As COVID-19 (coronavirus) continuous to disrupt our lifestyles and hurt economies worldwide, it has also made organisations vulnerable to cybersecurity risks as employees continue to work remotely. 

Almost 7 months have passed and Covid-19 has turned into a global pandemic posing a major health crisis to countries across the globe. Organisations have had to take measures to ensure the well-being of their staff and keep their services running for customers at the same time. Due to this, having employees work-from-home has become the new norm.

This pandemic has in many ways opened doors of new opportunities and possibilities for the corporate world. While the health crisis is a concern, there are a host of benefits that both employees and employers can experience that comes along with remote-working. 

The benefits employees enjoy while working-remotely can include:

  • Comfortable working environment. 
  • More time with family.
  • Cost savings on travel 
  • Casual dress-code 
  • Limited supervision and so on. 

While on the other hand, the benefits companies enjoy while their employee work-from-home includes: 

  • Low-operational costs. 
  • Costs savings on electricity bills.
  • Low hardware operational-costs. 
  • Increased productivity, studies have found employees that work-remotely is 35%-40% more active and productive than employees who work in the office.

In light of the benefits that remote working brings to the table, experts reveal that as high as 74% of global companies see the possibility of remote-working becoming a permanent option. 

How has remote working impacted security

It is not always plain sailing, while remote-working provide a range of benefits to employees and employers it also raises several cybersecurity concerns.  

Many CIO’s surveyed believe that having remote-workers increases the chance of a cyber-attack/breach by as high as 86%. The legitimacy of this concern can be expressed by an alarming fact released by FBI that there has been a whopping increase of 300% in cyber-crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The reasons why hackers are successfully exploiting the pandemic situation include the following: 

Employers/Companies are not prepared

The rapid enhancement of the COVID pandemic did not allow companies to develop a work from home plan. As a result, many companies are poorly equipped with secure remote-work procedure and policies.

Staff have had limited training

Employees do not know the basics of personal-data and security-protection like using VPN, anti-viruses software and the practice of secure-computing. 

Hackers now have a wider audience to target

In recent news, hackers have successfully exploited the data of nearly millions online users by compromising the video conference platform “Zoom”. As more and more people continue to work-remotely implementing proper digital-security practices are highly crucial. 

So how do you reinforce good security practices in your organisation? 

There is an urgent need for employees to become more aware of cyber-risks and learn how to work safely from home. Here are several methods that you can follow to ensure maximum digital-safety and to protect your organisation’s data. 

Use VPN where possible

Some workers may want to enjoy a free internet connection when they are out and about. That’s always inadvisable for employees and employers should discourage it. 

Staff should use their Wi-Fi networks and these should be set up securely with a strong password. For the end-to-end-encryption, it is recommended that a VPN be used to encrypt and secure all of your employee’s online activities.

Develop a Remote Work Policy

Your organization should develop a remote work policy that will help your employees to know how they should work from home while also protecting organizational-data and their digital-wellbeing.

These security-policies will also inform certain employees to carry out particular tasks and what are your expectations from them. It is also imperative that you should update these cybersecurity-policies regularly so the latest cybersecurity-risks can be addressed properly to make all the employees aware of these threats. 

Educate your employees on phishing

A great threat to any organisation is that of phishing. 90% of successful cyber-espionage happens due to a phishing attack. These could be in the form of fake-coronavirus-updates that could end up being ransomware or spear-phishing attacks. Remote-workers should be trained to spot irregular emails and query them.

In addition to that, remote workers’ first line of security measure, should be double-checking the authenticity of every message, emails, and phone calls. As a business, if a remote-employee of your company is successfully tricked into a phishing scam then it can expose your company to a wide range of cyber risks.

Provide your employees security-awareness-training 

A proper IT/OT program will help an organisation to achieve a greater level of protection against data theft and sabotage which will ensure your employees take security seriously and allow for the following benefits: 

  • Greater security of hardware-resources 
  • Identification of cyber-attacks like phishing and ransomware 
  • Greater prevention of intrusions and unauthorized access etc. 

Without any doubt, the best way to create a true security culture within any company is through IT/OT security awareness training. This shows your employees learn how to identify and avoid cybersecurity risks while working from home. 

As remote working becomes the new norm, the risks of cyber attacks becomes greater. Therefore the best way to defeat cyber-hackers is to learn to protect your digital workplace. 

Get in touch with us if you have any questions in regards to IT security for your business.