With the overnight transition to remote working, cybersecurity has taken a backseat for many employees. It is found that employees are less vigilant about security in their home offices. What’s worse, 14% of employees weren’t supplied with any tech during this shift. Some of them even pay for their own cybersecurity.
It’s clear that many have switched to remote work without realizing the dangers of working from home without proper security. Today, we’re over a year into this huge transition but the question still remains – how do you maintain security when employees work remotely?
Let’s look at some major remote work security challenges and how to combat them and work securely from home.
Remote Work Security Challenges:
According to a survey by VPNoverview, 48.3% of remote employees had faced a phishing/cybersecurity attack at least once and more than 40% of these remote employees experienced data breaches and/or related consequences from the attack. In addition, hackers have used the pandemic to play on people’s emotions and fears with covid-themed attacks.
Online Collaboration App Attacks
Since phishing attacks are largely known to be an email threat, people believe that they cannot be victims of phishing attacks on other platforms such as online collaboration apps. Cybercriminals have leveraged this misconception to attack users on non-email platforms such as Teams and Zoom for phishing.
Even though Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are meant to secure one’s online browsing experience, they enable hackers by hiding their identity online. The first quarter of 2021 saw an increase in the number of VPN attacks. If you use a vulnerable VPN with exploitable weaknesses, your data could easily end up in the wrong hands.
Companies may secure your laptops; however, they don’t cover your home Wi-Fi networks. In-office setups usually have firewalls to detect malicious activity and monitor traffic, which home networks don’t have. Additionally, home router software is not updated often, creating security gaps.
Weak and repeated passwords make it extremely easy for hackers to hack your accounts and access sensitive information.
Unencrypted File Sharing
Employees share numerous files with sensitive information daily and these files are not always encrypted while in transit. If these files are intercepted by hackers, it could lead to data breaches and cyber-attacks like ransomware attacks.
Using Personal Devices
As employees can now work from anywhere, some of them use personal or mobile devices to complete work-related tasks. These devices lack the security controls that official devices have such as antivirus software, regular and automatic backups, strong security policies and so on. Therefore, they can significantly increase the chances of being hacked.
Cloud Security Threats
The pandemic called for a quick shift to the cloud infrastructure for many businesses. However, cloud adoption poses unique security challenges which remain a central issue for businesses today.
So, how do you keep data secure when employees are working from home?
Security Tips for Remote Working
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is one of the most effective ways to ensure online privacy. It encrypts the data generated by the user’s web traffic, making it extremely difficult for hackers to steal data and harm people’s privacy. However, VPNs can also be hacked if the design is flawed and lacks adequate security controls. So, make sure that you do your research and choose a high-quality VPN provider with strong encryption capabilities so that you’re not at risk of a data breach.
2. Use an Anti-Phishing Software
Anti-phishing software can provide you with real-time protection against phishing scams. They scan incoming emails for malicious links and attachments and intercept them before they reach your inbox. They also scan the links you click and add extra measures to your email signatures.
3. Secure Home Networks
Ensure your home Wi-Fi is secured with a firewall and update your router software regularly.
4. Use A Next-Generation Firewall
Deploy an intelligent, next-generation, and cloud-based firewall like AppTrana with managed risk-based protection and behavioural analytics to provide a secure work-from home experience for your employees.
5. Follow Video Call/Online Collaboration Protocol
Online collaboration apps like Teams and Zoom facilitate virtual meetings with teammates from different locations. These meetings are however susceptible to attacks. Always protect your meetings with passwords, and never share links to these meetings. It is advisable to use the in-app invite feature to invite members to the call. Remember to always keep all your apps updated regularly.
6. Refrain from Using Personal Devices for Work
It is very difficult for organizations to secure personal devices as it involves navigating through the personal privacy of an employee. When you use a personal device for work, it contains sensitive company information. If one of these devices is lost or stolen, all of this information could be easily accessed by a hacker due to the lack of security controls on the device. Furthermore, numerous, unrestricted app downloads can easily lead to malware infection and put the company data at risk.
7. Build A Strong Cybersecurity Program
Most importantly, develop a strong cybersecurity program in your organization to stay aware of your weaknesses and build your defences appropriately. Establish a remote work security policy to educate employees on the remote access security best practices to be followed while working from home.
In addition to the abovementioned tips, make sure to follow basic security requirements like strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and data encryption at rest and in transit to stay fully protected from threats.
Working from home is a change that is not going away any time soon. However, it has been an overwhelming change with many challenges. Reach out to cybersecurity experts like Indusface to securely grow your business while you work from anywhere in the world.