Isometric looks at the top cybersecurity threats of working from home – and how your business can avoid a data breach.
Working from Home
Security threats you might not have thought about
While 2020 will always be remembered for the global pandemic, it will also be the year businesses were forced to embrace remote work. For many, there was no other option, so team meetings were replaced with Zoom calls and the use of online productivity tools spiked.
But, in the mad dash to support remote work, there was one less obvious but critical challenge – the cybersecurity risks of working from home. Here are the most significant threats your organisation should look for:
- Unsecure home Wi-Fi connections
One of the most immediate threats is poor internet network security at your employees’ homes. Even with the secure hardware (laptops and devices) you’ve provided, many people don’t have a firewall to guard their home network from malicious activity. Similarly, routers that aren’t updated won’t have security gaps patched, posing a risk to your company data.
- Connecting your networks on personal devices
Next, there’s the issue of accessing work networks and systems on personal devices that aren’t set up with business security in mind. A recent survey found that 32% of office workers have used their personal laptops to access business networks or servers since the start of the pandemic. Personal devices usually have fewer security controls, potentially opening your company data to hackers and malware.
- Weak passwords easy to crack
Even if your company uses VPNs, firewalls and other security software to protect your remote network, weak account passwords will leave holes in your defences. Repeated passwords can be even more dangerous – employees who repeat passwords, especially across personal and business accounts, are at a higher risk of having their company accounts hacked.
- Increase in phishing scams
There’s also been an increase in fraudulent emails, phishing attempts and spam to business emails. These days, phishing emails are so sophisticated that it’s becoming harder and harder for employees to detect them.
According to one report that analysed 32,000 security incidents, 67% were caused by credential theft, phishing and business email compromises. With many IT departments busy keeping the business running, and workers inadequately prepared to manage their own IT security, it can be a struggle to keep on top of every cyber threat.
- Sharing important work files online
Lastly, when it comes to sharing sensitive or confidential information, you must be careful how it’s done. While your data might be secure when it’s stored or shared on a business network, cloud-based apps or your email server might not offer the same security. If company information is intercepted, you risk not only identity fraud and ransomware attacks but losing customer trust too.
Protecting business with a remote workforce
To safeguard your company data, and reduce the chances of a cyber-attack from hackers or malware, here are some safety precautions:
- Provide employees with a firewall to better secure their home Wi-Fi, or send out reminders when router updates are available.
- Only use encrypted laptops and phones to access company systems and servers.
- Use two-factor authentication methods – this means having a fingerprint or facial recognition as well as a secure password.
- Train employees to detect and avoid phishing emails – best practice is to continue this education periodically.
- Use email encryption platforms when sending sensitive data or confidential information online, to secure email data, attachments and contact lists.
Adapt your security measures for home workers
For many businesses, the current workplace reality is a makeshift home office and a remote access sign-in. But an inevitable outcome of this shift is employees are no longer protected by the corporate firewall – increasing security threats that could cause catastrophic damage to your business. Beware of these and implement security measures that will help you minimise the risks and operate safely when working from home.
To keep your business data secure while employees work remotely, get in touch with the Isometric team today.