How to Minimize the Risk of Insider Threats (Physical and Cyber) During COVID-19

There are many articles covering cyber security threats during the pandemic. I’ve pulled out a few of the physical threats as well. One ‘cyber’ thing I’d add to all of these is to have a program in place to patch all those office machines that have been turned off before any attempt to reopen your business premises, and take back any mobile devices you gave out and make sure they are clean (physically and operationally) and patched as well…:

Many businesses have severely reduced their operations or shut down completely during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Rather than the number of business risks being reduced through lower operations, in many instances risks have been magnified. Idle or under-utilized sites can be under-guarded and can be soft targets for several different forms of attack. The main types of threats can largely be broken down into physical and cybersecurity threats. Security leaders are advised to pay attention to the following threats.

Physical Threats

Physical Document Security

One of the unavoidable realities of remote working during this time is the need for staff to travel home with sensitive information in physical document forms. They have to keep these at their homes and sometimes print even more documents on private networks. Stopping this practice is near-impossible. Businesses must come up with a strong plan for the destruction of sensitive company information when employees are done with it.

Sensitive Document Storage

Whether firms are operating at reduced capacity or shutting down entirely for this time, it is quite possible that papers and documents will be left at workstations and printer stations in the office. Organizations need to enforce a workspace clear and clean policy that necessitates the reduction of sensitive material lying around. There must be clear guidelines regarding what needs to be filed, what needs to be shredded and at what intervals.

Stolen Identification

Many organizations have access control systems, and employees will need to be reminded not to share their identification. Employees need to be educated on the importance of protecting their IDs or access cards. Without training or regular reminders, employees will often share or lose their access cards. This sharing practice, which happens regularly in normal times, becomes more dangerous in crisis periods. Staff need to maintain vigilance to avoid identities getting into the wrong hands.

Unauthorized Vehicle Entry

Many sites are fitted with access control systems which allow authorized vehicle entry. These systems include locked barriers or swipe-card mechanisms. Tailgating is a term that refers to unauthorized vehicles opportunistically entering a site behind an authorized vehicle. With the right security measures, acts like tailgating can be stopped. Systems can be enhanced with new mechanisms. Employees need to be reminded of this possibility of this happening.

Building Security and Oversight

When sites shut down completely, as is happening during COVID-19, the security of brick and mortar buildings becomes paramount. Good quality locks on all entry and exit doors is a necessity Similarly, all windows should be shut and secured. Businesses should keep only the minimum level of internal and external lighting where possible. It is a good idea to have a remote movement detection system. If this is not possible, sites can be manned by human security.

Services and Utilities

Businesses that shut down should have a strategy for what to do with services and utilities. Electrical systems will have to remain operational but on reduced levels in order to facilitate security and lighting systems. Water systems must be managed or curtailed to reduce flooding or fire risk.

Good Practice for Storage of Items

Consider reducing how much combustible material is kept on site. Potentially problematic material includes form of packaging, waste items, or reclaimed items. Make sure that there is an appropriate separation distance between all electrical outlets and potentially flammable materials. Any items which are combustible or flammable or unstable in any way should be placed in safe storage.


Original article here