What are the cybersecurity risks of working from home and how can your organisation handle them?

What are the cybersecurity risks of working from home and how can your organisation handle them?

The work from home revolution has taken the world by storm. The Covid-19 pandemic meant many organisations had to adapt the way they do business dramatically to keep their employees safe, their companies operational and their customers satisfied, as well as abide by the most recent lockdown restrictions.

The latest study found that 60% of the UK’s workforce still work from home, with a large proportion of employers looking to make the move to fully remote or flexible, hybrid working more permanent. But for the many advantages that accompany working from home, there are a plethora of cybersecurity risks.

Protecting your company, employees, customers, and the data they all hold dear isn’t easy, particularly with your workforce scattered in different locations. With the latest cybersecurity measures, however, you can mitigate many of the risks associated with working from home and embrace all the plus-points.

Read on to discover our top tips for adapting your company’s remote working practices with employee safety and cybersecurity in mind.

There’s no office system to protect your workers

The average office can become a fortress against the advances of cybercriminals. Office systems and servers will contain the firewalls and blacklisting capabilities needed to reduce vulnerabilities, and that’s just the start of it. And while cloud solutions today are also excellent as the first line of defence, the problem is actually that remote workers don’t have a member of their IT or IS team on hand to ask if something appears to be amiss.

Similarly, remote workers are also now being asked increasingly to use their own personal phones and devices – part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution. But this mix of professional and personal use also creates vulnerabilities that compromise the security measures one might usually find in the traditional office.

The same can also be said for vulnerabilities presented by unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the home. These technologies provide easy access for savvy cybercriminals looking to find an entry point to a larger data source.

The solution? Along with providing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for your remote workers to use, corporate devices should be offered to all remote employees. These devices should be kitted out with the latest remote access security controls (including anti-malware software and up-to-date apps) and used in conjunction with two-factor authentication to ensure a strong defence against cybersecurity risks.

There’s a higher chance of a demotivated workforce

Whilst working from home has unlocked a long list of benefits for both employees and employers, it has also highlighted a selection of downsides. Without the office comradery and in-person collaboration, many remote workers become demotivated, fatigued and less attentive, and this in turn makes the likelihood of employee errors particularly high.

Employee error was already a major risk factor pre-pandemic. Now without the various office based measures, support and training in place, the risk of employee error is even higher, and just one mistake can be catastrophic.

Adapting how you manage information security across the board in accordance with ISO 27001 will help you improve standards whether all or part of your workforce is working from home. ISO 27001 consultants can help you identify and manage risks as well as develop remote working and wider information security policies that work for your company in the here and now.

These policies will provide essential guidance and support for remote, hybrid and office workers, including information on how to store devices appropriately, devise and manage unique passwords, visit websites safely, use two-factor authentication for third party services, and ultimately protect sensitive data.

There’s a risk of data loss and theft as restrictions ease

New freedoms mean remote workers don’t have to stay at home to complete their 9 to 5. Public places are now increasingly used as temporary offices for remote workers looking to escape the confines of home and enjoy a change of scenery. Working from trains, cafés and shared workspaces presents more opportunities for hackers and fraudsters to gain access to company and customer data.

Securing your remote workers wherever they decide to work from is important. Regular staff awareness training, continued support, and the use of secure, corporate devices will ensure cybercriminals don’t take advantage of your remote workforce’s newfound freedom.

Moving to a hybrid working model is another option for employers wanting to harness the best of both worlds. By giving your employees the choice to work on-site and remotely however, you’ll have a whole set of new cybersecurity challenges to overcome, especially when upholding data protection regulations in the face of this new way of working.

Protect your organisation properly by monitoring, identifying, managing and mitigating cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities before incidents happen to ensure an appropriate, hardy defence wherever the work from home revolution takes us.

Looking to develop a cybersecurity plan that works for your company and your remote workforce with a little help from the experts. Get in touch with the team of cybersecurity consultants at Security Risk Management today by visiting www.srm-solutions.com.

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