Remote working has always been there but for specific jobs that did not need a plush office to sit in. Nevertheless, the pace of adoption of remote working had been increasing gradually before the pandemic, and after the pandemic struck it has become a necessity.
The need for social distancing is driving the mass adoption of remote working. In a CNBC panel survey, 85% of companies that responded to it, have more than half of their workers working remotely. We all know that disruptions bring changes, but it also brings in a host of challenges. In the case of remote working too, the doors open to cybercriminals who are rooting to gain unauthorized entry.
So in this write-up, we are focusing on how you can improve your business cybersecurity during remote work. Read on to find out:
Typical risks due to remote working
Hackers are incessantly taking advantage of the new crisis. There has been a marked increase in the number of phishing and other attacks, while cybercriminals are also exploiting the emotional stress and anxiety of employees.
Hence the question that arises: why does remote working pose such a security risk? The answer to that is very simple – Whenever any team member tries to access the enterprise data from a remote location, their employer loses a degree of security control to a great extent. The loss of control is even wide-spread when the employee makes use of a personal device. Some of the risks involved are:
- The first kind of risk involved is network risks in which network workers use a mix of secured and unsecured, wired, or wireless, public or private network whenever they are accessing company resources. This opens up chances for hackers to enter or snoop inside, because it is not possible for the organization to secure every network used by remote workers.
- The second risk is that of physical device security. So, securing devices that are used remotely run the risk or challenge if it’s a lost one. Hence, whether it belongs to the company or to the corporate it has immense risks associated with data and privacy loss. It is very easy for a device to be stolen or to go missing when a worker is in transit elsewhere apart from his house.
- When employees use personal devices for work there is a mounting risk that personal usage of apps may open the door to criminals who may in turn access company resources. Companies might not have great control over the apps and services in which the employees may run parallel to their office tasks on the personal device.
- Pandemic has reduced the emotional state of employees to become extra sensitive. Hackers are very clever and know how to get into the mind of the remote workers and manipulate them. When an employee works in a solitary environment, it also means that employees could become complacent about following best security practices.
Tips to improve your Cybersecurity
Without a doubt, remote working risks have repercussions, but there is nothing that can’t be solved for good. Below are some measures as suggested by Expert IT consultants which will help you to
mitigate cybersecurity risks to a large degree.
Provisioning of VPN
Home network security is a key factor when working remotely. VPN use will help remove many of such risks by tunneling corporate traffic in a very secure manner with the help of an encrypted layer. VPN services do not come very expensive and it can be a comprehensive plan for all employees. But it is important to choose your VPN provider extremely carefully. If VPNs are still not a part of your strategy then a more practical step could be plugging devices directly into a modem or a router. Employees can be advised to avoid any public Wi-Fi or shared connections.
Educating remote workers about Domain spoofing
A domain is nothing but the address of a website. Domain spoofing happens when the attacker includes a link making you believe that it leads to a legitimate website but leads elsewhere. This kind of attack is very simple. A far more sophisticated type of domain spoofing happens when attackers build a website that looks very legitimate and gives users a similar URL. Victims then visit the site, enter their credentials only to get stolen.
To protect your workforce from domain spoofing, you can do the following:
The employees have to email the right links to important systems that they will be using while working remotely.
Ask your employees to bookmark these URLs so that they are not looking for them online. If not then they can stumble onto a fake replica site.
It will be great to implement tools like Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and domain key identified mail (DKIM) which will check servers and domains to make sure that they are authentic.
This will check servers and domains to ensure that they are authentic. If there are emails with unauthentic links they will either be blocked or be rerouted to another special email folder.
Have a plan
A sure-fire way to create extra security is to act as though the breach is not avoidable. When you acknowledge that something like this might happen, then the organization will automatically create plans for authorization and authentication. Multi-factor authentication, monitoring access controls, and creating strong passwords are very important hacks that every company should have up its sleeves. Companies should get in the habit of granting ‘least privilege’ access rights. This implies giving permissions required by an end-user.
Collaboration apps should be secured
Video conference security has come to prominence in recent times. video conference service providers like Zoom, Google Hangouts, are just some examples but they are not infallible. There have been certain instances of high-profile threat actors gaining unauthorized access to live conference meetings. This gives you solid reasons to improve video conferencing security. If an organization is hung on a legacy video conferencing system unfit for enterprise use, then changing existing systems is often impossible. In such cases, some common sense hacks like checking meeting links, using virtual waiting rooms, and using blurred backgrounds will help. Once the meeting has been started, users can also lock rooms. This only means you can avoid instances of external parties who gatecrash sensitive meetings.
Back-ups for critical systems
It is very important to have backups for all critical systems. Organizations should check that backups perform correctly and the information on it is safe. Create multiple backup options, be it cloud or multiple carriers. You can also arrange for off-line storage of backups regularly through the enlisting of data center consulting services to store and share applications.
Issue company control
Organizations should try to issue remote workers with company monitored or controlled laptops and mobile phones which are used exclusively for work. It is never too late to switch to company-issued devices because it is quite pertinent if your employees work with confidential and personally identifiable data. As an intermediate measure, you can also request your employees to sign up their personal device for tracking or a specific service provided by their employer. It will surely provide some degree of control.
It doesn’t matter where you work, you should consider all your employee’s laptops and mobile devices as an important part of your corporate infrastructure. Hence you should ensure that all security protocols such as password protection, malware protection, and encryption used in the management of data on traditional storage infrastructure should be applied here as well.
Endpoint security is the key
Companies have to focus on the security of the devices even if balancing device lock-down and security measures against practical device use are difficult. Endpoint protection software that includes antivirus is the first important step. Many of these tools include the ability to guard against phishing attacks. Organizations should also look at augmenting endpoint security principles such as regular updates as well as taking proper stock of all devices in use by your remote workers. Device encryption will also ensure that an additional layer of security is added especially where devices are at risk of loss or theft.
Convert remote working into secure remote working
In the recent past, many companies were a bit adamant about choosing remote working options wherever possible because of perceived security risks. But today companies have no choice but to enable working remotely and also with rapidity. In the blog, you must have seen that we have outlined the possible risks, and ignoring them should not be on the cards. If you are looking for assistance from an experienced software and web application development company to ensure cybersecurity of your remote working atmosphere then get in touch today!