It’s not difficult to adjust to the remote-work way of life only if proper security measures are included. Yes, some threats might be too large to tackle, but at least you’ll be one step ahead of it with knowing what could be done.
Remote working was once not the “corporately” accepted norm, but as of last year, having been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, it now seems to be an essential part of the business framework. Every employee has been accustomed to the work from home environment, some adjusted, while others failed to fall in line with it.
However, even though the world is somewhat getting back to their usual routines and the business world is gradually returning to their sectors, there are still a few who are still asked to work from home.
How does it affect the remote working class? Is it different from working at the office? And more importantly, is there an increase in the potential risks that could harm the remote workforce?
These are important questions to look into. Just because a few employees are working remotely and others back to the office, the security risks and level in productivity are all interconnected. If one employee is exposed to many cybersecurity risks at home, it could lead to bigger fish crumbing back to the office.
What challenges does the remote workforce face?
The remote workers have been exposed to a more relaxed and undocumented way of life, and along with that, there are many cybersecurity risks that come with it. Here’s an idea of all the new challenges that the remote workforce faces:
Unsecured WiFi networks
The security structure at the office is way different than that of home. Yes, some may already be equipped with the best security software and systems, but it’s still not enough. Your internet is run by your ISP and they do have access to everything you do online. Most home WiFi Networks are vulnerable and are often susceptible to cyberattacks.
Unsecured or outdated devices
When at home, you’re probably using a personal device, because in most cases, the office can’t supply a whole lot of devices to each and every employee. Most employees experience issues while trying to connect to official portals while using older device models, or the device itself isn’t equipped with security software. What happens when you click on a malicious link, exposing all the data available on it?
There are situations where you may leave your device unattended while handling a large pile of office data. Most remote devices are password protected. What could happen if a family member or friend gains access to your files and accidentally clicks on unknown links, or even delete files accidentally? These are the new challenges that most remote workers experience.
While working from home, you might feel the need to download a security app for your device, like for instance, a VPN, or virus cleaner. And there are chances where you might even go for a free one. Most apps from unknown sources come with security threats. It results in flooding your device with viruses that could spin out of control. And the downside to it is that there wouldn’t be a team to help fix it.
Man in the middle attacks
There’s always a platform that links the workforce. Imagine having groups coordinate on these platforms using sensitive or classified information, and if one employee’s system gets hacked because of a vulnerable WiFi, the attack could lead on to company documents and others on the same contact list.
The security structure at the office is very different as compared to that at home. The office system usually blocks certain websites or links from reaching you. However, because there is a lack of cybersecurity enforcement for remote workers, there are chances of being victims to something called a phishing attack. You might get emails or texts pretending to be an official from the office. If you provide information accordingly or malicious links are clicked on, it could send a whole wave of damages towards you.
How can you lower the risks on your own?
Remote work might be the new way of life for a while to come, and although there are always newer risks or challenges that crop up every day, it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to adapt around it, lowering the risks. Here’s what you can do:
- The first way to tackle future problems always revolves around simple education. A little knowledge about what risks could crop up at home is the first step in the right direction. It allows the employee to welcome the risks without being blindsided by it.
- Security software for remote devices might not be as strong as the ones at the office, but investing in an affordable service could help lower the risks. Every remote employee needs to be equipped with a top-grade best VPN software, a virus cleaner, ad-blocker etc.
- Updating devices and software are equally important. Never let your guard down just because you think you’ve invested in a great app or that your device comes with the best security system. There are reasons that you receive software or system update notifications. Older versions are always vulnerable to cyberattacks. For example, many WhatsApp users were hacked through older versions of the app.
- Make sure all your devices and accounts are password protected and secure. You wouldn’t want your family or friends logging into your accounts unintentionally or entering risky websites to stream the latest movies. Two-factor authentication is also the most important to consider. If ever your email or official accounts are in the middle of an attack, you will get notified, asking if it was you who was trying to log in from another device.
- Backup all data in case your system gets compromised. You won’t go into a huge loss if everything was saved.
It’s not difficult to adjust to the remote-work way of life only if proper security measures are included. Yes, some threats might be too large to tackle, but at least you’ll be one step ahead of it with knowing what could be done. The cybersecurity risks are always evolving with time, but staying updated with the measures are something you could do on your own.