How Secure is Your Digital Workplace?

author Carol Mentis, June 12, 2017

Digital Workplace Security | Claromentis

The recent cyber attack here in the UK, by the ransomware nicknamed “WannaCry”, has brought it home to everyone in the business world just how vulnerable most companies are to cyber crime.

It is thought the group responsible for the attack (a group going by the name of the “Shadow Brokers”) managed to get their hands on an NSA cyber-war seeking worm code. This is a specific type of malware that latches on to any weaknesses in Windows. The code was then engineered into a ransomware package, thereby bringing into existence what is thought to be the planet’s first ransom designated worm.

How infections can spread throughout a digital workplace

The bad news is that a user doesn’t even have to click on a link to get an infection like WannaCry. This new ransom worm can also work its evil across an Intranet network by searching out other computers on the network that have a similar weakness; which is exactly how it created so much havoc within the NHS.

With the digital workplace becoming not just a catchphrase but a reality, intranet software has a real heavyweight responsibility to protect the computers that use it against these types of breaches.

IT managers beware

This latest fiasco does, however, highlight the importance of keeping software current. IT managers in businesses all over the world have a duty to ensure that this is so. The trend to bring your own device (BYOD) into the workplace and link-up to an internal intranet is an area that now needs to be heavily scrutinised; even more so following the WannaCry epidemic.

IT managers are going to have to insist BYOD machines being kept up to date for software changes, but perhaps there now needs to be some sort of automatic screening put into place that checks out a BYOD’s credentials, before it is allowed to link into an intranet.

Up until now, it has mostly been businesses operating within the financial sector that have had to have their cyber security tweaked to the maximum. However, thanks to the EU and their GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) directive, more and more businesses will have to re-evaluate their cyber security, or face stiff financial penalties.

Intranets that collect and store personal data

The GDPR will impact significantly on any organisations that use their intranets in order to collect and store personal data. The following points need to be considered:

1. Have you been given free consent in order to store the data?
2. What happens subsequently if the consent gets withdrawn? Will it prove possible to erase the data?
3. How is the data being stored? Is it in a safe and appropriate way?
4. Are you able to determine that you only capture the data that you specifically need and that no extraneous data is gathered and stored?
5. Can you determine that the data you have collected and stored is only being used for the purposes it was originally intended?
6. Can you confirm that the duration for which you store any personal data is no longer than is strictly necessary?

Making sure that your digital workplace and intranet software will be GDPR compliant should not only be limited to businesses operating within the financial and banking sectors. It should be universally accepted as being best practice, by all organisations.

The relationship between the intranet software and the digital office

The term “digital office” is now commonplace. In fact, some people are even suggesting that it replaces intranet software. Of course, this is completely untrue. What is true is that the digital office encompasses a wide range of products with mobility and revamped enterprise software, enhanced personal productivity tools and a variety of cloud-based innovations being brought into play.

However, the fact of the matter is that all this increased functionality brought about by the plethora of new applications currently available doesn’t necessarily improve the simplicity of daily work functions. In fact, if anything, it does exactly the opposite, which is why many businesses are now looking for a new enterprise “front door” approach. This is now being used to provide one, lone point of entry, through which all other products can be accessed in a controlled environment.

This is where intranet software scores highly. By designing and installing an appropriate intranet homepage, intranet software, through which the workforce can access all of the other things they need do their jobs effectively, is very much the foundation of the new digital office. This, of course, makes it even more important to ensure that your cyber security is up to scratch.

Make sure your intranet software measures up

With more businesses than ever going down the route of installing intranet software, the advent of WannaCry has had one positive result. It has woken people up to the fact that they must ensure their organisation’s intranet software measures up to today’s challenges; both in terms of functionality and cyber security.