COVID-19 has forced several organizations to close their doors and enable employees to work from. This flexibility is given to make sure employees stay safe, however, remote work culture has fueled cybersecurity threats for organizations.
Every time a worker connects with the business network from an unsecured network from home; they leave the organization vulnerable. Hackers can barge in from several access points and compromise your IT infrastructure. Personal laptops, desktops, and smartphones have become the most vulnerable access points for hackers.
Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) across the globe are struggling to keep the sanctity of their IT infrastructure intact. New bug disclosure and cyberattacks are keeping the organizations on their toes. From phishing emails to tempting eCommerce offers, hackers are using every trick in the book to compromise corporate networks.
Why is Remote Working not Safe?
Due to the lack of robust processes, the right devices, and infrastructure for remote workers enterprises are facing cybersecurity threats. Even an enterprise device that is secured through internal safety measures become vulnerable due to outdated security software and poor configuration of remote network connections.
And the biggest threat in remote work environments is the usage of personal devices including laptops and smartphones that are not accessible to in-house security teams. Amid COVID-19, several employees were forced to work from home abruptly and in such unprecedented times, they are using their personal devices for official tasks with no security validations.
More than 50 percent of employees are using their personal devices as companies go remote during COVID-19 as per Work-from-Home (WFH) Employee Cybersecurity Threat Index.
In a nutshell, businesses that are not able to control the network infrastructure and devices of employees working from home are at a greater risk of cybersecurity threats.
How to create a secure environment?
Organizations need to educate and train their employees about cybersecurity. Not opening phishing emails and suspicious links are the first step towards cybersecurity. Employees should stop sharing any sort of personal, financial, and business information via digital mediums. It is advisable to confirm on call if a request to share such details is made to avoid data leaks.
Organizations should use enterprise-driven and encrypted services like Virtual Private Network (VPN) for internal communications instead of WhatsApp or other public messaging platforms to minimize threat levels. To ensure the efficient implementation of security norms, organizations should document security guidelines. Businesses should also ensure that the employees are using the updated version of the software.
Employees should also follow other basic security fundamentals including avoiding using personal devices, making notes of passcodes and using complex passwords. Businesses should also encourage employees to avoid using insecure wireless networks and should only use personal hotspots and secure WiFi.
Enterprises can also emulate the behavior of employees to keep them productive and mirror their home machines to track the work environment and ensure the consistency of daily schedules.
Move Business to the Cloud
Cybersecurity experts believe that it is more secure for businesses to move their IT infrastructure over the cloud to keep the data safe and always on designated servers. A virtual environment will also provide flexibility and capacity at scale. However, businesses need to keep applications in public to enable easier access. This also means that traditional security solutions have now become obsolete for organizations that are allowing work from home.
However, companies need to regulate access to cloud infrastructure effectively to avoid data theft and tampering. They also need to test the solution through robust security testing services. For instance, after a worker leaves the project, the IT manager should immediately rescind the access. The network can come under a larger threat if you are not aware of the relevance and purpose of access. To enforce efficient protection around the organization’s data, businesses should leverage encryption and access control.
Additional Security Checks
Businesses are also relying on mobile device management to identify employees who are accessing emails through personal devices including smartphones and laptops. It is helping organizations take stringent steps to plug security gaps and counsel employees appropriately about cybersecurity risks.
Businesses can also use two-factor authentication to ensure authorized access to the system. Organizations are also leveraging biometric security such as fingerprints and facial recognition technology. More sophisticated security tools in the passphrase that asks a question and unlocks the system based on the response. Software not just validates the response but it also determines the user through typing pattern and speed.
With COVID-19 effects likely to continue for a foreseeable future, new cybersecurity threats will keep on rising for businesses across the world. Organizations need to follow proper security measures and make employees aware of the repercussions of a potential attack. Along with social distancing, it has become imperative for employees to take essential IT security measures to prevent hackers from peeping into their machines and IT networks. It has now become essential to stay safe both offline and online.