While the pandemic has brought on a lot of changes, one change that may not be obvious is the exponential increase in cyber-crime. Canadian Security reports that cyber attacks have increased for 99% of Canadian organizations over the past 12 months. Forcing every business to make cyber security for work from home setups a top priority.
After all, IBM calculated that the average data breach costs about $3.86 million. Coupled with how lucrative a successful hack can be for the attacker with a surfeit of new vulnerabilities opening up as workers migrated to work-from-home configurations, it’s no wonder that the security risk has gone up in 2021.
All this serves to make cyber security for remote work of paramount importance for businesses both large and small.
Below, we’ll identify the most common vulnerabilities for cyber security work from home setups and security measures you can implement in your employees’ remote work environment so that you can save your business from being victimized by a devastating cyber attack.
People Remain the #1 Vulnerability With Cyber Security for Remote Work
It may come as a surprise, but many of the remote work information security vulnerabilities have nothing to do with the computer at all – they have to do with your remote workers themselves.
You have your classic phishing and email scams (you’ve certainly received an email before from a questionable source asking you to click a suspicious link) which have increased in number over the course of COVID-19.
Another threat to your employees’ cyber security work from home setups is what is known as ‘social engineering’. That’s essentially jargon for using human error to find a way into a network or database.
While these were issues before the global lockdown, with a remote work setup, workers have less oversight and generally are more able to access their personal emails, which are generally less secure.
What’s more, many people are using their personal devices for work now, increasing breach vulnerabilities.
A common tactic is to call a phone carrier and convince them to assign the target’s phone number to a new phone (known as SIM-swapping). With that number in hand, they can use it to gain access to social media, email accounts, Google accounts, etc., and anywhere else that number is listed as part of a two-factor authentication system.
In a remote virtual work environment and many people now using their personal computers – with their personal emails only a tab away – these attacks are proliferating.
VPNs Can’t Guarantee Computer Security for Remote Work
With workers using personal devices spread over hundreds or even thousands of home wi-fi networks, many businesses are turning to virtual private networks (VPNs), as they are encrypted and offer an extra level of security for sensitive data.
Problem is, they’re not a panacea; if a hacker is able to steal login credentials for a VPN, they are able to get deep access into the network themselves. What’s more, any computers that are already affected by malware won’t benefit from getting a VPN after the fact. Strong endpoint integrity verification and authentication still need to be in place to ensure that your IT is protected.
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Endpoints and Mobile Matter When It Comes to Remote Work Security
With the expanding number of endpoints your IT security team has to monitor, and as people move to home networks, it makes remote work security that much more difficult to enforce.
What’s more, detection and response is difficult in the best of times on people’s mobile devices, as they are loaded up with personal apps that you have no control over without distributing dedicated-work mobile devices to each of your workers .
The Physical Aspect of Remote Work Cyber Security
By definition, cyber security work from home setups are at least somewhat mobile. Many people, in fact, prefer using laptops over desktops these days because it allows them to work from anywhere rather than be confined in their home offices for months on end. But this increased mobility and convenience creates further dangers.
Not all cyberattacks, after all, involve algorithms and encryptions and networks; some can resort to good ol’ fashion theft to gain entry into your database.
If your employee is working at a coffee shop, for instance, and loses sight of their computer, your company’s network would become instantly vulnerable should the proper protections not be in place.
Mitigation techniques include:
- Automatic locking policies
- Drive encryption
- Proximity locking
Best Practices for Cyber Security Work From Home Setups
Establish Remote Work Security Policy
It’s always been good practice to have a mobile device and remote working policy in place – during the pandemic, it’s virtually essential.
While remote work environment benefits are plentiful (happier employees, work flexibility, productivity boosts, no more traffic!), there are also many threats.
Crafting a comprehensive policy that informs your employees how to keep their devices safe (and enforcing said policy) goes a long way towards alleviating many of those remote work security concerns.
Provide Training for Employees on Remote Work IT Security
Since your employees are the most likely entry point for assailants, it makes sense to have cyber security awareness training disseminated throughout your business. From executives to new employees, they should have a general understanding of:
- Email best practices when clicking links and downloading files
- How to keep physical hardware safe from theft
- Password best practices (creation and storage)
- Public network and public wi-fi best practices (i.e. avoid them)
- Software update best practices
- Web surfing best practices
Those are just a few of the remote work security tips that your employees need to be trained up on.
Multi-Factor Identification Supports Remote Work Network Security
You can easily bolster your remote work and network security by instituting multi-factor authentication. These are essentially extra steps to logging in like answering a security question or submitting a code that was sent to your phone. Remote work security best practices demand that multi-factor authentication be standard across the company. This will at the very least make any stolen login and password useless to a hacker.
Business Continuity Planning, Backup, and Disaster Recovery as Necessary Cyber Security for remote Work Contingencies
You can have the most cutting-edge, most robust array of information security for remote work, and you still may be the victim of a cyberattack. But if you take time to form a business continuity plan as well as establish data backups and disaster recovery plans, then you’ll be provided for in any eventuality, ensuring your business’s IT safety.
Work With Fusion Computing for All Your Remote Work and Network Security Needs
For many businesses, they had to go from asking ‘what is a remote work environment’ to becoming experts on the subject in a matter of months.
But you don’t have to face these challenges alone.
Fusion Computing is an industry leader that will provide the latest cyber security monitoring tools and solutions, all from an experienced team of IT and cyber specialists. We will proactively monitor your network and endpoints to detect and resolve security breaches before they can impact your business – even ones that originate from work-from-home setups.
If you want peace of mind that your business is safe from cyberthreats, contact the experts at Fusion Computing today for a FREE cyber security consultation.