The year 2020 saw a dramatic shift in the workforce. Lockdowns and other restrictions made the office set-up less than ideal for the safety of employees. Likewise, traveling to and from work, especially on public transportation, poses considerable risk of contracting the virus. That said, the pandemic forced most companies to pivot their operations to adapt to the new normal and start thinking about remote work cybersecurity.
The rise of remote working is one of the most significant changes that resulted from COVID-19. The option to work from home soared across industries in 2020. During the thick of the pandemic, almost 50% of office-based companies shifted their operations to a remote setup. Working from home bolstered productivity and improved employee morale. Unfortunately, remote work is not without its drawbacks, especially as far as cybersecurity is concerned.
This article would explore remote work cybersecurity – the leading causes of data breaches, the safeguards to put in place, and the employee best practices.
Top Remote Work Cybersecurity Risks
Knowing the common cybersecurity vulnerabilities is the first step in protecting your network. Truth be told, not all threats are equal – but every single one can cause damage to your operations regardless of the extent. Here are the top remote security work cybersecurity risks to be wary of:
- Phishing Scams
Not all employees are prepared with a level of tech-savviness required to function in a remote work set-up. As such, they can be your biggest threat especially when it comes to phishing scams. Phishing scams are relatively uncomplicated. These risks that come in the form of an email aim to trick an employee into divulging sensitive information or personal login credentials to a hacker.
There are filters a business can use to protect their digital assets from phishing scams. However, this type of cybersecurity risk has become sophisticated over the years. A company’s best recourse is to provide remote work safety training to minimize the possibility of a successful phishing attack.
- Unencrypted File Sharing
Most businesses encrypt the data that is stored on their network. While this is a good cybersecurity practice, plenty does not consider the protection of a file while it is in the process of transfer. Encrypting documents during file sharing is essential to a protected remote work environment. Encryption should include but isn’t limited to emails and voicemails.
- Working from Unofficial Devices
One of the most significant limitations of working from home is forgoing access to company devices essential to operations. This includes printers, desk phones, and even fax machines. Having an official laptop is excellent; however, a computer isn’t as encompassing as a suite of secured office equipment at your fingertips. As such, it isn’t surprising how most employees use their personal devices to fit their needs.
Personal devices do not have the same level of encryption and protection official devices do. Using personal equipment can put the safety of a company’s digital assets at risk as they are more vulnerable to attacks.
Remote Work Cybersecurity Best Practices for Businesses
Working remotely provides plenty of benefits for businesses. Forgoing a physical location can be a money-saver. Likewise, as discussed earlier, research has shown that employees are far more productive working from the comforts of their homes. To truly enjoy all the benefits remote work has to offer, below are a few small work cybersecurity tips for businesses:
- Develop a Remote Work Cybersecurity Protocol
As a business owner amid a remote work transition, you need to emphasize data security as a priority to your employees.
Establishing a remote work cybersecurity policy is a clear and cut way to disseminate work-from-home guidelines your employees are required to adhere to. The policy should include the reason for the protocols, various threats to your digital assets, as well as an outline of actionable things employees can and cannot do as far as cybersecurity and remote working is concerned. It should also enumerate the ways an employee can report and tackle an attack.
- Impose Password Requirements and Two-Factor Authentication
Passwords are an effective way to protect your organization’s data. However, not everyone knows how to create solid passwords or take passwords seriously as a form of protection.
As part of your remote work cybersecurity policy, including instructions on how to develop a strong password, likewise, implement a two-factor authentication scheme to add another layer of defense to your security protocols.
- Encrypt File Transfer
Opting for encryption software that protects data beyond storage is also an intelligent way companies can safeguard their organizational assets. This type of software provides a company a means to protect information even in device theft or loss.
- Invest in the Basics: Firewalls, Antivirus Software, Anti-Malware
At present, there are plenty of cybersecurity products in the market. Nevertheless, having the basics, firewall, antivirus, and anti-malware, in every device is often enough to minimize instances of successful attacks. Again all official devices should have cybersecurity applications installed. This includes laptops as well as mobile phones and tablets.
Work from Home Cybersecurity Best Practices for Employees
As far as remote working and cybersecurity go, there is only so much a business can do to overlook their digital assets beyond the office. The brunt of the responsibility is with the employees themselves.
For one, employees should only choose to work in a location wherein they can use secure wifi connections. Using public WiFi is a considerable security risk since people outside your organization have access to the same network. Without a firewall between an employee and a possible hacker, a threat can become a successful attack in moments.
In the same way, it is never a good idea to use unofficial devices for work. Personal laptops and mobile phones aren’t equipped with the same level of protection. Even a quick email from a personal mobile device can pose a risk to a company’s network.
There is plenty of dissonance between remote working and cybersecurity. As a business owner, there are plenty of cybersecurity factors beyond your control, especially with your employees working from home.
Partnering with a tech-based security company that can provide you peace of mind is invaluable. SecureBrain’s automated cybersecurity solutions offer round-the-clock protection. To learn more about our services, do not hesitate to contact us today.