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Remote Working & Cyber Threats — Risks and Remedies

This guest blog was contributed by Shannon Flynn, Managing Editor of ReHack Magazine


Global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of gas have made working remotely the norm. Working from home has a lot of advantages, including cutting costs and staying safe. However, there are risks of working from home for employers that businesses might need to be made aware of.


Companies becoming more dependent on the internet might become more vulnerable to threat actors such as hackers. This is especially true of enterprises allowing employees to work remotely using their own computers.


Remote Working Vulnerabilities


Cyber attacks are a legitimate threat. Studies show the rate of cyber attacks on businesses and government agencies has increased by 38% since 2021 and is still growing.


Yet, many organizations do not invest in cybersecurity measures. The more a company relies on the internet, the greater the risk of a cyber attack — and the worse the aftermath can be. This is especially true if many of that business’s employees work remotely.


Remote working vulnerabilities usually result from the employee’s little to no awareness of cybersecurity practices or the lack of cybersecurity measures on an employee’s workstation. This can be especially true if remote employees use their personal computers for work instead of a workstation provided by the company. Therefore, learning how to maintain security when employees work remotely is essential to keeping a business secure and reducing the risk of a data breach.


How to Maintain Security for Remote Workers


There are many things enterprises can do to improve their cybersecurity and reduce the number of remote working vulnerabilities.


Remote Workstations


One of the best practices to ensure security is to issue remote workstations to employees rather than let them use their personal computers to access company systems. An employee’s personal computer might not have up-to-date cybersecurity programs, making it and the company vulnerable to hackers.


Remote workstations ensure all employees use the same workstations with the same level of security. Administrators also have more control over what these workstations can access — such as limiting the ability to visit websites irrelevant to work. This can significantly decrease the number of remote working vulnerabilities.


Cybersecurity Training


Training employees on good cybersecurity practices and enforcing security policies will go a long way to reducing the risks of working from home for employers. Over 40% of workers have made errors that led to cybersecurity issues. Recognizing the most common forms of cyber attacks — such as phishing emails and messages — is essential for employees working from home.


Employees should be trained to tell if an email comes from a fake or unrecognized address, and to report such emails and messages. In addition, security policies such as creating strong passwords should be enforced. Employees should be briefed on the dangers of visiting suspicious websites and clicking on web advertisements using their work PC.


Investing in Cybersecurity Solutions


Of course, investing in the most up-to-date cybersecurity programs is the best way to maintain security when employees work remotely. While firewall programs and password security can still reduce the likelihood of cyber attacks, multi-factor authentication is the new standard in cybersecurity.


Multi-factor authentication uses a “token” system that requires a mobile device such as a phone to be a receiver. Accessing the system will cause the program to send a code to the receiver — the user will then enter the code on the mobile device. Codes are only used only once — they then become inactive, so hackers cannot use them.


How to Maintain Security When Employees Work Remotely


Maintaining security when employees work remotely is essential for any business. Investing in cybersecurity solutions and training remote staff on good security practices can reduce the risks of working from home for employers.


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