5 Tips to Overcome the Cybersecurity Challenges of Remote Work
The remote workforce that the world is encountering has brought benefits and risks for companies and their employees. Some of the benefits are lower business expenses, employees' ability to work remotely, a more flexible schedule, and many others. Unfortunately, working remotely also comes with risks.
One such risk of remote work is a new cybersecurity threat landscape – the remote endpoint. Cybersecurity issues can be quite challenging and risky for employers and employees, especially if they lack the proper tools to mitigate them. As important as it is to have the correct remote work applications available to employees, it is equally essential to ensure that remote endpoints are appropriately protected. The most common problem that remote workers run into is cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity issues can be quite challenging and risky for employers and employees, especially if they lack proper measures to prevent them. For starters, you might want to check out this list of remote work software to manage your virtual teams.
Here are 5 tips to help ensure that cybersecurity is front and center for your remote workforce.
1. Protect devices with a sophisticated endpoint security solution
Unlike working at the office, protecting remote employees is harder. However, although the employee may be remote, the network is not, and therefore, malicious actors can enter once the employee is logged in. For instance, one risk with remote working is phishing scams, commonly used for data breaching. By working remotely, employees may be more easily distracted, letting their guard down, leading to a phishing attack's success.
Thus, leaving a computer vulnerable where important documents are stored and is connected to the network is undoubtedly a risk that can increase with remote work. By enforcing policies that ensure that remote employees install a reliable security solution, such as a sophisticated endpoint security tool, you can help them prevent cyber incidents from occurring. The best action to take is to have the employee install the company's deployed endpoint solution even if the employee owns the device. Additionally, it is crucial that the deployed endpoint security solution also delivers a complete endpoint detection and response (EDR) module to interact with remote endpoints.
To help you, here are some crucial features of an endpoint security solution:
Antivirus software detects the presence of malware on your computer. A dynamic scanning feature repeatedly checks for computer infiltration by a malicious threat.
The endpoint security solution should have a robust behavioral analysis capability. Malicious executables are designed to obfuscate security; your deployed endpoint security solution must conduct thorough behavioral analysis on new executables in a secure manner.
Threats exist across multiple platforms and applications you regularly use for work-related purposes. Since applications can have vulnerabilities that are exploitable by malicious actors, your endpoint security solution should have an exploit detection module.
When scanning for viruses or malware, isolating the infected endpoint is paramount. System administrators can not wait for the employee to log in and request a manual deletion. The endpoint security solution should have a complete EDR module that allows administrators to isolate endpoints, mitigate infection, and conduct forensics - remotely.
2. Update programs and operating systems
Vulnerabilities in applications and operating systems are continually being found and exploited. Cybercriminals often use these vulnerabilities to exploit data and infiltrate devices and networks. Application vulnerabilities are a cybersecurity challenge of remote working.
To mitigate vulnerabilities in applications and operating systems, ensure that remote workers regularly perform updates. Updates ensure that needed patches to the deployed software are implemented, which protects devices, applications, and the network. Updating programs and operating systems is a simple task that goes a long way as it reduces the risk posed by cybercriminals looking to access your confidential work-related data.
3. Remind employees to configure WiFi encryption
Research from Statista shows that the monetary damage caused by cybercrime in 2018 amounted to more than $2.7 million.
Since employers do not have full control over their remote worker's environment, reminding them to configure their WiFi encryption is essential. With the possibility of data interception to include passwords, employers should ensure that employees connect to the internet through a properly configured WiFi point. Proper WiFi configuration also includes proper use of data encryption.
One simple WiFI security protocol to encourage is to remind remote employees to change their router's login and password regularly. Unfortunately, weak passwords are not always reserved for applications but can also be used on an employee's home router. Often the router has never had a unique password established and is using the manufacturer's default password. Attackers can leverage these weak router passwords and hardcode them into malicious software, which then can be used to intercept traffic going through the router. Learn why password manager solutions are a must.
Lastly, when remote workers are working in a public space or using a public internet connection, make sure to remind them to use a virtual private network to connect to the company's network.
4. Use corporate services for email and messaging
To help maintain network security during remote work, ensure that employees have access to company IT services and tools. The benefit of using company-provided tools and services is to provide a more uniform security standing. By using company-approved applications and tools, when exchanging work-related information ensures data security.
Using corporate email services ensures that email security is not lacking and proper network security is addressed.
Managing remote employees and ensuring that they use corporate services are challenging tasks. Work from home security policy needs to be set and followed by your employees. With a proper policy in place, your employees and the network are more secure.
5. Stay vigilant
Despite efforts to protect companies from cyber attacks, they remain inevitable. Malicious actor's techniques are constantly evolving to overcome security arrayed against them. Check out this article to see the state of ransomware detection and malware prevention.
Since remote workers are highly vulnerable to phishing emails, remind remote workers to read the message carefully. Encourage workers to think twice before clicking on links or attachments if the email seems suspicious. Since managers are not physically present to help remote workers, they need to be more aware of their "cyber environment."
Cybersecurity challenges of remote work: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Remote work provides benefits to employees; however, the risk it brings to the company's cybersecurity posture is high. Every employee must know the essential preventive measures to ensure safety. Cyber threats change continuously; alerting employees to the cyber risks of remote work and enforcing security rules can help make things easier.
RevBits offers cutting-edge technology to protect and defend against cyber attacks.
It’s a common misconception that the only threats to an enterprise’s security come from external actors. Whether intentional or not, 47% of organizational data breaches are the result of internal human error, such as a misplaced device or document. Moreover, some employees present an even larger risk than others. According to recent reports, younger employees are more likely to bypass security protocols that are viewed as an impediment to their productivity. When it comes to onboarding new employees, young or old, enterprises must have proper security awareness & anti-phishing training, in addition to a strong privileged access management solution, to guard against the different types of human error that could create security vulnerabilities.
Although email phishing has taken many forms throughout the years, the most common type of email scam is also the oldest. Since 2003, black-hat hackers have created domain names and web pages that look virtually identical to actual websites and have linked these copycat sites to vulnerable users via emails. It is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between a real web page and a fake one, especially for companies without sophisticated anti-phishing tools. For all companies, it's important to have the best anti-phishing solutions in place to ensure all data is protected and downtime is avoided.
Have you ever received an email that looks totally legitimate, links to a website that looks real, and asks for personal information? It is becoming harder and harder to know who and what can be trusted. Phishing is the practice of trying to get an unsuspecting email user to engage with an email in some way (opening, clicking, downloading an attachment, sending money, etc.).