With the COVID-19 scare and cases increasing day by day, work from home has become the need of the hour. It is expected that the ability to connect from anywhere will soon become a norm. The accessibility to information from distant places via the cloud has made life easier. It also saves the cost of office equipment, setup, and network establishment.
In response to COVID-19, there are several pros and cons of remote working. Advantageously, companies can continue to operate as before because employees are working from their respective places. But it can bring in a bigger threat to the security of weak networks and home computers. Thus, when many remote employees are working from home today, the situation can become dreadful in terms of cybersecurity.
The continued work from home policy due to lockdown extension has already shown some adverse impact on network security. The threat is even more significant when the information is sensitive such as the company’s figures, passwords, and financial documents.
Cybercriminals taking advantage of a huge opportunity
Cybercriminals are always trying to improve their tactics to attack the businesses, and the COVID-19 pandemic offers a golden chance. For instance, phishing campaigns were launched recently, taking advantage of the fear of coronavirus. And they nowhere seem to decline as coronavirus only deepens. The theme-based emails are increasing in number and are distributing malware. The next step is not to shut down the business; rather, it is to identify the challenges and resolve them.
Security challenges for remote working companies and ways to respond
Let us explore some major challenges that lead to network vulnerabilities.
1. Minimal security on own and mobile devices
While using a public or personal device or network, there are high possibilities of exposing data to several vulnerabilities. Data security is a big liability for small businesses with remote employees, and it needs to be resolved before everything else.
How to respond?
First of all, companies must increase awareness about security and educate their employees about the possible dangers and best practices. Some strict password policies should be enforced, and employees must secure their laptops and systems with authorized antivirus and security software.
2. Tracking and managing assets on cloud
Asset management is very essential to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of the business. In the tech world, IT assets such as data, software, and other pertinent business information bring immense value to the business and need to be protected from all kinds of threats. Therefore, the protection of all these assets should be a major priority for businesses. Inside the workplace, asset management is confined, but when the data goes out, it becomes a different game altogether.
How to respond?
The solutions such as geofencing, predictive asset monitoring, and ticketing systems help to handle asset management needs better. Another way is taking help from cloud-based IT management platforms such as Cloud Management Suite, which enables putting information, monitoring, and securing assets on the cloud, without any geographical boundaries.
3. Inefficient backup and recovery system
There is hardly any case where remote employees, who are using their own devices, are able to recover the loss of important information. Losing important information related to a business can be as threatening as leakage of it.
How to respond?
Employees can have a local backup on their laptops. Or, if your company is big enough for the IT department to deploy the backup program on each system, then consider having a centralized data backup and recovery program for all remote devices. Else, another option to choose is cloud backup. Also, there are plenty of SaaS providers—CrashPlan and Veeam offer cloud backup solutions. They can be customized for small businesses.
All you need to do is take one single account, eliminate all the hassle, and keep the entire data safe in case of crashes, lost devices, and similar problems.
4. Lack of valuable and meaningful information
The biggest hurdle in remote working is not extending the valuable piece of information on a timely basis to the employees. Though face-to-face communication is unbeatable, it is difficult to comprehend while working from home. Email, WhatsApp, and Telegram are good messaging methods, but conveying messages in-person is incomparable.
How to respond?
The right way to deal with remote teams is to opt for the next inline solution, i.e., video conferencing. It has various benefits such as better communication, comprehending facial expressions, and building up more trust in working relationships. The remote employee who has access to the facial expressions and body language of the employer tends to understand the gravity of the situation and develops the desire to follow the data security protocols.
Pick up any one from the leading video conferencing applications, which includes Skype, GoToMeeting, and Zoom. The meaningful features such as screen recording, messaging, and video conferencing with many people makes all of these apps as an obvious go-to solution.
Addressing more cybersecurity challenges for home working
1. When creating new accounts for home workers, ensure strong passwords are set and use the principle to reduce risk.
2. Make employees connect through VPNs for high cybersecurity. Think and install the VPN with sufficient licenses and bandwidth.
3. Ensure that employees are well-trained on new applications, use of VPNs, and are aware of additional risks from remote working.
4. Implement a DNS filter to prevent employees from accessing high-risk websites on corporate-issued devices.
5. Disable USB ports to prevent the use of portable storage devices. It will help in reducing the risk of malware infections and data breaches.
6. Ensure that there are sufficient policies and procedures to report a threat to the IT security team. It will assist employees with the right remedy and course of action if they have fallen for a scam.
Wrapping it up
During and after lockdown, it is essential to take care of your IT and network security. On the one hand, where it is feasible for medium and large scale enterprises to implement high security with networking technologies for remote working, on the other hand, small enterprises are confronting issues related to low budget and resource crunch. The above mentioned are some of the major sets of challenges and ways you can resolve them.
While this is a stressful time given the uncertainties, it is a good time for gauging your organization’s readiness for emergencies and remote worker needs. Now, when you know the enemy and have the strategy, buckle up, and fight with it. Additionally, whatever are your remote working plans, to continue or shut it after the lockdown, ensure your work environment is coveted with security technology, guidelines, and procedures. For more relevant content on IT Security and cybersecurity, you can download our latest whitepapers on Security