have a scalable, secure mobile or remote access solution in place, like VPN, which can accommodate and adapt to the influx of users, as well as their respective licence requirements.

Review your business continuity plan

Whether it’s to deal with malicious cyberattacks, inclement weather, power outages or a pandemic, organisations need to have built-in scenarios which ensure business continuity in amid uncertainty and challenging situations.

SMBs, enterprises and other organisations should review their business continuity plans on a yearly basis. This should cover everything, from communication channels to leadership, infrastructure, technology and more. SonicWall’s ‘5 Core Practices to Ensure Business Continuity’ is a helpful starting point.

Defend against fear-based cyberattacks

Cybercriminals know how to capitalise on trends, fears and human behaviour. The coronavirus outbreaks presents a prime opportunity for criminals to take advantage of a climate of fear and launch phishing campaigns, mobile malware, social-engineering attacks and more.

A range of phishing attacks have been launched to capitalise on fears around coronavirus, including phishing emails which seem to have been sent by the World Health Organisation – a trusted source of information at this time. Organisations should ensure they have robust email security measures in place to mitigate aggressive phishing attacks and ensure their name isn’t hijacked.

Where phishing links are clicked by employees, partners and contractors, solutions like Office 365 security, cloud application security and advanced endpoint protection solutions are needed to mitigate malware from stealing credentials or compromising entire networks.

Protect your many endpoints

The new normal has waves of employees working remotely and outside the safety of the network perimeter.

For some employees, this is a new working experience, and they may behave like they are still protected by network security controls.

Organisations should be prepared for an influx of attacks that impact endpoints. A single employee – either working remotely or bored from mandated quarantine – could click a phishing link that unlocks data via ransomware, steal credentials or gain access to the corporate network.

Proactive endpoint protection (or next-generation antivirus) that mitigates attacks before, during and after they execute is a sound security strategy for remote workforces. More advanced approaches include automated rollback to return infected Windows PCs to a previously clean state.

Work from home VPN solutions for remote workforces

To help organisations implement VPN technology for their rapidly growing work from home employees in a way that’s cost effective, SonicWall is making its remote access products and services available to both new and existing customers at highly discounted rates. We’re also building critical security solutions for new enterprise and SMB customers.

This special offer provides free Secure Mobile Access (SMA) virtual appliances sized for enterprises and SMBs and includes aggressive discounts on Cloud App Security and Capture Client endpoint protection when paired with SMA.

The packages have been bundled to include everything needed to effectively protect employees outside the network:

  • Free Secure Mobile Access (SMA) virtual appliance
  • Aggressive discounts on Capture Client endpoint protection
  • Aggressive discounts on Cloud App Security
  • Aggressive discounts on support contracts and Remote Implementation Services when you bundle a virtual appliance
  • New 3Howe 0 and 60-day VPN spike licences for existing SMA 100 and 1000 series customers
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