Digitalization is a double-edged sword — here’s how to protect your business

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In the cybersecurity world, the last couple of years marked a major milestone for many businesses: digitalization, or digital transformation.

Digitalization refers to using or leveraging digital technologies to improve business processes and experiences. In other words, it means turning to technology to make life at work easier, more streamlined, and more productive.

The pandemic was the perfect storm for digital transformation. It sped up digitalization, which allowed companies around the world to shift to a remote model and employees to connect to their work systems wherever they were. But on the flip side, it increased the number of “endpoints” (or devices) used by a company, which gives hackers more opportunities to crack those systems. And many businesses moved to WFH with little to no warning or preparation, which left them playing catch up in terms of cybersecurity. 

We’ve laid out the risks that come with digitalization, and how we can mitigate them so we can make the most of technology and secure remote workforces.

The main digital transformation security challenges

Like any tech innovation, digitalization can be a risky business if you don’t take steps to tighten your security for remote employees. As a business, adopting new technologies without paying close attention to your cybersecurity can open you up to cyberattacks that can affect your company’s productivity, bottom line, or both. 

These are the main cyber threats we’re seeing with digitalization in general:

  • Phishing scams
  • Ransomware
  • Fileless malware attacks
  • Identity theft
  • Data loss
  • Cloud application breaches 

In many cases, these attacks can be traced back to remote workers who may not have the right protection in place on their at-home devices. For example, an insecure home connection can be easier to hack into than a corporate network that has been set up by IT professionals. Plus, some employees are using their personal computers for work, or their work computers for all purposes. 

With so many employees working from home, it’s never been more important to invest in endpoint protection, cloud-based software, and cybersecurity training. 

A “3D” approach to managing risk

The good news? You can manage those risks, secure company data, and keep your business safe with the help of a well-rounded cybersecurity plan.  

To make sure you’re covering all bases, follow the 3 D’s of Secure Digital Transformation, as coined by ESET: Detect, Deter, Defend. 

Step 1: Detect

Prevention is always better than cure. Ideally, you want to identify and block malicious activity and cyberattacks before they happen. That way, you can take the appropriate action and maintain your digital transformation and security.

Step 2: Defend

Cybercriminals are sneaky, so the goal is to never stop playing defense. By defending your endpoints, you’ll be in a much better position to pinpoint developing threats and protect your data from unauthorized users. You’ll also be able to recover more quickly if you do fall victim to a cyberattack.

Step 3: Deter

While the WFH model has given employees flexibility, it also means they’re left unsupervised, and some may not be familiar with cybersecurity best practices. This can make you vulnerable, as the chances of falling victim to a data breach, phishing scam or ransomware attack are higher. 

As an employer, it’s a good idea to run cybersecurity awareness training for your staff and teach them how to secure their networks and devices as well as recognize red flags. Explain that they should encrypt all data, create two backups of everything, turn on their router’s firewall and connect to a virtual private network (VPN) any time they’re working. 

Your solution: Endpoint protection software

With employees using wireless devices that “talk” to each other, endpoint protection software can keep businesses of all sizes safe. It provides an advanced defense against a range of cyberattacks, secures WiFi networks and webcams, and scans attachments and images for viruses. It also safeguards cloud email, collaboration, and storage systems (like Google Drive), and it has a remote management feature. That makes it easier to manage your company’s cybersecurity and offers peace of mind.