Remote Workers. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

The Scattered Perimeter: A New Norm For Cybersecurity

Our employees are suddenly and unexpectedly working from their homes

– Eyal Benishti, CEO at IRONSCALES

Atlanta, Ga. – Mar. 31, 2020

A couple of days ago I had a phone conversation with a fellow security practitioner. We were exchanging thoughts regarding the new norm whereby both our companies were forced into a new situation — work from home for 100 percent of our workforce.

COVID has many effects on our day-to-day lives and from a professional perspective, it’s what we now call — the scattered perimeter.

Both of our organizations were designed to support some remote work, but we never planned to have EVERYONE working remotely. For some people in certain positions, it makes perfect sense. For others, it’s completely puzzling. And even from a network security architecture and security operational perspective, we felt like most organizations must not be ready. 

The virtual perimeter that was defined to protect our users now partially exists. People are everywhere working crazy hours. How do we protect that now?

With hundreds of new laptops now installed to support this new norm, I started by asking one simple question … that led to a few more. What if a ransomware attack is now successful? How do you plan to recover from that? What is the impact on your business? How long will it take? What is the expectation of the people at home?

Now, if there was a compromised situation and there’s a ransomware ask, would you pay for it? Or, would you ship the laptops back and forth?

The best answer I can give is that I don’t know if there is a right answer, but I think I might pay if it was cheaper. This scenario is certainly something we need to think about.

With everything going on in today’s pandemic, the C-level is trying to figure out how to handle having 100 percent remote employees, giving them the right equipment to do their jobs, the right access, and the built-in security to ensure that their IP and work information is secure. The communication is another piece that’s impacted in the new norm as most people turn to email and virtual conferencing vendors to communicate and get work done.

Email has always been the main channel for communication and gets even more of an importance now. Cybercriminals know this very well. They are acting fast and getting even more creative. They know everyone is vulnerable, they understand the chaos and they know they will benefit from it. Email is the most common and inexpensive channel for these criminals. All they need is “one click” to call it a success. When employees are working remotely, especially in today’s quarantine situation, they’re balancing a lot of different things. It’s an easy honest mistake for them to act on a malicious email. And there — we have a compromised situation. 

Security leaders and teams were struggling before the new norm to keep up with the evolving cyber threat landscape. Today’s scattered workforce and perimeter makes it even harder. From email security alone, how do you expect a SOC analyst to keep up with phishing emails that are running around the clock and how is he/she supposed to remediate or clawback malicious emails when people are working at different times during this quarantine phase that we’re going through?

Eyal Benishti is CEO at IRONSCALES, the first and only email phishing solution to combine human intelligence with machine learning to automatically prevent, detect and respond to phishing attacks in real-time.

Sponsored by IRONSCALES

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