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Cybersecurity - Working from home cybersecurity risks

Date

27/01/2021

Written by

Airnow

When we started working from home almost a year ago many thought it would be a short-term solution, and many businesses treated it accordingly with ad-hoc measures. Looking ahead, it seems that working from home is not only going to be a massive part of 2021 but, in many cases, could be a permanent situation.

While working from home is seen by many as a positive, the situation brings some challenges, especially from a cybersecurity perspective. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest cybersecurity issues posed by working from home and what your business can do to alleviate these risks.

Remote work increases security issues

With millions of people around the world hastily setting up home offices, many businesses did not have sufficient time or resources to properly ensure the cybersecurity of those employers working from home. Without proper preparation, a home setup’s network connection and devices may lack basic defences such as VPN’s, antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems which make it a vulnerable target for attack.

Getting the basics right

In order for a business to successfully combat the cybersecurity risks associated with working from home, new policies, education and adherence to IT protection protocols need to be upheld more than ever. Like we have mentioned in our previous article, ‘Teaching you how to phish’, social engineering or ‘phishing’ is one of the most common hacking attempts, and employees working from home are often targeted. The NHS reported a 600% rise in reports of phishing attacks in the UK since March. Social engineering cannot be avoided by any hardware or software, so businesses must ensure that the training which employees would have undertaken in regards to the detection of social engineering is continued even as these employees are working from home.

The multi-device problem

Employees frequently use more than one device when working from home to access important information or for other work-related reasons. This complicates the implemented efforts to protect data as every device used is a potential entry for system threats. For instance, the employee’s laptop may have sufficient security controls, but using an insecure smartphone may compromise the organization. It is imperative for users to observe predetermined security policies governing the use of personal devices to handle work-related tasks. If the policies are not in place, an organization should put effort to create employee awareness to ensure that every device has some form of protection.

Working from home uses less secure networks

The majority of employees working from home will be using public internet, which is insecure and often full of malicious actors. Consequently, a more secure way of communicating important information must be created, such as through the use of secured applications for file sharing, sending and receiving emails, and using secure VPNs.

With all the new considerations your business needs to take into account as you adapt to the ‘new normal’, Airnow Cybersecurity are here to help. We have partnered with Rebasoft to offer a comprehensive cybersecurity system that can monitor employers working from home. We also offer a data risk assessment absolutely free of charge, so you can have an overview of the cybersecurity health of your organisation.

For any further information, please visit our new website and do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/07/22/remote-cybersecurity-the-risks-when-working-from-home/?sh=57703f9d5954

https://www.digitalhealth.net/2020/11/working-remotely-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-keep-i-t-confidential/#:~:text=Phishing%20scams&text=Now%20that%20many%20more%20people,by%20over%20600%25%20since%20March.