By Deepak Gupta
With millions of people working remotely amid the global pandemic, the work-from-home ecosystem is witnessing exponential growth in cyber-attacks. As per surveys, 71 percent of security professionals noticed an increase in security breaches and threats since the outbreak of COVID-19.
But how did this paradigm shift in the conventional business operations and working environment increase the risk of security incidents? Cybercriminals are exploiting the new defense system of organizations that are racing to enable remote working for employees as soon as possible.
This has led to weak defense systems that can be easily breached by attackers who are continuously finding loopholes in the overall security systems of huge enterprises. Besides this, the current situations and uncertainties regarding the post-COVID-19 world depict that the work-from-home culture will remain.
Businesses need to take the bull by the horns to ensure their confidential information remains safe even if their employees are working remotely. Let’s have a look at some of the aspects that can help businesses fight cyber-attacks in remote working environments.
Prefer your company’s devices
Your work devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets, are always equipped with an additional layer of security, which are quality-assured by your company’s IT department. The IT professionals also ensure that every device is updated and well-protected against the latest security threats that may lead to data theft.
On the other hand, employees who use their own devices are at a higher risk of getting attacked through various cybersecurity threats as they lack a basic defense system. Moreover, personal devices may also lead to a security breach if connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
It is thus essential for a business to ensure their employees working remotely must use the devices offered by the company itself.
One of the biggest mistakes that go unnoticed is providing the permissions of systems, applications, or resources to everyone in the company. Access and user management helps organizations define certain permissions and access to resources based on certain parameters.
For instance, a company can provide access to entire monthly marketing reports to the marketing manager but can restrict the access for a new employee in the same network.
Since the overall security of a network relies both on the employee and the employer, you must put measures in place to ensure that employees report any issue or susceptibility at any instance to the concerned authorities as early as possible.
Cyber awareness training for employees
Cybersecurity training is extremely crucial for your employees in today’s era when cybercriminals are finding new ways to access a company’s sensitive information.
While most employers are overconfident about their knowledge and alertness, many of them aren’t even aware of new security threats. Organizations must create clear policies regarding the use of devices and types of networks, and they must provide frequent cybersecurity awareness training to ensure their employees are well-versed with the types of cyber frauds and how to identify and report them.
Companies must also conduct monthly or quarterly cybersecurity tests to assess the knowledge of their employees. After analyzing the performance, companies should work on the areas that require immediate attention.
Avoid sharing sensitive information over email
Another common mistake that may lead to a security breach is sharing sensitive information, including login credentials, over emails.
Since emails aren’t encrypted and are transferred as text, hackers may find a loophole in the network and gain access to confidential information.
Businesses need to work progressively in building policies that restrict the use of chat messages, emails, and even instant messaging platforms to share confidential details that may impact a company’s data security.
Reviewing data logs
It’s crucial for every organization to thoroughly review data storage along with storage hardware & methods for enhanced security.
The work-from-home era significantly demands the precise curation of data logs and access lists recording along with correct date and time. This strengthens the overall line of defense against unauthorized access with timely reporting to minimize the loss.
Consistent monitoring of these data access logs can be quite beneficial for organizations to minimize the risk.
Avoiding public Wi-Fi networks
Admit it, we all love to use a free public Wi-Fi network to access emails or perform login to our official account while we enjoy sipping coffee in our favorite café.
However, these public networks aren’t as secure at all as we might think them to be.
Security experts worldwide recommend not using public Wi-Fi connections for online banking, sharing confidential business details, and even logging in to your company’s portal.
Cybercriminals may try different modes to access your information if your connection isn’t secure, which is perhaps the reason why one should avoid using public networks to connect to the internet.
Analyze third-party vendor risk
Many small businesses rely on third-party software vendors in the current pandemic situations more than ever before.
This is because the overall development cost for developing and maintaining any software in-house may exceed the overall budget allocated for that particular software.
For instance, a company may purchase and install tracking software on employees’ systems to track the overall activities during working hours. The software, if not from a trusted vendor, may further increase the risk of malware attacks.
Experts advise carefully choose a third-party vendor for software since many suspected software programs may install malware on employees’ systems that further breaches the security.
The newly established work-from-home ecosystem is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks since attackers have more access points to target.
You can prevent cyberattacks against remote working environments by taking the aforementioned aspects into consideration.
Moreover, educating employees regarding common human errors may significantly minimize the number of security breaches for every industry and business offering remote working facilities to their employees.
About the author
Deepak Gupta is the CTO and co-founder of LoginRadius