‘Pandemic – The Perfect Storm’

By Prof. John Walker

To say we live in unprecedented times must be the understatement of the century – in fact, what we have seen in recent years does amount to gross disbelief. Terrorist attacks finding their way to the streets of the UK, active Russian agents seemingly acting with murderous impunity, whilst looking wondrously up at Church Spires, not to mention the murder of a US based journalist within the walls of a Egyptian Consulate – all of which seem to have passed by as if they were every day, expected occurrences!

And then as if by the magic wave of an evil hand we find ourselves facing a new challenge in the guise of what may be a bio-circumstance born out of filth, or possibly a man-made engineered viral creation out of some secret facility located in Wuhan, China. However, equally worrying are some associated reports warning that such natural viral mutations creating pandemic dangers also exist in  many other wet markets in the Far East, implying that even post coronavirus, the world may well still face similar situations in the future, so planning for the such a future is a must-do. As of today, the manifestation of this evil killing biological danger is unknown, but one thing can be assured for certain, the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting infectious disease COVID-19 has disrupted the planet. An associated sad fact of this imposed circumstance of bio-adversity is, the conjoined fallout has had hit the global economy big-time, and has impacted the way in which businesses operate, forcing them (like it or not) to push their employees into the own homes to operate on behalf of the business mission to accommodate continuity of trading.

In the opinion of some (including myself) this New Age style of working may not be considered a passing trend, and with the sad death toll in the UK now in excess of 30,000 cases (as I write), it is not so much a matter of going back to normality as soon as possible, but more a case of adoption  and acceptance of a new normality (new norm) which will rise from the ashes of this pandemic – we may well see a shift in attitude, sociability, and trust, and thus I don’t see what we recognise as normality being adopted with ease any time soon.

We also need to consider the potential of the mental impact that this siltation of isolation has imposed on the workforce, and what pressure it may have created in the home where say, two or more people are trying to work, where out-of-schooling children may be demanding attention, and not forgetting Fido standing at the door with lead in his jaws awaiting a little walkies – yes this is the potential ultimate zone of pressure! On this theme, I was talking with the CEO via video link (the new norm) at the start of this dreadful situation and they shared with me their thoughts:

We had no choice but to push our administrative and office based operations into the home-office, a situation we were completely unprepared for, and we (I (the CEO)) are now placing trust on the end users to do the right thing at home

I guess here, the question is what may be interpreted as the right thing? My conversation with the CEO went on to discuss his worries around GDPR, lack of encryption and the serious implications if things do go wrong – he went on to share with me that the company had no real security policies, procedures or technical capabilities in place to underpin such a forced conditions of out-of-office working, and that this was a matter unpreparedness that kept him awake at night!

Based on some acquired information, a small research project was established to sample just how well businesses of all sizes are coping whilst operating under the spell of the pandemic conditions, and whilst some discoveries would seem to be suggestive that all in under control, talking with some of the company’s employees would imply a very different picture of confusion, unpreparedness, and lack of support coming out of their overstretched organisations.

On the other side of the coin of unpreparedness, we have discovered broken processes in banking systems which have forced their customers to attend physical counter services to resolve an on-line banking logjam. We have found in many cases a total failure with the lack of Security Education and Awareness Training extending to the home-office, with the users being left to decide right from wrong for themselves – and this at a time when Organised Crime, State Sponsored Actors and even the Mafia have emerged to profit from the dark hour we find ourselves immersed in.

To this end we are running a Webinar on 21/05/20 to consider the current situation, and to share our findings of the state of the corporate nation – we will discuss the what tools and methodologies may be employed to mitigate exposures presented by the ‘GDPR Passport’ (which assures compliance obligations as it always travel with the data) where the simple use of a Certified Encrypted drive such as diskAshur Pro can secure the data at a molecule of the cost of a potential GDPR fine, not to mention the unwelcome adverse press. We will introduce a number of fresh ideas which are born out of proven practices, and as to how OSINT can be utilised to add a layer of security to the extended perimeter of home-based operations – and above all we will share with our attending delegates the vision of the New Age ways for Secure Home Office Operations in the New Norm. So, I do hope you will be able to join myself and my panel of seasoned professionals including:

Sarb Sembhi: CISO – Virtually Informed

Rolf von Roessing: Partner, CEO at FORFA CONSULTING AG

Angela Lawson: Performance Consultant at Improve Performance

Who will share with you our pragmatic observations from the real-world coalface?

21 May 2020 at 14:00 GMT  – ‘Pandemic – The Perfect Storm’.

Watch it here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4izES1vLSL6q8xChPyNLjg

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