Preparing Ethiopian businesses for the new normal post COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our entire working culture. A recent survey indicates that 95% of security professionals are facing added IT security challenges due to the coronavirus.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – October,20, 2020   Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, hosted a webinar on October 12 through a joint effort with Deliver ICT, an IT solutions company based in Ethiopia, to provide businesses with the essential cyber security strategies needed post COVID-19.

According to Check Point research, the East African region has experienced nearly three times the global average in cyber-attacks. The World Economic Forum warned thatwe should prepare for a COVID-like global cyber pandemic that will spread faster and further than a biological virus, with an equal or greater economic impact.

With cyber security now considered a business enabler, Ethiopian security executives will play a key role in securing their organisations. The webinar presentation, “Coronavirus: The Day After Preparing For The Next Global Crisis – A Cyber Pandemic,” featured Matan Burstein, Security Engineering Manager Africa at Check Point Software, who provided insights into IT security challenges in the new cyber security normal which has arisen due  to shifts in our working culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New cyber security normal                     

Remote work has become the new norm, with country-mandated lockdowns accelerating the transition of employees to work from home, allowing them to access corporate resources through secure access. The crisis has forced companies to accelerate their technological transformation with cloud resources as the top priority. This has created a “Just Do it” mindset, increasing organisations cyber risks as corners are cut to meet the burning demand for connectivity.

Check Point research teams found a dramatic rise in cyberattacks in correlation with the spread of the virus, and an alarming amount of phishing attacks trying to exploit this fear. COVID-19 is not just a virus, it is a major, successful, attack theme. Hackers are taking advantage of this fear factor to target enterprises and consumers alike for financial gains, using different methods and attack vectors.

“What we have seen is that cybercriminals are targeting high unemployment rates and are disguising malware in the form of CV’s. These CV’s seem honest, however when opened within an organisation by HR personal, the infection will occur,” says Burstein.

The pandemic will disappear – Its cyber effect will not

The trends of the coronavirus have dramatically changed the way we work. The accelerated pace of digital transformation, remote access infrastructure, and the rapid move to the cloud—are known trends by cybercriminals. Businesses need to be proactive and secure themselves in the new normal by focusing on:

Real-time prevention: Prevention is better than treatment. Likewise, in cyber security, real-time prevention is the key to protecting our organisations and employees from a cyber-attack of cataclysmic, cyber pandemic proportions.

Secure everything: It is vital for organisations to revisit and check the security level and relevance of their network’s infrastructures, processes, compliance of connected mobile and PC devices, IoT, among others. The increased use of the cloud means an increased level of security, especially in technologies that secure workloads, containers, and serverless applications on multi- and hybrid-cloud environments.

Consolidation and visibility: The highest level of visibility, reached through consolidation, will increase effectiveness. You need a unified management and improved risk visibility to your entire security architecture, and this can only be achieved by reducing the number of point product solutions and vendors.

Biological pandemic vs. Cyber Pandemic

Check Point Software researchers have seen parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and cyber pandemic. They share many similarities such as infection rate, infection prevention and safety best practices.

“Similar to how a person would adopt best practices such as wearing a mask, maintaining hygiene and social distancing, so to must businesses. Businesses today need remain aware of the current cyber threats, maintain cyber hygiene by ensuring compliance and distance their assets through network segmentation and multi-factor authentication,” says Burstein.

As we have witnessed in the past several months, in times of crisis, we need to be agile and act swiftly. The pandemic will wind down, but its effects are here to stay, and the best way for all of us to stay connected is by being protected.

Melkamu Bade, Director of Deliver ICT, added, “Through our partnership with Check Point, we aim to provide highly influential cyber security and IT solutions starting from the business need, justification up to technical solutions within Ethiopia.

The webinar shed light on the current trends within cyber security and provided insights into preventing future cyber pandemics within East Africa.

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