What Are The Cybersecurity Issues With Remote Work?

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Remote working has become very popular around the world, both due to the flexibility it offers, and, more recently, because of COVID-19.

This more accommodating way of working has, for the most part, caused staff to feel more relaxed, and brought about an increase in their general happiness and life satisfaction. As all good employers place a high value on staff well being, it looks like this change of lifestyle is here to stay.

What’s the downside?

However, while this practice has been found to improve productivity and enhance work-life balance, there is unfortunately a downside to it.

Remote working has caused an exponential increase in cyber security threats, putting the sensitive data of countless companies at risk. Staff who are working remotely pose a far greater risk to your business’ security than onsite employees.

Large numbers of organisations have next to no security measures in place to account for remote workers. Whether your workforce is fully remote, you have people who work from home occasionally, or you employ staff who regularly go away on business trips, it’s important to have processes in place to make sure that your data is just as secure in their hands as it is in the hands of staff who are tucked away safely in your office.

Bad remote working habits that are risk to security.

Take a look at the top three bad habits of remote workers, which could be a massive threat to the security of your business.

Unsecured WiFi networks.

If your employees are accessing your company’s sensitive data via their home wireless network, people nearby can gain access to that confidential information with relative ease. For example, if they’re sending data that hasn’t been encrypted, such as plain text documents, that could easily be intercepted by cyber-criminals.For this reason, your employees should not access any unknown Wi-Fi networks unless they are using a VPN connection.
 
CompTech IT Solutions can help with this. We provide business VPNs that remotely host your data, meaning that staff who are working away from the office can access it securely. Take a look at our remote working page for more information.
 

Using personal devices for work.

A recent survey found that almost half of UK employees have transferred files between their work and personal computers when working remotely. This worrying trend, along with the modern policy commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), has led to some pretty big security threats.

What happens if one of these employees suddenly leaves the company and holds onto all the confidential information that has been stored on their personal device during that time?

And who’s to know whether they’re keeping their software up-to-date? If not, then your sensitive data could, theoretically, be accessed by anyone.

We strongly advise against letting your employees use their own devices for work purposes, as security on personal devices is virtually impossible for you to control.

Physical security in public places

Whilst cyber security is our main focus here, it’s important to consider physical security when it comes to confidential information.

Has Janet from accounts got a voice like a foghorn on the number 27 bus? What about Bill in HR, sat in Costa with his laptop screen open for the world to see? Not to mention that time he left it on the train. These things can happen so easily, and before you know it, some undesirable has their mitts on all your company’s information.

Even the most basic physical security measures, which might seem like common sense, can be of huge importance when it comes to security.

Creating a work-from-home security policy.

 

  • Firstly, a clear guide as to which positions are suitable for remote work will be a great benefit. Not every job role can be done remotely for security reasons, amongst other issues, and it should made clear to all employees which positions are eligible.

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page. All employees, whether remote or on-site, should be using the same approved tools and platforms.
  • Provide your employees with the steps that they should follow at the first signs of a security breach.Security training should be mandatory, and should include how to report the incident, and to immediately change any passwords.We provide security courses for your staff, take a look at our training page

Conclusion

Allowing your staff to work remotely is a great step for your business in the current landscape. But remote working comes with inherent security risks that should be fully addressed before any remote working is allowed, whether it’s a permanent arrangement or just a few hours per month.

Once the proper security is in place, your business will be able to take advantage of all the benefits that remote working offers, including talent retention, productivity, and an improvement in youremployees’ work-life balance.