Remote Working + Data Breaches = How to Stay Safe From Cyber AttacksApril 21, 2023
Global events such as rising inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic have made working from home a viable option for businesses. At the height of the pandemic, companies allowing their employees to work remotely had a much greater chance of surviving the economic turbulence.
Even after the height of the pandemic, remote working from home is here to stay. However, this arrangement poses a few unique challenges. One of these issues is making workers more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
As commerce increasingly takes place online, the 21st century has seen a rise in the number of cyber attacks targeting businesses. Studies show that the rate of cyber attacks has increased 38% in 2022 and is expected to continue increasing.
Cyber attacks today are also more sophisticated and coordinated. Methods are advanced and hacker gangs share resources to do even more damage. Businesses and organizations, in particular, have become frequent victims of cyber attacks.
Remote working from home can weaken the cyber defenses of businesses even further. Employees in the office use the same computers to access the system. Provided that the computer systems are up to date, that means everyone has the same level of cybersecurity.
Unless the company provides their employees with workstations, employees remotely working from home are most likely using their personal computers to access the company’s system. The cybersecurity on employees’ PCs can differ significantly from one to another.
All a cyber attacker needs to do is find one entry point with weak security. If they obtain that employee’s security information, they can get into an organization’s security system. Once inside, they can do any number of things — from stealing confidential data to holding the entire network for ransom.
Having strong cybersecurity is essential to protecting a business or organization. Although employees remote working from home are more vulnerable to cyber attacks, there are ways to protect them.
One of the best ways to protect the business is for employees at every level to undergo cybersecurity training. There are many types of cyber attacks, from brute force attacks to phishing scams and session hijacking. Recognizing the different methods of cyber attacks used today can go a long way to preventing a data breach.
For example, employees learning to recognize and report suspicious emails and messages can save the company from a potential attack. In addition, employees need to know good internet surfing habits.
Good internet habits include only visiting secure websites, never clicking on internet advertisements and accepting only essential cookies when prompted. Practicing these will reduce the avenues cyber attackers can use to attack employees and businesses.
Finally, remote employees must be trained to update their software and operating systems. Regular updates patch known security vulnerabilities, reducing the ways hackers can get into their computers.
Companies can eliminate many cybersecurity concerns by providing remote employees with mobile workstations like laptops. Unlike their personal computers, the company’s workstations can connect to its network. This gives administrators greater control over their employees’ cybersecurity.
Mobile workstations can be restricted to access only company systems. Administrators can update the software and cybersecurity programs themselves, ensuring they are all current.
In addition, companies have more oversight over their employees, being able to trace their activities to ensure they work in a secure environment.
While essential cybersecurity software like firewalls is a good starting point, they can’t guarantee a business’s safety. Cyber attacks today are far more sophisticated — new malicious programs can easily break through essential firewall protection. Hackers who can steal an employee’s credentials can bypass security measures entirely.
Multi-factor authentication is the new standard in cybersecurity. Rather than relying on a username and password, multi-factor authentication uses a token system.
Employees can verify their identity using a mobile device such as a smartphone when the security program sends a code to their device. Entering the code correctly will allow them access. This code is randomly generated so it’s different and secure every time.
This kind of authentication is far superior to a password system. Even if cyber attackers or malicious programs can steal an employee’s security credentials, they cannot access the business’s computer systems without the employee’s authentication device. In this way, multi-factor authentication can effectively prevent data breaches.
Although we live in the age of remote work, companies cannot afford to be lax with cybersecurity. Cyber attacks are more prolific than ever before. Remote employees must be trained to recognize and report threats to protect their personal computers.
Companies should also consider investing in mobile workstations and multi-factor authentication programs to better defend themselves against the different types of cyber attacks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shannon Flynn is a tech writer who covers topics like cloud computing, business technology, and data. You can find her work on Hackernoon, Cybint Solutions, Irish Tech News, and ReHack.com. Visit ReHack for other trending tech topics covered by Shannon.