By Robbie Ross, CSO, Converged Communications Solutions

As winter blankets us in a serene layer of snow, the picturesque landscapes and frosty air bring with them a unique set of challenges that extend beyond icy roads and frosty windows. Surprisingly, the winter wonderland can have an impact on the realm of cyber security controls.

Power outages and disruptions to infrastructure

Snow and cold temperatures often accompany storms, which can lead to power outages and disruptions in critical infrastructure. Extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall and freezing rain, may weigh down power lines and damage utility infrastructure, causing prolonged power outages. In the absence of a stable power supply, businesses and organisations may find themselves exposed to cyber security risks.

Cyber security controls heavily rely on consistent power sources to function optimally. Without a stable power supply, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other protective measures may falter, leaving digital assets vulnerable to unauthorised access and cyber threats. To counteract this, organisations should implement backup power solutions, such as generators and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, to ensure that cyber security controls remain operational even during power outages induced by inclement weather.

Remote working and access to company networks

Like many, I am writing this whilst working from home. One of the great benefits of homeworking is when the weather is poor I am able to keep working without having to travel to the office. I know we have been doing this for quite a while now but it is worth repeating that this shift to remote work introduced new cyber security challenges. Home networks may lack the robust security measures implemented in corporate environments, making them more susceptible to cyber threats. Companies need to adapt their cyber security controls to account for the increased reliance on remote work, ensuring that employees can securely access corporate networks from the safety of their homes. This may involve the implementation of virtual private networks (VPNs), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and regular security awareness training for remote workers.

Snow and freezing temperatures impact physical security

Snow and cold weather conditions can also impact the physical security of data centres and IT infrastructure. Accumulation of snow on roofs may pose a threat to the structural integrity of buildings housing critical servers and hardware. Additionally, freezing temperatures can affect the performance of hardware components, leading to potential malfunctions.

To address these physical security risks, organisations should implement measures such as regular inspections of infrastructure, climate control systems, and the implementation of redundancy for critical components. Ensuring the physical security of data centres is as essential as fortifying digital defences, as any compromise in the physical realm can have cascading effects on the overall cybersecurity posture.

Fortify digital defences by being prepared in advance

As winter envelops us in its icy embrace, it is essential to recognise the interconnectedness between snowy and cold weather conditions and the world of cyber security controls. By understanding the potential vulnerabilities introduced by inclement weather, organisations can adapt and fortify their digital defences, ensuring the continuity and resilience of their cyber security measures. From preparing for power outages to addressing the challenges of remote work during winter storms, a proactive approach to cyber security can help businesses navigate the frosty landscape of cyber threats with confidence.