Over the last few months, we’ve seen many organisations in the Middle East have arranged for employees to work from home. Living in the golden age of Digital Transformation means that we are connected at all times. Consequently, the workplace today has evolved significantly to allow individuals to communicate seamlessly and connect from anywhere through mobile devices, digital tools, cloud services and many more. But what does this mean for organisations and the protection of its data?
With many employees working from home, businesses can expect a huge spike of personal file storing coming in from external sources. This is the perfect opportunity for malicious malware to make their way into servers, potentially corrupting a network of data.
According to a recent news report in The National newspaper, the UAE has been revealed as the leading target of cybercriminals in the region, accounting for more than half of the examples of malicious online and theme-driven behaviour detected in the Gulf. Trend Micro, an international cybersecurity and defence firm, said it had detected 1,541 attacks in the UAE in the past months, including 775 malware threats, 621 email spam attacks and 145 URL attacks during March. Across the GCC countries, the figure was 3,067 over the same period.
Here are some of the necessary steps businesses should be taking to protect their data and IT architecture:
Three layers in the circle of defence
Businesses need to be aware of how they manage data between cloud and consider tools that will give them an advantage. Today, businesses are continuously backing up and replicating applications and we can only expect this to increase over the next few years as others learn the significance of data that are easily recoverable.
They need to understand the different roles that are needed for consideration when optimising their systems for backup and replication. This can be easily summed up into the three layers of defence in data protection.
Perimeter: Firstly, businesses must consider the situation at hand – in this instance, it is remote working or working from home. Protection must be made available for employees to be able to access the cloud and in turn, ensure that this data can be backed up.
Mid: Next, businesses need to note that with an increase in the number of people working from home, measures must be put in place so that the systems are still able to run smoothly and efficiently. To counter this, it is highly recommended that servers be optimised for different groups of networks to tap into.
Base: It goes without saying that having more people accessing the servers from an external network will also result in an increase in the number of personal files coming in. Businesses need to ensure that they are able to mitigate any malware that might make its way through.
Data backup and protection
There are many unforeseen circumstances that businesses need to prepare for. Therefore, it is important for them be highly adaptable. Having data that is easily accessible is part of the solution to be ready for remote working. Over the next few years, businesses can expect to see an increase in the number of tools that can allow them to continuously back up their data and perform recovery in a matter of minutes. With these tools, they will be insured with more than just backed up data – they will also have access to insights that will allow them to make informed decisions in their digital transformation journey.
Apart from that, it is also important for businesses to protect their data – as seen with the recent increase of data breaches. Cloud Data Management is expected to see an increase in mobility and portability over the next few years. With added security measures, businesses will have access to data easily outside of their workplace with a peace of mind.
Prevention of cyberattacks
One of the essential steps businesses need to take is to minimise administrative access to platforms and servers and increasing rules of operation. Not everyone needs to be able to access all the systems in place.
It is also vital for organisations to educate their employees – often, ransomware finds its way through a system because of an individual’s mistake. It is important for businesses to remind employees on best practices, especially in times when telecommuting is an option for everyone. They need to understand that being connected to a network outside of the company’s system exposes the servers to potential malware.
To sum it all up, businesses in the Middle East need to always prepare ahead for any disruption that might have an impact in the way they work. Especially in an era where remote working is a step forward, organisations need to ensure that their systems are ready and fully protected so that their employees can remain efficient and productive.
By: Claude Schuck, Regional Manager, Middle East at Veeam