Information systems (IS) and technology play a pivotal role in the course of COVID-19 and the multiple aspects that the pandemic encompasses. Technology became a primary focus and a supporting point in finding a proper cure, maintaining the functioning of the supply chains, and allowing businesses to find new approaches to operating during the unprecedented upheaval. The key challenges in IS management are deeply grounded in the “behavioral, societal, and organizational aspects of such technologies” (Ågerfalk, Conboy & Myers, 2020, p. 3). Therefore, the proper implementation of IS and associated challenging aspects will define ultimate success in the global pandemic battle. Considering that time serves as a determining factor in the COVID-19 pandemic, it also represents one of the most critical challenges in managing information systems. MIS faces the additional risk of data leakage and loss by keeping the data beyond the business walls. With that said, addressing the additional security risks of the coronavirus pandemic within information systems is a critical challenge that has to be resolved.
Defining the MIS Issue
It is important to note that information systems are fundamental to the pandemic response. Such a major public health situation made the information systems play a crucial role in managing data and other related information as fast as the situation requires. The increased focus on security risks should be the main emphasis during COVID-19. Information systems provide prompt and coordinated data access and sharing and promote prioritizing care, access, and response, particularly for those affected by the virus (Ågerfalk, Conboy & Myers, 2020). The pandemic outbreak determines employees’ mindsets that the new collaboration software IT facilitated, as well as the changes the workers are forced to make in their daily routine. The international crisis made information systems and technologies more vulnerable to various cyber-attacks, which raises the question of security as of the utmost priority.
A significant number of mid-market IT organizations currently address the increased security incidents given that online users are becoming victims to the enhanced phishing and malware threats. According to Aladenusi (2020), enterprise virtual private network (VPN) servers became essential supporting systems for companies and educational facilities, considering that many employees started working from home, and students are involved in virtual learning. As such, VPN servers’ security and availability are a major focus in the current IS management. The digital security risk is increased due to coronavirus-related scams and phishing campaigns. There are also reported ransomware cases, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting hospitals (OCED, 2020). Among the key cyber-security risks during COVID-19, the most important are phishing and business email compromise attacks, malware distribution, remote work and supply chain threats, and enhanced vulnerability due to lack of awareness (ICC, 2020). These challenges use the coronavirus pandemic as bait and, thus, intensify stress on cybersecurity controls.
Resolving the MIS Challenge: Proposing a Solution
The global information systems departments are obliged to deal with the increased infrastructure, user support, and critical security needs. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, data are vital to understand the disease occurrence and develop the national policy. Information systems are required for implementing appropriate responses to the pandemic, including resource allocation, to deliver medical care. Data gathered by such systems is needed to design proper models to forecast the future progress of the pandemic (Ågerfalk, Conboy & Myers, 2020). More specifically, data received from the health information systems are the inherent element of the country’s response, which highlights its international relevance.
However, the emerging cybercrimes, the spread of misinformation, and fake news through social media pose serious concerns for the global infodemic. Following the ideas of Whitfield (2020), coronavirus-themed phishing threats are marked by increased prevalence. The main trojan strategies imply engaging employees with suspicious material by pretending to be important updates, financial rescue packages, or emergency benefits. For this reason, one should develop a remote working culture involving the best information technology practice. The organizations should also provide periodic cybersecurity training combined with regular updates and reminders. Individual practices regarding cyber-security are based on incorporating strong passwords or using two-factor authentication. It is also important to use hardware with the latest anti-virus and firewall software. Another critical solution to address the jeopardized security challenge is to backup all critical systems.
With regard to heightened security risks, companies should learn to identify cybersecurity threats and develop appropriate strategies to manage their information systems efficiently. This is a particularly crucial approach during the pandemic crisis, which is considered part of its business continuity plans. Leading organizations should ensure the safety and reliability of the VPN services applied and avoid personal computers for official targets. Furthermore, in terms of COVID-19-related communications, the proposed digital security “hygiene” measures play a fundamental role in maintaining robust IS security control.
Governments must control the cyber threat landscape and provide accessible guidelines for digital security strategies for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Based on the analysis of the potential IS challenge during a pandemic, enhancing technological infrastructure, improving data security, preventing unauthorized access to patient information, and guaranteed data are the main priority in MIS. As a result, one can achieve significant progress in eliminating current health inequities at all levels of care and promote adequate strategies to address the worldwide health crisis.
Ågerfalk, P. J., Conboy, K., & Myers, M. D. (2020). Information systems in the age of pandemics: COVID-19 and beyond. European Journal of Information Systems, 1–5. Web.
Aladenusi, T. (2020). COVID-19’s impact on cybersecurity. Deloitte.
ICC, International Chamber of Commerce (2020). COVID-19: Cyber security threats to MSMEs. Web.
Whitfield, B. (2020). How to minimize the risk of insider threats (physical and cyber) during COVID-19. Security, Web.