With the coronavirus pandemic hitting businesses hard all around the world, there has been a noticeable shift towards remote working. This has been echoed and encouraged by the official government advice which says those who can work from home, must. Many firms which have so far resisted allowing staff to work from home rather than come into the office have found themselves with little choice – but also little preparation or experience in areas such as secure server access.
The number of people working remotely rose to around 50% in the UK alone in just a matter of weeks as the pandemic closed in. With many businesses now convinced of the environmental, productivity and higher employee retention rate benefits that this working style has to offer, it looks like working from home is going to become more common in the years to come. We have already seen Facebook, Google and Twitter amongst other big names saying they will embrace this practise indefinitely so more are sure to follow.
However, with many remote working facilities set up quickly and in the face of enormous pressure to just get everyone online and working, some security implications have been overlooked. This has left many businesses wide open to cyber attacks.
Here are a few of the considerations any business should take into account if they wish to continue remote working for their teams and protect sensitive data.
With many remote workers utilising their home Wi-Fi network to access files, company databases and other documents, malicious actors nearby are given the ideal opportunity to spy on their unsecured connection and harvest confidential information for their own gain.
Data sent in unencrypted form can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals. For data security, it is essential that your employees do not access any unsecured Wi-Fi networks without having the protection given by a VPN connection.
Using personal devices
With COVID-19 taking the world by surprise, not many businesses had access to unlimited hardware such as PCs and laptops to pass around their employees before they were asked to work from home.
Thing means that many people are using personal devices to store company files, which could have serious implications should an employee leave or the device be sold on without the files being removed properly beforehand.
Basic security measures
As lockdown restrictions slowly start to be lifted, many people are heading outdoors with their devices to enjoy a little fresh air while they work.
Connecting to public networks can compromise a huge amount of data. Basic security measures such as leaving screens unattended and having weak passwords are also a problem for businesses when employees don’t take the necessary precautions.
In order to keep your data safe, it’s well worth creating a working from home procedure. This document should detail the use of secure VPN networks and outline basic security measures that each employee needs to adhere to, especially if you are thinking of allowing remote working to continue in the future.