Remote Work and Cyber Security: Risks, Tips, and Best Practices

As boundaries between work and personal lives blur, organizations across the globe are experiencing a rise in cybersecurity risks as their workforces operate from home.

With employees conducting business at home it creates the perfect opportunity for cybersecurity breaches and threats.

To top it all off, new scams are targeting our basic instinct to survive during this pandemic, making it more critical than ever to find a way around the cybersecurity work from home threats your business may be dealing with.

Unfortunately, this has been an afterthought for most businesses as everyone was in such a hurry to shift to remote work, that our attention on remote security policies was passive at best.

Now is as good a time as any to understand the risks inherent to the remote work environment and find ways to diminish the impact on your business.

Here are a few significant hazards businesses need to address to succeed in cyber security in a work from home environment:

Remote Work and Cyber Security: Risks, Tips, and Best Practices

5 Common Risks with Remote Working

1. Weak Wi-Fi Security

In contrast to the traditional office environment where enterprise systems have advanced security controls, home Wi-Fi networks have weaker security protocols.

This may give hackers easier access to your company network, threatening your remote work network security.

2. Phishing Scams

More than 80% of reported security risks comprise of phishing attacks that are widely recognized as the top data breach threats for cybersecurity in remote work. And now more than ever, hackers are preying on COVID-19 vulnerabilities – leaving your employees more susceptible to these deceptive emails.

Targeting both work and personal emails, these emails claim to have valuable information in the attachments. Though seemingly legitimate, these attachments give hackers quick access to your devices when you click the attached links and documents.

With businesses losing $17,700 to phishing attacks every minute, this remote work security issue requires due diligence.

3. Insecure Passwords

Though obvious, simple passwords like “12345” are incredibly easy for hackers to guess, threatening your cybersecurity work-at-home measures.

Moreover, if this same password is used across multiple platforms, your employee is practically granting the hacker access to all their accounts – including their corporate logins.

In the remote virtual work environment, this only leaves you and your business vulnerable to data breaches and security challenges, further raising remote work security concerns.

4. VPN-Related Risks

As an added remote work IT security measure, many businesses are using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to extend encrypted networks to employees’ homes. Work Remote; Network Security

However, given that many home networks are malware-infected or have compromised hardware – hackers can easily exploit these for VPN termini staging attacks. This poses significant risks for your Work Remote Network Security.

5. Impersonation Risks During Video And Voice Calls

Given that many employees are having business conversations over the phone as well as video calls, a wide range of incredibly advanced video and voice manipulation technologies are being used to infiltrate enterprise systems – and commit fraud.

Remote Work Security – Best Practices

Here are some work-at-home cybersecurity guidelines so you and your employees can safely enjoy remote work environment benefits:

Keep Sensitive Data on Work Computers

It can be tempting to use personal devices for work, especially since you tend to be more comfortable using them. However, when ensuring remote work cybersecurity – this is a significant risk for you and your company.

A key aspect of your remote work security policy is to make it mandatory for employees to use work apps and software only.

Your managed IT service provider should offer cyber security solutions that include regular updates, antivirus scans, blocks malicious websites, as well as other core services. This will help the company stay safe from data breaches and mitigate extensive corporate damages.

It might be a good idea to let employees take work devices with them if need be. This way, they can work online and avoid downloading and synching files to personal devices.

Moreover, you can also minimize your usage of non-company USB drives on your work devices and try using more secure cloud storage to avoid data breaches or accidental data loss.

Encrypt Your Email Content To Protect Sensitive Data

Sending sensitive data via email is always going to put you and your business at risk – leaving the possibility of third-party interception of information security remote work.

Therefore, reinforce your remote work security policy by encrypting your email attachments that can prevent unintended recipients from accessing your email contents.

Consequently, in the case of theft, ensure your devices have all stored data encrypted. Encryption can protect your connections and data; should your devices be stolen.

Enable Multifactor Authentication For Added Security

MFA (Multifactor Authentication) is a security system that requires more than one type of authentication from end-users.

While proper password etiquette is a must when it comes to creating business passwords, enabling two-factor authentication for your business adds an additional layer of protection.

Some examples of multifactor authentication include a combination of authentication techniques to tackle remote work information security:

  • Answers to personal security questions
  • Codes generated by smartphone apps
  • Soft tokens, certificates
  • Badges, USB devices, or other physical devices
  • Codes sent to an email address
  • Facial recognition
  • Risk score
  • Behavioral analysis

Computer Security And Remote Work: Secure Your VPN Connections

Your business must have regular end-point integrity checking as well as robust identity verification once VPNs are online and active.

Moreover, you should talk to your vendors and set plans for failovers and patching. Contacting your hardware or software providers to ensure configurations and policies are in order, starting with the VPN, end-point, and identity solutions.

The Bottom Line

Organizations need to revise their approach to cybersecurity to align it with our remote work security tips in this newly defined reality of our modern society.

By 2020, roughly 200 billion devices will be connected in the U.S. alone, so there is increasing pressure to ensure work from home cybersecurity for every smartphone, laptop and tablet that’s connected to a corporate network.

This makes it important to conduct virtual training sessions for your team members, so you can educate your employees on what to do in case they encounter cyber threats.