By Maureen Perrelli, chief channel officer, Secureworks
Whether through direct or channel sales, there is one constant attribute that determines success or failure, and that is trust. Trust can be explained in many ways. It is having the knowledge and expertise to recommend a technology solution that fits the customer’s needs, not yours. It is building and maintaining a track record of doing the right thing on a consistent basis. It is about possessing intelligence of emerging trends and having the confidence to advocate change.
For the hundreds of technology partners we work with every day in the Channel, that trust was put to the test during this pandemic. Companies relied on their technology partners to help them implement remote working solutions alongside new and untested virtual collaboration styles, as well as establishing new supply chain processes and assistance with rethinking conventional strategic planning.
Despite all the collaborative innovation to keep global economies going – as well as ensuring safety for companies and livelihoods – threat actors were ready to take advantage of this creative goodwill. In the recent Secureworks Incident Response Report, our incident responders share lessons from hundreds of engagements conducted during the pandemic. Although we did not see an increase in the volume of attacks, many threat actors used COVID-19 as an opportunity to employ familiar tactics such as phishing.
Healthcare, pharmaceutical, and government organizations were targeted by both nation-states and financially-motivated cybercriminals. These threat actors recognized the large sums of money funding pandemic-related work and targeted the underlying data for financial gain. These industries rely heavily on technology partners, so this is personal to me.
I believe technology partners are in an ideal position to help organizations mitigate the risk posed by threat actors during this pandemic and beyond. Our findings point to specific actions I believe partners can employ to increase their level of trust with their customers:
- Enforce or develop policies to protect remote work equipment, the consumption or transport of sensitive data and establish technical controls to help monitor and enforce these policies. For example, install technical controls such as a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.
- On-premise testing can now be performed remotely by several security providers. Organizations should conduct frequent vulnerability, penetration, incident response, and simulated attack testing to validate the safety of their remote technology investments, procedural changes, and internal security vigilance.
- The same can be said about the stable of vendors who help organizations achieve their goals. As all supply chains are connected online, vendors need to demonstrate equal or stronger security postures than the organizations they serve.
- Threat actors continue to use proven tactics such as ransomware, malware, and business email fraud. Organizations should deploy advance threat detection and response solutions to constantly monitor their now expanded network footprint.
- Using multi-factor authentication for internet-facing resources, encrypting sensitive data, and disposing of information securely remain vital best practices to protect against credential abuse.
Channel partners can bolster their customer defenses by training personnel and tuning their processes and tools for work-from-home environments. This can help all organizations better prepare to detect and respond to incidents well into the future as the pandemic has changed the way the world works, even though cybersecurity threats are largely the same.