In recent years, the concept of remote working has gained notable popularity thanks to major technological advancements, an international pandemic, and the evolving nature of work environments. It's inevitably adaptable and makes it easy to work from home or from any other location, which has helped people strike a healthier balance between their personal and professional lives.
However, a number of hidden cyber threats lurk beneath this apparently convenient façade that could jeopardize important data, intellectual property, and organizational security.
We’ve already made a blog post about how you stay secure when you work remotely, but do you know why and which cybersecurity risks you pose when working remotely?
We explore the numerous factors that remote work poses as a significant cyber risk, highlighting the significance of awareness, readiness, and efficient cybersecurity solutions.
Blurred lines and unsecured devices
The usual office area is blurred by remote working, leading to a situation where employees access company networks from different devices, locations, and networks. Decentralization increases the likelihood of cyberattacks against businesses.
Home networks, that are frequently less secure than corporate networks, might serve as entry sites for bad actors. Weak passwords, unpatched software, and inadequately secured routers can all be used to break into a company's networks without authorization.
- It is often necessary to use personal devices for remote work - these devices may not have the same strict security measures and regular updates that are the standard in corporate technology and cybersecurity.
Devices that are lost or stolen pose a serious hazard because they can give unauthorized access to sensitive information. Additionally, sending business information across unprotected channels makes it vulnerable to hacking by unwanted parties, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.
Data breaches and incident responses
Working remotely can make the line between our personal and work life blurred. Employees may unintentionally share private information online or use unsafe file-sharing methods as a result, which might lead to accidental data leaks. Employees with access to sensitive information may be tempted to use it improperly or leak it out of frustration about the workplace. This increases the risk of insider threats.
Monitoring employee activity and responding quickly to security concerns becomes more difficult with remote working. Since they are designed to protect central databases, traditional network safety protocols may be less successful in a remote work context. Detecting and mitigating threats across multiple locations and devices requires a more flexible and advanced approach to incident response.
Cultural Shifts and Employee Training
The shift to remote work often requires a cultural shift within companies as well. Data protection, cybersecurity best practices, and the risks of working remotely must all be explained and emphasized to employees. Awareness training is crucial in ensuring that employees have the needed information and abilities to recognize risks and take appropriate action.
- Cybersecurity has long been threatened by phishing attempts that evidently target the employees rather than the software - and remote working has only increased their effectiveness.
Cybercriminals use the psychological and emotional challenges that remote employees experience, like loneliness and anxiety of sitting alone for longer periods of time, to create customized and convincing phishing e-mails to target a specific employee. Employees who work outside of an IT department's firewall are more likely to unintentionally leak confidential information or fall for scams.
Dependency on the cloud
While cloud services have made it easier for employees to work remotely by offering access to corporate resources from anywhere, this dependence presents security risks. Inadequate encryption, poor authentication, and misconfigured cloud settings can leave critical data open to unauthorized access.
- To secure their cloud infrastructure, businesses need to implement an extensive cybersecurity plan that includes frequent audits and inspections of their cyber defense.
Managing endpoint security is yet another element a company should be aware of when it comes to remote work. Businesses need to make sure that all devices connected to the corporate network are appropriately secured with the most recent versions of firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems.
- If this isn't done, endpoints may be susceptible to ransomware, malware, and other malicious activities that could compromise the entire network.
Businesses may find that using identity and access management (IAM) solutions to manage user access to systems and data can often be necessary for remote work. IAM management, however, can be challenging in a remote work environment. Careful planning and strong security measures are required to ensure that only those with authorization have access to crucial resources while reducing the danger of unauthorized access.
Remember good cyber hygiene
Remote work has become a revolutionary trend in a world with shifting work dynamics. However, there are some risks associated with this change. Remote work offers convenience and flexibility, but it also carries a number of cybersecurity risks that have the potential to damage operations, compromise data, and company trust.
Organizations should be aware of these risks and take initiative to strengthen their cybersecurity posture. Organizations can navigate the remote work landscape more confidently by implementing strong security measures, conducting frequent training sessions, and encouraging a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
This will ensure that the advantages of flexibility do not compromise data security - and it ensures happy employees as well as IT security.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler