Remote work has grown increasingly popular over time. Employees enjoy greater flexibility working from home while employers save costs through reduced office expenses. Telecommuting also decreases distraction levels resulting in higher productivity gains.
Research indicates that working from home reduces nonproductive time by 56% when compared with working in an office environment.
Working away from the office does have its downsides; remote and hybrid work poses serious cybersecurity risks that are difficult to monitor. 63% of companies have reported data breaches caused by remote workers.
Working remotely doesn't have to compromise your security
You can find the ideal balance. Be mindful of cybersecurity concerns and take measures to address them as necessary.
We will explore some of the most pressing cybersecurity threats associated with remote working and provide tips for employees and employers on how to mitigate these risks.
1. Weak Passwords and Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication
Weak passwords put accounts at risk. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts poses further security threats for remote workers accessing sensitive company databases and systems on various devices.
To minimize risk, it's best to create unique passwords for every account and use strong ones that require multiple verification steps - multi-factor verification (MFA). MFA adds another layer of protection as it requires another verification step before access can be granted.
Employers can set up access management systems that automate authentication. Furthermore, contextual MFA can also be deployed.
2. Unsecured Wireless Networks Remote
Workers frequently connect to multiple wireless networks when working remotely. Public hotspots and home networks that may not provide sufficient protection may expose sensitive information to hackers.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure the data of your company, even when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks or ones not protected by VPNs. A VPN encrypts internet traffic so data remains safe even on untrustworthy networks.
3. Phishing Attacks
Remote workers can be particularly susceptible to phishing attacks. Perpetrators send misleading emails or SMS texts designed to fool recipients into divulging their login credentials or downloading harmful attachments from websites.
Be wary when opening emails from unknown sources to avoid potential phishing attacks and avoid clicking suspicious links or opening suspicious attachments. Verify the email address of the sender before accepting anything sent via this route.
Be wary of requests for sensitive data. If unsure, check with your IT team to validate any communication received.
4. Vulnerabilities in Home Network Devices Internet of Things
Devices are being utilized by remote workers across many industries; smart speakers, home security systems, and thermostats are examples. When not secured properly these devices can present vulnerabilities within your network.
Change the default passwords on all of your Internet of Things devices to reduce this risk, and ensure they have updated firmware. Also consider creating a separate IoT network or guest network in which to connect all of these devices; such an arrangement could provide greater isolation from workplace data and devices.
Employers can leverage endpoint device managers like Microsoft Intune or similar programs to increase the security of remote teams. These devices enable employers to easily manage multiple device security.
5. Lack of Security Updates
Regular software and device updates are key to maintaining strong cybersecurity, especially for remote workers who may neglect them due to busy schedules or unawareness. Cybercriminals exploit outdated software vulnerabilities for accessing unauthorised systems.
To mitigate risk, if possible, set your devices and software updates on automatic update mode. Regularly check for updates; make sure that any security patches available have been applied as soon as possible.
6. Data Backup and Recovery
Remote workers produce and manage large volumes of sensitive information that could easily become corrupted. Therefore, it is crucial that they develop and implement an effective data backup and recovery strategy.
Make sure that all of your important files are backed up on an encrypted cloud storage service or external hard disk, in case a hacker breaches your device and tries to gain access. With backups in place, data restoration should be straightforward if an attacker compromises your device.
7. Employees Lack Training
Remote workers require proper cybersecurity training. This enables them to better understand security risks as well as best practices; unfortunately, many companies overlook this aspect of cybersecurity training and their employees remain unaware of potential threats.
Remote workers should receive comprehensive cybersecurity training from their employers. The training should cover topics like:
- How to recognize Phishing E-mails
- Create Strong Passwords Recognizing Suspicious Online Behavior
- Phishing via SMS is a relatively new form of fraud.
Remote Work Comes with Advantages
Working remotely has its own set of advantages. However, you should remain cognizant of any cybersecurity risks to your team and take measures to address them as soon as possible. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance!
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