The Lighthouse IT Podcast - May 22nd, 2020
This week, Matt and Griffin focus on reviewing topics that continue to appear in all industries, as well as specific ones. Since digital security impacts everyone, if you’re not careful, you could end up being the direct link to a company-wide hack! But on a more positive note, how are marketing and sales efforts looking as businesses begin to reopen and how can we make use of sales tools to hit that bullseye for our goals this year?
CISA & FBI public service announcement
No surprise to the security industry, but COVID-19 infections reach far beyond infecting people... On May 13th, CISA and the FBI issued a public service announcement warning organizations researching COVID-19 that they will likely be the targets of attempted network compromise by the People's Republic of China and is recommending companies in these sectors to take additional precautions and report suspicious activities to CISA.
CARES ACT EXPLOITATION
A Nigerian cybergang is believed to largely involved in the orchestration of fraudulent unemployment applications designed to collect benefits issued by the US CARES Act. Using information purchased on the Dark Web and exploiting a convenience feature of Gmail in which dots do not affect a mailbox (but do appear unique to the state websites). This means that “johnsmith” and “john.smith” are the same user in Gmail's eyes, but would allow a scammer to submit 2 applications using the same account, coupled with stolen social security numbers and birth dates. Unfortunately, U.S. States are vulnerable because of the lack of necessary controls detect patterns that would normally filter out the bogus requests. Total losses could hit hundreds of millions of dollars according to an alert issued by the Secret Service.
Microsoft's Security Intelligence issued a warning about a massive campaign that is distributing a legitimate remote access tool called NetSupport Manager to unsuspecting victims via a COVID-19 themed spreadsheet. The spreadsheet claims to have data regarding the "horrific nature" of the coronavirus, in some instances citing the information as being from Johns Hopkins University. When the document is opened, a malicious macro will attempt to run, using the NetSupport tool to create a Remote Access Trojan, or RAT. It's a good reminder to not open documents from unsolicited emails or from senders that you were not expecting an attachment from - and always use extreme caution when enabling macros, especially if a document urges you to do so.
WFH STAFF UNDER-TRAINED
The effectiveness of these campaigns do not come as a surprise by many, given that extremely fast transition to Work-From-Home by employers during the pandemic has resulted in a lack of education and support from employers to the new remote workforce.
MSSPAlert reports that 75% of teleworkers lack security awareness training according to Kaspersky research. In this Work-From-Home group, 68% have stated that they use their own personal device to do work and that only 50% of those persons work for a company that has policies that regulate how personal devices are used.
Deal Pipelines Gain Positive Momentum in Mid-May
HubSpot has been aggregating data from their global customer base of 70k+ companies to understand how business metrics are shifting as the world grapples with the impact of COVID-19. Their goal is to help establish useful benchmarks to measure your business against and serve as an indicator of when changes to your marketing and sales approach should be made to meet new challenges.
Deals created and closed gain positive momentum as some industries and countries show encouraging performance towards mid-May.
- Almost all industries (COVID-19 DATA) have experienced an increase in deal creation during the week of May 11.
- Construction is up 17% above pre-COVID levels
- Sales teams return to calling, marketing metrics show strong engagement, and the demand on inbound channels remains high.
- The United States remains on par with global sales activity as the country begins to reopen its economy.
While this data is quite positive, sales teams still need to continue reinventing how they prospect.
- Use free software
- Get a live chat on your site
- Change you voice. (Lead with empathy)
- Consider whether online advertising is a fit for your business.
- Use interactive content like videos, polls, quizzes and more
- Start sending email blasts
- Check out Adapt 2020 - HS Webinar
And if you are reopening after being closed for so long, consider reevaluating how you market and conduct sales from the start.
- Identify your buyer personas and your target audience
- Remember that you can say no
- Consider training to stay ahead of the game
- Ensure that you are delighting your customers so that they keep coming back
- And maybe try to stir up business with current clients and even past customers