Ensuring Security for Your Remote Workers
In recent years, an increasing number of tech companies, including Buffer, Todoist, and Help Scout, have adopted either a fully remote or a hybrid work model. Prior to making the transition, these companies invested significant time and resources into training their employees, establishing remote work protocols, and fortifying their cybersecurity measures to mitigate potential threats.
Nevertheless, numerous organizations were compelled to implement remote work arrangements abruptly when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. These companies had little opportunity to ready themselves thoroughly, resulting in heightened susceptibility to data breaches and cyberattacks. This is precisely the opportunity that cybercriminals are exploiting.
Based on the most recent findings by the National Cyber Security Alliance, businesses worldwide experienced a notable surge in cybersecurity incidents in 2021. The research indicated that the majority of companies reported a rise in the frequency of incidents, with over 60% or organizations noting an increase of at least 25%.
The negative impacts of neglecting to update your security policies and employee training
Initially, your current security protocols and training programs were established in a pre-pandemic era. However, the pandemic has significantly altered the way we work. Now, with employees utilizing various devices and connections outside of your control, your organization is more susceptible than ever to cyber threats.
Neglecting to update your security protocols and training programs could result in the following consequences:
Employee inaction and dip in morale: If your employees are not trained to identify and address new cybersecurity risks, they may feel powerless or uncertain during an attack. Additionally, in a remote work environment, they may struggle to seek assistance.
Impeding business growth: Cyberattacks can harm your credibility and reputation, making it difficult to attract or retain customers who do not trust you with their information.
Business disruption: DDoS attacks have surged in recent months, and they frequently result in website downtime, increased vulnerability, and operational disruptions.
Compromise of vital business information: If you fail to safeguard your systems, cybercriminals may access confidential client data, patents, sales information, business plans, and other sensitive data.
Financial repercussions: Ransom demands have increased in value, with some demands exceeding $1 million. However, paying the ransom is just one financial effort. A breach could also result in loss of revenue, compromised, client financial information, reputational damage, and more.
Legal penalties: Inadequate protection against cyberattacks could result in consumer lawsuits, hefty fines and sanctions, and even business closure.
What steps can you take to secure your remote workforce?
In order to protect your business against cyberattacks and date breaches, it is important to constantly update and enhance your security measures to stay ahead of cybercriminals. With most employees working remotely, it is easier than ever for cybercriminals to breach your defenses. Even a simple mistake, such as a password shared publicly or confidential company information accessed through public Wi-Fi, can put your company at risk.
To mitigate these risks, you should implement an IT policy that addresses the specific requirements of a remote workforce and provide additional security training to all employees.
Personal device security: Device security is critical for employees using personal devices for work. It is important to establish clear guidelines regarding which devices, operating systems, applications, and websites are permissible. Provide employees with a list of security tools they need to install before they start work, and ensure they are aware of your level of access and control over their devices.
Network security: Public and home Wi-Fi networks are less secure than office LAN connections. To mitigate this risk, enforce minimum-security standards, such as Wi-Fi encryption standards, secure Wi-Fi passwords, network security software, router safety guidelines, and the types of devices that can be connected to the network. It is also important to discourage the use of public Wi-Fi and provide employees with essential safety guidelines if they have no other option.
Cybersecurity training programs: IT teams are stretched thin in most organizations, so it is important to make sure your employees are adequately trained to deal with common and emerging cyberthreats. This includes password management, multifactor authentication, identifying phishing and ransomware attacks, securing personal devices against cyberattacks, operating and updating security software, configuring Wi-Fi, setting up VPNs, email usage, and responding to cyberattacks.
Strengthening your organization’s first line of cybersecurity defense
The incidence of cybercrime is increasing worldwide, and the ongoing economic recession is only exacerbating the situation. To ensure that your organization is adequately protected, you need everyone to be vigilant and aware of the risks.
However, if you try to go at it alone, you may find that it takes up too much of your time and resources. It’s best to work with a specialized managed service provider (MSP) like us, who can handle the technical details while you concentrate on growing your business.
Furthermore, to get more in-depth guidance on best practices for remote work, you can download our checklist by clicking here.
1. National Cyber Security Alliance (sec.gov/news/statement/cybersecurity-challenges-for-small-midsize-businesses.html)
2. Digital Information World (digitalinformationworld.com/2022/05/ddos-attacks-see-450-increase-during.html)
3. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (cisa.gov/stopransomware)