Businesses need to prepare for IT infrastructure to become unavailable as company’s shutter offices, Matthew White, business resilience leader at PwC Middle East said during a webcast on Tuesday.
Middle Eastern countries are subject to widespread to shutdowns as authorities move to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Businesses have moved to working remotely, where available, to support social distancing policies, necessitating a heavier reliance on technology than might normally be the case.
Microsoft Teams, a popular tool for communication in businesses, has reported crashes as a result of high demand due to companies working from home during the pandemic.
“What happens when IT infrastructure becomes unavailable? All organizations need to start planning for this scenario very quickly… We need a holistic approach that is continuous in nature throughout the crisis,” White said.
Businesses also need to adapt to the different security challenges associated with employees working from home. In particular, White noted four different policies that businesses should put in place:
• Implementing stronger access control, two factor authentication, and VPN connections where possible.
• Making sure all assets are patched appropriately and have the correct security configuration.
• Monitoring emails to prevent or block malicious activities.
• Improving employee awareness around phishing and ransomware attacks, especially as workers are likely in a situation that they are not used to.
Of these four White said that “raising awareness is at the top of my list.”
The coronavirus is causing widespread economic damage across the world. One expert said on Monday that the virus could cut global GDP by up to 30 percent as workers cannot travel to work.
“A lot of production has stopped, and that is the real damage … Suddenly the economy comes to a stop,” said Professor Stephen Thomas, associate dean, MBA programmes at Cass Business School in Dubai and London.
Central banks and governments across the world have stepped up efforts to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus. In the US, lawmakers are debating a trillion-dollar stimulus plan. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, authorities have pledged billions in stimulus, with additional fund announcements announced periodically.
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