“…when people have the chance to work flexibly, 87 percent of them take it. This dynamic is widespread across demographics, occupations, and geographies.” – McKinsey
The forced shift to remote working at the start of 2020 opened up a business model that had been in the pipeline for some time. For many companies, it highlighted the need and cost savings for both employees and employers, with the ‘post-Covid’ era now characterised by more flexible working arrangements. However, one of the concerns related to this system of working is the cybersecurity risks associated with the use of different devices in different spaces. Here’s a look at the risks and potential solutions to these.
What are some of the risks?
As with any internet-based interaction, working remotely can pose some serious threats to users, particularly when sensitive information is being handled. Some of the common threats regarding remote working include:
1. The use of personal devices
Certain businesses have adopted a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy that allows employees to work from their home laptops, tablets or smartphones. This might be saving the company money – at a cost to the employee – but it’s putting the company at significant risk. You can’t be assured they have the best security measures in place to protect sensitive company information.
2. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks
Working at a coffee shop has its charm, but employees are often forced to use unsecured Wi-Fi networks that put their data at risk. Hackers will be readily on hand to take advantage of this security issue and access confidential information.
3. Poor password practice
We know that remembering passwords is one of technology’s biggest pains, but weak passwords that aren’t changed frequently enough really place online information at risk. Human error is often the biggest security risk for remote working and this is something that cybercriminals will hone in on. Using a weak password across several accounts is also dangerous as, once the password is cracked, everything is exposed.
4. Unsafe file sharing
You can’t get around the fact that employees will have to share files. The problem is when they’re sharing files while working remotely as these can easily be intercepted. This then leads to identify fraud, theft, ransomware attacks, and more which could be hugely damaging to your business.
What are security solutions?
There are so many cybersecurity solutions, and obviously, the more they are implemented, the better it is for remote working. Providing employees with work devices and encouraging good password protection is vital, but it’s really worth liaising with security experts who can guide you on the best software for your needs. Here are some of the most common.
– Firewall protection
A firewall is an effective way to prevent unauthorised access into your network, which makes your employee’s devices that much safer. The firewall will keep a constant monitor of all network traffic coming in and out of the device, blocking threats where needed. These are suited to small, medium or large businesses and allow for better flexibility and remote working.
– Endpoint security
This is where the software actually secures the end- or entry points of devices including desktops, laptops and mobile devices, protecting networks from any security threats. This is more modern antivirus software that provides comprehensive protection from sophisticated malware that continues to evolve.
– Server or network security
Unlike end-to-end security, network or server security protects against threats reaching the endpoint. They will find and block threats as a way to protect data and resources on the servers. These are often targeted by cybercriminals as they contain sensitive information to be exploited, which is why this form of security is important for remote working.
– Email security
There are various forms of email security to protect employees’ accounts, content and communication as email is often targeted by malware, spam and phishing attacks. This form of security is vital for businesses of all sizes, working remotely or not, as email remains a high-risk item.
– Multi-factor authentication
You can also implement multi-factor authentication on your work devices so that there’s an additional layer of security for a remotely operating workforce. You can also ensure employees use a password manager so that they don’t have to remember various passwords for all work-related accounts.
– VPN connections
To address the threat of unsecured networks, you can get your employees to work off the company’s VPN for that additional layer of security. This way, anyone who tries to intercept your company’s data won’t be able to read as it’s all encrypted.
To find out more about the latest in cybersecurity for your remote workforce, get in touch with ECN today.