Industry News

COVID-19’s Effects on Data Security

Threats to Expect When Shifting to a Remote Workforce

This spring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to shift to a remote workforce. Although this move accomplished the goal of minimizing risk to public health, it opened companies all over the globe up to a whole new set of cyber security risks, such as:

Email Scams

Hackers are pros at sending legitimate-looking emails containing malicious links and attachments. This is why email phishing scams are considered the top cause of data breaches. Once an employee initiates that fateful click or download, the hacker is free to gain access to the company’s device.

Weakened Security Controls

Due to the swift pace at which businesses shifted to a remote workforce, there is a higher chance that they may be more at risk because they likely were not able to plan their transition thoroughly.

Attacks on Remote-Working Infrastructure

The following weaknesses could lead to data breaches:

Home Wi-Fi Security

Employees’ home networks generally have weaker protocols, which gives hackers easy access to network traffic.

Phishing Scams

Like we said above, phishing scams are the top cause of data breaches. Hackers send legitimate-looking emails with malicious links. Once the link is clicked, hackers can gain access to the device.

Insecure Passwords

Simple passwords are very easy for hackers to crack and are often used across several platforms, giving hackers access to multiple accounts in which they can wreak havoc on.

Home Wi-Fi Security

In the office, IT managers or a company’s managed service provider can more easily control network security. Employees’ home Wi-Fi networks most likely have weaker security protocols, allowing hackers to gain access to network traffic.

All companies working remotely face the aforementioned challenges, however, some sectors may be more at risk than others.

Who is Most at Risk?

The following sectors may be targeted for cyber-attacks more frequently than others:


In 2019, just over 30 percent of phishing attacks were targeted at the SaaS/Webmail industry.


About 19.8 percent of phishing attacks were directed at the payments industry.

Financial Institutions

Another 19.4 percent of attacks were aimed at financial institutions.

Social Media

Last year, 6.8 percent of phishing invasions were aimed at social media.

Cloud Storage

The cloud storage industry was the target of 3.4 percent of the phishing attacks in 2019.

If your business falls into one of these sectors, it is imperative that you take extra precautions with your cybersecurity during this time. Look at it as a challenge to create better security standards for your company going forward.

This may also be a good opportunity to get quotes from experts within Alexant who can weigh in on the scenario.

How to Ensure Data Security for a Remote Workforce

Protect your business from cyber hackers trying to exploit the sudden transition to working remotely by implementing the following best practices:

Embrace easy fail-safes.

A password manager will help avoid risky behavior such as saving and sharing credentials. Additionally, enabling multi-factor authentication wherever possible will add an extra layer of security.


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