How to Maintain Cybersecurity in the Remote Work Era
Work from home setups are here to stay, and so are the accompanying risks. Prioritizing security risk assessment can help companies reduce cyber threats.
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While adapting to the current global crisis, businesses had to rapidly transition to a remote workforce to meet customer demands through digital channels. However, this sudden transformation to remote operations presented a whole new challenge of cyber risks. While working remotely, employees may be using home computers to log in to company networks and access confidential information, relying on home internet networks instead of the company's secured network. For remote workers, the importance of cloud infrastructure has increased. They may also be using third-party apps to stay connected with others. And since a work-from-home setup, unlike an office environment, may be slightly more relaxed when it comes to data security, the users are not vigilant enough for cyber risk.
Cybersecurity Risk in a Remote Work Setup
- Using unsecured endpoint devices: This makes the system more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
- Personal use of laptops: Employees are using office laptops for personal use like opening personal emails, shopping sites, or any social sites which may put company data at stake.
- Lack of physical security: This could take place by leaving the laptop open or leaving the device in an open car.
- Phishing attack: There are more chances of phishing attacks while working remotely as compared to work in an organizational environment.
- File sharing: Many companies encrypt their files while storing or transferring in their network but that's not possible for remote employees.
How to Protect Against a Security Threat While Working Remotely
When it comes to protection against security threats while working remotely, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. There are lots of measures organizations need to take to secure their employees. Let’s look more closely at the measures that should be taken to secure remote employees from cyber threats:
- Offer cybersecurity training: According to a report, organizations are at more risk for cyber threats because of remote employees. So, education is the tool that empowers them to work securely. As a result, it is more important that there should be training sessions for employees to raise awareness regarding the latest cyber threat. This training should ensure that employees are taking appropriate steps to avoid any cyber risk. Employees should know how to identify the suspicious activity on the device and what primary steps should be taken before raising a ticket to the company's security department.
- Use VPN connections: As compared to office networks, home networks are more easy targets for attackers. If your employees are working remotely, organizations should ensure that employees must have VPN while accessing company email, files, and other systems. VPN allows you to work freely from home without having any threat of cyber attack. It helps to protect data and keeps the connection private and secure.
- Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the most important ways to boost your security. According to a report, MFA prevents 99.9% of cyber attacks. Enabling multi-factor authentication stops hackers from logging into your accounts in case the password has been compromised. It could help in reducing an organization's vulnerability.
- Secure the endpoints: Unsecured endpoints are the easiest targets of attack. Around 70% of breaches originate from unsecured endpoints. To secure the endpoint, employees should not connect to any public network. They should use reliable and trusted security tools like malware scanners, firewalls, etc. They need to keep their devices patched and updated.
- Create advanced passwords: As cyber threats are increasing every day, it's important to maintain password hygiene. It's an efficient way to get protected from attackers. Numerous reports highlight the fact that many users using weak passwords — like phrases that personally relate to them, birthdays, or any simple combination — are more vulnerable to attack. They should use a strong combination of passwords, like combinations of lowercase, uppercase, punctuation, numbers, and special characters. To enhance the password layer, companies should require a periodic password change.
- Create data backups: Data backup is an essential part of running a business. From cyberattacks to human error, many cases can cause data loss. Data backup gives you additional security in case you are not able to access your data. A reliable cloud application for data backup can save your business.
- Using firewall: Firewall is an intelligence premier defense. It will provide you intrusion protection, malware blocking, and application control. It also offers secure remote access so that employees can access files safely.
The last year changed our way of living from personal to professional. During this period, several organizations faced cyber attacks. Having a remote workforce increases the financial burden on companies' cybersecurity infrastructure. Since remote working might be a permanent mode of operation given the circumstances, companies need to assess security risks on priority. By taking preventive measures and being aware of possible risks, companies can reduce cyber threats significantly.
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