During the current COVID-19 pandemic, various security partners of value-added distributor Networks Unlimited Africa have responded with initiatives aiming at helping members of the global IT community in different ways. These initiatives broadly fall into the arenas of education and training, vital information sharing and security encryption.
Stefan van de Giessen, Cybersecurity Manager at Networks Unlimited Africa, says, “We are all aware of how quickly organisations around the globe had to take steps to adapt their networks, as employees were required to transition from the traditional on-premises work environment to remote working. At the same time, cybercriminals also moved quickly, shifting their attacks to remote workers in order to hunt down sensitive information and data.
“At Networks Unlimited, we have always taken pride in partnering with a suite of best-of-breed vendors, all carefully chosen to be at the forefront of innovative thinking. The responses of some of our vendors to this crisis have been noteworthy in terms of their holistic responses and their care for the wider community.”
Van de Giessen cites examples from Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions; Cofense, a provider of intelligent phishing defence solutions; and RSA, which offers consulting and technology solutions to provide a holistic view in reducing risk and offering rapid response to incidents.
With IT teams under severe pressure right now to effectively secure their organisations, Fortinet has made its entire self-paced catalogue of advanced training courses available for free. This means that any IT professional can expand their knowledge and skills on-demand as needed, to effectively protect their organisations.
Van de Giessen clarifies, “IT teams are under pressure to effectively secure their organisations, in very dynamic environments which require broad security skillsets. The topics offered include secure SD-WAN, public cloud security and secure access, among others. The majority of courses are from the official Network Security Expert Institute curriculum, which was previously available to Fortinet partners for free, but will now be open to anyone who is interested.”
Additionally, the courses will be available at no cost for the remainder of 2020, helping to address the rapidly evolving needs of organisations securing highly distributed and remote workforces. These courses will also provide students and anyone looking to start a career in cybersecurity with the opportunity to learn new skills or upskill.
He adds that Fortinet’s solutions create an integrated framework to support remote working, including the encryption of data in transit, multifactor authentication, data loss prevention and advanced threat protection.
Malware attacks have increased enormously all over the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore critical right now to ensure that employees working remotely are covered by adequate cybersecurity software, as well as making sure that employees do not click on emails from unknown or strange sources, which could be a phishing attack intended to introduce malware.
Cofense Intelligence combines technology with analyst insights, thereby delivering high-fidelity, phishing-specific intelligence. Explains Van de Giessen, “In the sudden rush to remote working, phishing threats have definitely risen. Cofense Intelligence, which provides phishing alerts, information and the insights needed to proactively defend an organisation against current and emerging phishing threats, is seeing malicious emails get past even the most secure perimeter defences on a daily basis.
“Therefore, on the premise that forewarned is forearmed, Cofense is offering free access to Cofense Intelligence for a 90-day period in order to allow businesses to stay on top of the latest phishing threats in the current threat landscape, including an awareness of emerging trends. In this way, Cofense Intelligence can help your team avoid a breach and better manage your security operations.”
In addition, Cofense has offered further assistance by releasing its ‘Coronavirus Info Centre’ with the reassuring reminder to: ‘Keep calm. Don’t click.’ This Cofense website provides accurate information to protect users and organisations, via a useful downloadable graphic, as well as a blog and newsfeed on misinformation around COVID-19 and IT issues. Security awareness teams are advised to focus on communicating what to look for in phishing emails, as well as basic security measures while working from home.
“Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security system process where a user is prompted, during a sign-in process, for an additional form of identification to verify their identity for a login or other transaction,” says Van de Giessen. “This could include entering a code on their cell phone or providing a fingerprint scan because, should you use only a password to authenticate a user, it leaves an insecure vector that could be open to attack.”
RSA is currently offering new clients access to its multifactor authentication at no charge, for a limited time frame. The company offers a variety of modern authentication options, such as push-to-approve, device biometrics and OTPs, to name a few, giving organisations the power of choice in adopting a methodology that best suits their authentication needs.
“This is a particularly useful option to be able to adapt during these times in which more employees will continue to work from home,” comments Van de Giessen.
“There is always a clear and defined link between business productivity and performance and the management of risk. During these difficult times, we welcome all input from our vendor partners which assists with organisational risk management and, as a result, the enablement of business continuity during these difficult and unchartered times,” he concludes.