Mitigating The Security Risks Posed By Remote Work
Remote working continues to become more prevalent in many businesses worldwide due to its perks and benefits for both the business owners and employees. But while working from home brings convenience and perks, it also poses a range of cyber security threats for businesses and individuals alike. Thus, remote workers and employers should give serious consideration and importance to cyber security solutions and practices to mitigate the risk of cyber threats while working at home.
What is cyber security?
For starters, cyber security is the method of protecting your computer networks, systems, and programs from cybercrimes and digital attacks. Cybercriminals commit cybercrimes to access, modify, delete, extort, or abuse any sensitive information they get from your systems, eventually interrupting or destroying your work outputs and the entire business operation. Implementing strict cyber security measures will protect your data and keep it safe from prying hackers and cyber attackers. (1)
What are the security risks?
Some of the security threats present when working remotely may include:
- Unsecure networks
Remote workers are required to provide themselves with strong internet connections to complete their jobs. Workers who have trouble connecting to strong internet connections at home tend to work in public places like cafes, coffee shops, or anywhere that offers strong public Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, using public networks for work is risky as most of them are unsecured and could cause data breaches and other security leaks. Thus, it’s best to consult a cyber security business that offers IT security services to help protect your devices from unsecured public networks. (2)
- Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks remain the most common strategy hackers use to illegally access your confidential information. Cybercrimes would often disguise their emails or messages with fake charity, fake tax, or correspondence to lure remote workers into opening the content. (2)
- Computer sharing
Sharing your work computer or laptop with your roommates or family members also poses a security risk, especially if you regularly handle sensitive data about your clients. Thus, everyone is recommended to use separate devices for personal and work use.
- Insecure mobile devices
Many remote workers also use their mobile devices when doing some of their work tasks. Unfortunately, insecure mobile devices could also be an easy target for phishing attacks.
How do you mitigate the security risks?
Implementing forceful cybersecurity measures is becoming more challenging today as cybercriminals are also growing more sophisticated and innovative. Thankfully, people can still do many things to ensure both employers and remote workers can work at home safely and securely.
- Use internet security software at home
One of the most crucial cyber security tips you must remember when working remotely is investing in network security services like Optus internet security suite and antivirus for your work devices. Installing comprehensive internet security software will automatically keep you protected against any security threats like:
- Phishing scams
- Spyware, ransomware, malware, and viruses
- Trojans and worms
Furthermore, these antivirus security suites can automatically update themselves to ensure your device’s security protection is up-to-date.
- Use a VPN
If you have to use a public network (but, if possible, it’s best to avoid it), you’re recommended to use a virtual private network (VPN). A business VPN will help redirect internet traffic through your organization’s private network, ensuring remote workers can use the same security as the office employees. (3)
You can also enhance VPN security by using a stronger and stricter authentication method. Instead of the typical username and password, you can use smart cards. A VPN smart card is a digital certificate that offers user-level authentication without using a username or password. Your trusted computer security service or enterprise security services may help you configure smart cards for your VPN. (2) (3)
- Pay attention to your email security
Emailing is an essential communication tool used between colleagues or customers. However, emails are also among the easiest places for hackers and cybercriminals to attack and access your confidential data. (4)
Thus, here are some security tips to help protect your email accounts:
- Remember only to access your emails through your company VPN. For freelance remote workers, check that your VPN is fully patched.
- Ensure your work devices and email accounts are encrypted by cyber security services to protect your email data from being accessed or stolen. Email encryption works by messing up the original content of your email to make it unreadable. The actual content can only be accessed and revealed with authentication from the intended recipient. So, if cybercriminals try to access your emails, they won’t be able to read or steal them.
- Aside from using complex passwords, it’s also ideal to enable two-factor authentication to tighten up your email’s access points.
Most importantly, beware of phishing attacks, and remember never to open suspicious emails.
- Keep your work devices away from other users
Whether you’re a work-at-home employer or employee, it’s imperative that you keep your work devices away from your roommates, friends, or family members, especially children. This is to prevent any sensitive work-related data from being used or accessed by the wrong users, potentially resulting in data breaches. You must also avoid using your work devices for personal use. Set aside separate computers or laptops for your work and personal use. (4)
- Secure your home Wi-Fi
One of the simplest ways to practice cyber security is to secure your internet connection at home. Aside from forming a strong and intricate password for your Wi-Fi, change your SSID to make it tougher for third parties to access your Wi-Fi network. Preferably, avoid using your name, home address, or any information related to you. (2) (4)
Because remote working is increasingly being implemented worldwide, cyber security measures for remote workers should also be prioritized to minimize the risk of cyber security attacks. These cyber security practices mentioned can help organizations, businesses, and individuals stay safe and secure when doing work online.
Secure your hybrid workplace today
with Kaine Mathrick Tech
- “What Is Cybersecurity? Definition And Best Practices”, Source: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurity
- “Tips For Avoiding Remote Work Security Risks”, Source: https://www.wrike.com/blog/tips-avoid-remote-work-security-risks/
- “5 Cybersecurity Risks Of Remote Workers”, Source: https://www.currentware.com/blog/5-cybersecurity-risks-of-remote-workers-how-to-mitigate-them/
- “Cybersecurity Risks”, Source: https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/threats/remote-working-how-to-stay-safe