Cybersecurity Risks and Solutions of Remote Working
In recent times, the popularity of remote work has been on the rise, offering employees increased flexibility and convenience. Furthermore, telecommuting contributes to cost savings for employers by reducing office-related expenses. Many also point out the advantages in productivity attributed to the reduced distractions in a remote work environment.
Recent research reveals a significant 56% increase in productivity for individuals working from home compared to those working in a traditional office setting. However, there are certain downsides to working remotely. It’s of utmost importance to acknowledge the cybersecurity vulnerabilities associated with remote and hybrid work. Monitoring the security of devices and networks becomes more challenging. Alarming statistics show that approximately 63% of businesses have encountered data breaches due to vulnerabilities stemming from remote employees.
This information doesn’t imply that one must compromise security to enjoy the benefits of remote work. Striking a balance is achievable. Being aware of cybersecurity issues and proactively addressing them is the key.
In the subsequent sections, we will delve into the primary cybersecurity risks linked with remote work, while also offering practical recommendations for both employees and employers to effectively tackle these concerns.
Weak Passwords and Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication
Employing inadequate passwords exposes accounts to the threat of unauthorised access. Moreover, the practice of using the same passwords for multiple accounts poses a significant cybersecurity hazard. Given that remote workers frequently connect to corporate systems, databases, and confidential data through a range of devices, the risk is heightened.
To counter this risk, it is imperative to establish robust and distinct passwords for each individual account. Additionally, whenever feasible, activating multi-factor authentication (MFA) is advised. MFA introduces an added layer of security by necessitating a secondary form of verification.
Companies have the option to implement access management systems, which automate the authentication procedure. Furthermore, deploying protective measures like contextual MFA can enhance security even further.
Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
Engaging in remote work frequently entails linking to various Wi-Fi networks, including public Wi-Fi hotspots or home networks that might lack sufficient security measures. These inadequately protected networks have the potential to make your sensitive information susceptible to cybercriminals.
To safeguard company data, it is recommended to utilise a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Activate the VPN whenever you connect to public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, guaranteeing the security of your data even when operating on untrusted networks.
Phishing attacks persist as a widespread menace, with remote workers being especially susceptible. Malevolent actors often dispatch deceitful emails or messages engineered to deceive users into divulging their login details or downloading harmful attachments.
To safeguard against phishing attacks, exercise prudence when accessing emails, particularly those originating from unfamiliar origins. Refrain from clicking on dubious links and take the initiative to validate the authenticity of the sender’s email address. Additionally, exercise caution regarding any appeals for sensitive information. If uncertainty arises, reach out to your IT support team to authenticate the legitimacy of the communication.
Insecure Home Network Devices
A multitude of remote workers utilise Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, encompassing items like intelligent speakers, residential security systems, and thermostats. However, these devices can introduce vulnerabilities to your home network when not adequately fortified.
To counteract this potential risk, it is imperative to alter the default passwords on your IoT devices and ensure they are kept up-to-date with the latest firmware versions. Additionally, mull over the notion of establishing a segregated network exclusively for your IoT devices. A designated “guest” network can effectively isolate these devices from your work-related equipment and data.
For employers seeking to enhance security among remote teams, the utilisation of an endpoint device manager such as Microsoft Intune or comparable solutions can prove beneficial. These tools streamline the process of overseeing security across a multitude of employee devices.
Lack of Security Updates
Consistently keeping your devices and software current is essential in upholding robust cybersecurity. Remote workers sometimes overlook these updates due to hectic schedules or a lack of awareness. Malicious actors frequently capitalise on loopholes in outdated software to illicitly infiltrate systems.
To counteract this potential hazard, it is advisable to activate automatic updates for both devices and software whenever feasible. Furthermore, make it a routine to routinely inspect for updates and promptly install them to guarantee the incorporation of the most recent security enhancements.
Data Backup and Recovery
Remote employees generate and manage a substantial volume of data, and the potential loss or corruption of this data can have dire consequences. It is imperative to establish a resilient strategy for data backup and recovery.
Safeguard your vital files by backing them up to a secure cloud storage platform or an external hard drive. This precaution guarantees that even if a malicious actor compromises a device, your data remains secure and can be promptly reinstated.
Insufficient Employee Training
Remote workers should undergo thorough cybersecurity training to equip themselves with an understanding of security vulnerabilities and optimal protocols. Regrettably, numerous companies overlook this vital component of cybersecurity, leaving their employees unaware of the potential hazards they could face.
It is incumbent upon organisations to furnish remote workers with comprehensive cybersecurity training that encompasses critical subjects including: • Discerning phishing emails • Formulating robust passwords • Detecting questionable online activities • Identifying emerging phishing techniques, such as SMS-based “smishing”
Get Help Improving Remote Team Cybersecurity
While remote work presents numerous advantages, it’s crucial to maintain a vigilant stance toward the corresponding cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Confront these risks proactively and implement the recommended precautions. If you require assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.
To enhance the effectiveness of your remote workforce in utilising Teams, consider enrolling in our Microsoft-led live webinar. This offers you the opportunity to glean insights from experts and pose your questions for a comprehensive learning experience.