Digital Health in a Pandemic
As the world rapidly evolves in response to COVID-19, it’s the internet that keeps us connected to one another, for work, for play, for comfort, and instruction. Consider that
- Unprecedented numbers of employees are working from home
- People are urgently searching for relevant, up-to-date information on the virus
- Online retailers are besieged with orders from people who are self-isolating
- The internet is the primary source of entertainment due to social distancing
Physical health is at the forefront of every mind as we follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations including practicing personal hygiene and avoiding large gatherings, but how much are we thinking about digital health? Virtually we are interacting more than anytime in history. Digital Health requires the same caution as physical health. The best place to start is with the most practical suggestions.
Consider The Source
You’d never risk your physical health by choosing shady or questionable sources. Apply the same principle to your digital health. We all need to stay up to date with the best information. The reputable places for the information you need about COVID-19 are the aforementioned Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and your regional government website. Just as there are those who seek to profit from the crisis in the physical work, there are and those determined to capitalize on COVID-19 in the digital world. Malicious actors are continually registering websites that sound valid, but are laced with malware. Don’t expect there to be a better source out there than the ones we’ve known and trusted for years.
Second, malicious actors are adept at playing on emotions. Fear and philanthropy both drive people to respond without the prudence normal circumstances would allow. Whether it’s information you didn’t actively ask for but definitely want that shows up in your inbox (likely a phishing attack), advertisements for masks effective against coronaviruses (which can be a fraud), or a new charity reaching out for aid (which might be a scam), it’s important to exercise wisdom.
Protect Your Ecosystem
Remote work has reached unprecedented levels. Whether you are new to telecommuting or have years of experience working from home, be aware of increased hacker activity. They know people are working from home, and see it as an opportunity to sneak into organizations with all the other outside traffic getting in. Do your part to protect your organization. Be certain you understand corporate security policy and protocols, especially who you contact if you have trouble with your equipment and how you should communicate (phone, email, chat client). Avoid non-sanctioned file sharing methods or collaboration tools. Reach out to corporate IT if you need to use a personal device or need additional software to accomplish your job responsibilities; choosing forgiveness over permission is a dangerous decision in the current climate.
Protect Your Data
Finally, if you’re an organization enabling remote workers, be sure to keep that tight security perimeter drawn tightly around identity. Utilize Multi-Factor Authentication to be certain you know the person accessing remote resources is who they claim to be, good identity governance to ensure that the right person has the right access to the right resource at the right time, and pursue a tool like Saviynt’s Identity Risk Exchange which aggregates the portrait of identity across all of your different organizational tools and can pinpoint and respond real-time to risk to ensure your enterprise is protected.
Saviynt wishes you all safety, a socially distanced but supportive community, and good physical as well as digital health in this tense season.