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Five Cyber Security Tactics for Securing Your Client’s Data in the COVID-19 Era

Author: Lou Gabos, Ph.D.

How we conduct business and perform our work has changed drastically in the short evolution of COVID-19. Every work from home scenario is different, but the need to protect company data remains the same regardless of the location from where access is  . Protecting client data is crucial in the electrical industry, especially for the safety of customers. Technology expert Lou J. Gabos, Ph.D at Qualus Power Services recommends these five cyber security techniques to help secure your data.

Multilayer Software Security to Protect Client’s Data

Like entering the White House, there are multiple barriers keeping any outsiders from the President. Identification, background checks, security scans, numerous check points and more are implemented to safely protect the President. Each layer has tighter security until access to the President is reached. Treat your network the same. Multiple layers of security allows the network to be highly protected with several types of defenses to avoid exposing your client’s data to unauthorized access. Be sure to include additional passwords at various check points to ensure the right person is accessing sensitive information.

Staying Informed with the Latest Threats, Vulnerabilities and Trends

It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest cyber security threats to your business. One way to do that is by getting involved in organizations that provide continuous updates and current trends. For example, as a member of FBI Infragard, a group of FBI cyber security experts and select members of the private sector engage on the latest threats facing various industries. You receive the latest information on new types of malicious software, methods of attack and emerging vulnerabilities to be made aware of. This can be used to inform internal teams of potential risks that could jeopardize the security of your data. Infragard is available only to businesses supporting our national infrastructure, some of which are energy, defense, nuclear and transportation.

Extending Technical Support to Help Users Better Secure Their Home Network

Working at home is very different than working from home. When first switching to a work from home policy, several of your employees may have had different experiences in the transition process and this is due to different environments they’re all working in. To combat this, extending your technical support to respond to day-to-day issues, while proactively educating your teams is important. Instructing your team on best practices for connecting to their home network by Ethernet versus Wi-Fi, securing their router, and setting up the right location for their home office are all crucial for ensuring their experience is stress-free and the working environment is secure.

Using SoftPhone Software

Implementing another alternative for managing business calls is an important tactic to consider, as most aren’t able to take their phone equipment to their homes. Right now, workers still receive calls to their office phone which are either retrieved via voicemail systems or forwarded to the recipient via email.  Either way, when the calls are returned it’s usually done from a personal cell phone or a home phone both of which expose personal phone numbers to external individuals. To avoid this, implement a softphone application on each workstation and configure it to your phone switch. This allows the user to make and receive business calls from their office extension that operates directly from their computer. This makes communicating with others transparent and keeps the way you conduct business the same.

Restricting Device Access to the Corporate Network

While it may be tempting to use different computers to access your company email and work files, it’s recommended to use only company approved equipment for this. With more users now working from home, the size of the attack footprint has grown tremendously because company workstations are connected to home networks that are often less secure and contain a myriad of other unsecured devices on them. Allowing other personal devices to access corporate information further increases your vulnerability. It’s essential to have full control over which devices are permitted to access corporate information resources.  This is done through device name filtering or for mobile devices such as cell phones, Electronic Serial Number restrictions are used to control access.

Cyber security is a non-negotiable requirement at Qualus. Its commitment to safety goes beyond physical health and includes the safety of not only our clients, but of their information assets as well. Qualus remains vigilant around the clock to securely protect the data they have been entrusted with.

About Qualus Power Services

Qualus Power Services provides electric power engineering and field services through its wholly–owned subsidiaries, CE Power and Power Grid Engineering. The business operates from over 20 engineering locations and provides services in over 30 States through 750 employees, the vast majority of whom are power engineers, P&C field technicians or NETA–certified field technicians.