Cincinnati Bell Business Blog

Security & IT: What can we learn from the COVID-19 crisis

Posted by Joe R on Apr 29, 2020 12:57:12 PM

Security and technology are now more important than ever to support a remote business.  Having those two key roles working together is critical to mobilize a work-from-home plan.   Constant communication, strategic planning, and prioritization are needed to keep your business functional. As we have started to get used to our new normal working through this pandemic, here are a few things to keep in mind to mitigate security risk and become fully functional when remote.

Create a business continuity planning (BCP) team that can build a playbook to anticipate, plan for and recover from threats, natural disasters or cyber-attacks. A BCP team can act as your crisis management leaders to protect personnel and assets and make sure your business can quickly respond to disasters.  Within this team, get key groups together like Security and IT to coordinate and handle plans for a crisis.  Leo C No one anticipated the magnitude of the entire world and the entire economy being impacted by COVID-19 but having a BCP team can help mitigate risk to your business. Security as a function is a core role within overall Corporate BCP team.  Not leading the entire response but coordinating links between executive team, the operations team and some of the other support functions across the business” Leo Cronin, CSO of Cincinnati Bell.

Make sure your employees can be fully functional remote. Once a crisis occurs, your business will be bombarded with requests on how to provide remote access in different use cases.  It’s not just sending people home with laptops.Tim B  Don’t assume you know all your departments’ IT needs to establish a work from home plan.  Make sure and prioritize the list of all things needed, so you know how to best help.   “We asked all our department heads to tell us how they thought their operations would need to continue if there is a work from home mandate” Tim Beck, VP of IT from Cincinnati Bell.  Some legacy applications may be in use that are on desktops, that may require a need to securely move these desktops home.  Security and IT must work together to come up and architect solutions to do that with VPN technologies and using unconventional ways. 

Analyze third parties and vendors you share data with to make sure they are also able to securely work remote.  Think of the vendors, supply chains and third parties that you work with and discuss if they have all the capabilities they need to continue functioning safely and remotely.  Make sure these vendors and third parties have work from home programs that are solid and have security in mind.  Prioritize having shared discussions on how you can collaboratively complete security goals to protect data and remain efficient.

Understand the capacity your corporate network has to work remote.  Your business must understand what you have for VPN capacity, license capacity and Internet bandwidth capacity.  Create immediate and frequent reports for monitoring bandwidth and make plans if you need to expand further.  Evaluate the collaboration tools available to allow work from home communication such as Webex, Skype for Business, Office365.  Identify how you will navigate equipment distribution and associated resources that are air-gapped from one another.

The crisis we are in is not over, and every business is unique with their own challenges to address.  Think of these as a few items to help prioritize your response and organize a future blueprint for business continuity planning .  Visit here to learn more about what Cincinnati Bell is doing during this pandemic.

Topics: Internet, Security, Technology

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