Preparing Government Employees to Be Cyber-Secure

Hybrid and remote working options have increased productivity for many businesses over the last two years, but have also opened up an array of challenges for cybersecurity departments. The sudden increase in the use of work devices and unmanaged personal devices on corporate networks has led to an unprecedented number of data leaks, malware infections, and ransomware attacks

This comes against a backdrop of conversations that increasingly place cybersecurity responsibility on CEOs and leaders at the top. Given that most executives drive data security decisions, some companies are slashing CEO compensation following catastrophic data breaches. Leaders are under increased pressure to take steps to secure all company endpoints.

The security game has changed: ransomware attacks increased by 104% across North America in 2021. Endpoint security strategies need to evolve to meet the demands and intricacies of hybrid work environments. It’s a top priority for executives in 2022 to secure data, assets, and employees regardless of where they’re working from.

To that end, here are some of the most high-level security risks that leaders and decisionmakers are weighing for hybrid and remote workers in 2022:

Unsafe Networks and Devices

One of the most significant risks of working from home is accessing sensitive data through unsafe or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Attackers can easily exploit vulnerabilities to get into the network—even through something as unsuspecting as a printer. Among other risks, hackers can intercept and steal unencrypted data sent in plain text. Agencies should consider implementing virtual private networks (VPN) on company endpoint devices to mitigate this risk. VPNs encrypt all data, making it much more difficult for attackers to intercept and steal information.

Another security risk common among remote workers is using personal devices for work purposes. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can save money, but also result in businesses having less control over device security. Government agencies in particular should consider implementing device-as-a-service solutions that equip employees with devices that include strong security features. They can also implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions that set a security standard amongst both company and private devices, to ensure that only authorized devices can access organization data.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are among the most common types of cyberattacks, and they are only becoming more sophisticated. In 2021, 83% of businesses in a cybersecurity survey were victims of one or more successful phishing attacks. These attacks can be challenging to detect—especially for an unsuspecting employee who doesn’t know what to look for. Even though phishing poses significant risks, many companies don’t invest in training their employees to identify and minimize risks. This apparent lack of awareness is a notable reason why phishing remains the most likely threat to sensitive data.

Proper cybersecurity training is a needed and valuable investment. So are automated protective solutions like HP Wolf Security, which includes a robust anti-phishing system that monitors employee activity to defend from suspicious websites and links.

Weak Passwords and Small Mistakes

Weak passwords may seem like a small issue, but they’re one of the most common security risks that businesses face today. Weak passwords are the leading cause of data breaches, and were responsible for 30% of cyberattacks in 2021. Attackers can easily guess or force their way into accounts with predictable passwords. 

This sort of user error comes with extremely high stakes for government data, but can be easily avoided. Agencies should require education and strict policies around creating strong passwords. Many kinds of software available today will generate and store random passwords that employees don’t need to remember, save, or risk revealing. Multi-factor authentication is another solution that is increasingly popular, requiring security questions, temporary codes from other devices, and other forms of verification that creates multiple checkpoints to sensitive data.

Another common security risk for remote workers is leaving devices unattended. When employees step away from their computers at a coffee shop or in the airport, they leave their devices vulnerable to theft and tampering. If an attacker gains access to an unattended device, they could install malware, steal sensitive data, or gain access to corporate networks. Government agencies would be wise to consistently and clearly invest in educating their employees about keeping devices secure. 

HP Wolf Security Solutions

HP Wolf Security is a cutting-edge security solution that helps businesses protect their employees and their data against the wide variety of sophisticated phishing attacks, malware, and data breaches. It offers powerful endpoint protection that is built into the hardware of every HP PC and printer. 

HP Wolf Security is designed to reduce the chances of a cyberattack rising from an employees’ endpoints. Leveraging HP Sure Click, HP Wolf Security strengthens security at a PC’s most vulnerable entry points through application isolation. HP Sure Click opens files and websites in isolated virtual containers, preventing any malware that might slip in from infecting the rest of the PC or accessing files.

HP Wolf Security also makes it possible to carry out remote recovery following a firmware attack. Its in-memory breach detection, self-healing firmware, and threat containment through isolation are all designed to fortify your company’s first line of defense. With the rise of remote computing, businesses need to rethink their security strategy to protect against new and quickly-evolving threats.

ABM Federal knows that procuring security-minded devices for government agencies comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. Our “Simple and Secure” commitment keeps us focused on straightforward design & implementation, streamlined procurement, clear visibility, and an overall end-user ecosystem that puts IT security first.  We are proud to partner with HP, raising awareness and simplifying the procurement of preconfigured, asset-management-ready devices, featuring the industry’s best hardware-enforced security. Contact us today to learn more about equipping your office with secure endpoint devices of the highest standard. 

Simplify and Secure Your Federal Office IT

ABM Federal, an HP Platinum Partner, provides HP Security Solutions to government agencies. With over 40 years of experience, an excellent past performance record, and Best In Class (BIC) contracts, ABM Federal offers a variety of innovative products and services to simplify and enhance your federal office IT.

Contact us at (800) 522-9226 to learn more.

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