Remote working wasn’t exactly a new phenomenon at the start of 2020. But since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s estimated that the number of remote workers from under 2 million to roughly 24 million people. That’s a substantial change in working behaviour.
Thanks to a number of technological advancements, remote working can be more slick and seamless than ever before, facilitated by an array of technological tools. Project management software and video conferencing applications give businesses all they need to make the transition to remote work more successful. With the digital world at the feet of your remote workforce you may think that nothing can get in the way of progressing your business virtually. Yet with the rise of remote workers comes an increased level of cyber security vulnerability.
Let’s take a closer look at the pitfalls of remote working and how your organisation can overcome these challenges to create a safer, more successful and productive business environment, wherever your employees are working from.
Challenge 1: Your network is bigger and more exposed
When your employees worked from the same office, your network perimeter was more easily contained. The same isn’t true when your team is working remotely, however.
Whilst working on-site, employees would usually have access to hardware and, in many instances, internal servers, which means your security consultants or in-house IT team could keep a close eye on all activity from a safety and security perspective. With employees working from home or another location, your network becomes bigger and bigger, and the potential weak-spots in those cyber defences grow.
One of the most important solutions to help manage this risk is regular and ongoing vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. By undertaking a penetration test, your business can simulate what would happen if a hacker attempted to breach your defences in the real world. By performing this exercise, qualified pen testers are able to produce a report which highlights key vulnerabilities and areas that require immediate remedial action.
Challenge 2: Your workers will need access to the same files and apps
A Virtual Private Network or VPN will ensure your employees have the capabilities to complete their work from home. A VPN allows all your workers to access the same files and applications from home as they would do on-site, with much greater security than If they were using an open network.
Challenge 3: Phishing emails are becoming more and more common
Hackers have found a gap in the market with the rise of remote working, and they’re filling this by sending out a staggering amount of phishing emails. Phishing is a technique used by hackers and fraudsters to launch a social engineering attack. During one of these cyber-attacks, the user (i.e. your worker) may be manipulated into giving away sensitive information.
Training and email scanning tools should always be at the heart of any efforts to avoid phishing scams. In far too many instances, people become the weak link in an organisation’s defences simply because they are not familiar with best practice. For this reason, it is an organisation’s responsibility to deliver high-quality training to upskill staff members and, ultimately, protect their own data and digital estate. After all, the cost of training is always likely to be far less than the cost of a breach.