Security Risks and Best Practices for Working Remotely

Working Remotely

As the world struggles to cope with the virus pandemic, work from home has become a new normal. People are working remotely, undertaking online education, and relying on internet communications to fulfill lifestyle needs as well. However, as the pandemic has forced millions to work remotely, this increased online connectivity has also provided an opportunity for cybercriminals to attack a bigger audience.

Remote working cybersecurity risks

Many factors contribute to increasing remote working cybersecurity threats. Not everyone out of 18% of the world population working remotely is aware of the digital security risks associated with virtual working. Not only there are many individuals that are working remotely for the first time, but there are also many businesses that are also new to the remote working business models. Below are some of the factors that can make remote working a security risk to your business and to your digital wellbeing.

1- Lack of cybersecurity awareness

In addition to over 73% of remote workers not having any fundamental skills in cybersecurity and training, there are also remote workplaces that lack essentials security policies and procedures to cope with the security risks associated with remote working. Sharing critical data/information digitally, saving sensitive information of the company on personal devices, using unsafe and shared internet connections, etc. are some of the remote working security mistakes employees are making today. While remote access security solutions deployed by businesses can help in protecting both their remote employees and the organizational data, it is also imperative that remote workers make security-conscious decisions to identify and prevent potential threats.

2-  Same devices for work and personal use

Remote workers use the same devices like laptops and phones for personal use that they also use to connect with their workplaces. A cyberattack meant for a workplace can also easily impact the data of employees stored in their personal devices. In other words, storing organizational data into your personal devices can also make you a potential target of cybercriminals.

3-  Using personal email for company data

Forwarding work emails to a personal account makes it easier for attackers.  It is likely that personal email does not have two-factor authentication.  Personal emails likely have a lesser quality of data protection. Stolen or leaked data may contain sensitive information which means the business has been compromised.

4-  Lack of sound security practices

Remote workers are known to sometimes overlook the essentials of digital security while communicating remotely. Many remote workers neglect to adhere to remote working security practices while dealing with sensitive information/data of their employers. Unsafe remote working ultimately leads many remote workers to lose their credentials in phishing scams, get their devices infected with malware, also jeopardizing the security of their workplaces.

Best work from home security practices

Due to an increase in digital connectivity and internet usage, hackers now have a bigger audience to target. While the digital dangers continue to increase, here are the best practices that you can implement to maximize digital safety while working digitally.

1- Use a separate device for all work

Your employer is obliged to provide you a work device. Likely it is newer and better protected than your personal device. Don’t be tempted to use this for your own activities. Using your own device for you own activites will ensure that you do not get caught up in a cyberattack meant for your organisation, and if your device is compromised that your work is not also placed at risk.

2- Use encryption

Store all the critical data/information in encrypted form. Modern hardware contains a TPM chip that will encrypt the device seamlessly.  If you are using removable media, ensure to enable encryption so that the device is only compatible with the work device. Data encrypted in this way cannot be decrypted without a valid login to the device.

3- Look out for coronavirus themed phishing emails

When there is a climate of uncertainty, the environment is set for social engineering and phishing.

It is no surprise that an increasing number of companies from around the world are reporting that coronavirus-themed phishing emails are targeting their staff. The consequences of phishing attacks can be catastrophic for a business. An unprepared business may fail to recover.

4- Learn digital security practices

Being aware of security practices will serve you well.  Do a short online course. You will gain the capability to identify risks and make informed choices that will protect yourself and your work when online. Clicking on a fraudulent Zoom invitation is all it takes to compromise your environment.

The pandemic crisis continues to impact the economy and business operations of the world, and there is no saying when or if things will go back to normal. We can expect anticipate that remote working is here to stay for many of us and for a considerable period. It is in the best interests of both home and business users to adhere to the best remote security practices and policies to cope with emerging security challenges.

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