Until last year, working from home was a dream that never came true for most people like you and me.
Then came 2020, and the pandemic strike!
Now, businesses worldwide are enforcing remote work policies to ensure the safety of their employees and avoid any disruption to the day-to-day business operations.
Whether working from home is good or bad for employees mostly depends on personal preferences.
However, there is no doubt that establishing a remote working environment is quite a challenge when it comes to businesses.
One of the key challenges for businesses while establishing a remote working environment is to ensure that the office network and official data are always secure and prone to cyberattacks.
How Are Work-from-Home Employees Targeted by Cyber Criminals?
The pandemic situation forced businesses of all kinds worldwide to largely depend on the remote working culture, for which they were not prepared.
A survey conducted by threatpost showed that about 70 percent of businesses are following the remote working culture for the first time. Thus, as the Covid-19 virus spread like wildfire, the network and security team of businesses got very little time preparing and establishing policies to mitigate the challenges.
Well, many think that the actual threat for remote employees is blown out of proportion.
It definitely isn’t!
A report published by malwarebytes shows that since the WFH (Work From Home) culture swept in, over 20 percent of organizations have faced security & data breaches due to actions performed by the employees working remotely.
Among all the threats, phishing emails have become the most common threat faced by work-from-home employees. As pointed out by an article by the infosecurity magazine, attacks through phishing emails have increased by over 600 percent since the work-from-home period began in 2020.
How to Protect Your Remote Workforce from Cyber Attacks?
Implementing work-from-home policies is no longer an option for businesses. Instead, it has become a necessity to continue with their daily business activities without any disruptions.
In such a situation, how can organizations ensure that their remote workforce is protected from online threats and ultimately prevent cyber attacks on the organization itself?
Below are some of the highly effective strategies that organizations must implement to ensure network security for employees working remotely.
Provide Training on Cyber Threats and Best Policies
Did you know about 95 percent of all data breaches are caused due to human error?
Thus, if human errors were avoided, 19 of 20 data breaches would not have happened at all!
Human errors are considered in every finding and calculation out there, which shows that it isn’t completely avoidable.
But, the extent to which human errors contribute to cyberattacks can definitely be reduced.
And the first way to reduce human error that ends up in a successful cyberattack is by educating about the actual cyber threats.
Majority of the internet users are still unaware of even the common forms of cyberattacks, including phishing attacks and even scam calls.
Training the employees about the common forms of cyber threats and how to identify/stay clear of them can help a lot in reducing cybersecurity mistakes caused by the employees.
Implement a Team Password Management Service
Using insecure and easily breakable passwords is another common reason why cyber criminals are so successful in compromising sensitive data or even the entire network itself.
Using a team password management service can help employees quickly create complex and unbreakable passwords, store them securely, and manage the passwords when required.
Password management solutions that are team-ready offer features such as the ability to use the service across all operating systems, devices, web browsers, etc., that the employees use.
Moreover, administrators can also quickly onboard/offboard employees as they join or exit the team. Also, the password history can be tracked to see when and where the password(s) were used in the past.
Team password managers also make it easier for admins to reset passwords when required, manage user roles within the password manager, etc.
Provide Separate Equipment for Office Work
If employees use their personal devices to access work data or the office network, it increases the chances of the office data/network being accessible to cyber criminals.
Organizations must provide a work laptop to employees and track their activity to ensure that the laptop is used to access only authorized websites, applications, and services.
This way, you can prevent the work data or office network from being exposed to cyber threats such as malware and viruses, which otherwise would happen when the employees access their work data from personal devices.
Implement a VPN Service to Access Office Network
Establishing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service within the office environment and providing VPN accounts to employees to access their office systems and applications is a great way to prevent cyber attacks.
By establishing VPN, the IT security team within the organization can monitor the traffic entering the office network and restrict the traffic to only from trusted/authorized sources.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication for Logins
Two-factor authentication is a great way to ensure that no malicious sources get access to employees’ sensitive work accounts/profiles.
In two-factor authentication, once the employee enters the username/password combination of their account, an authentication code will be sent to either their email address or phone number (depending on the configuration), which needs to be entered gain access to the account.
Two-factor authentication is implemented by most online platforms out there, such as social networking sites, banking websites, etc., to provide an additional layer of security to the users.
Just like most other aspects of running an organization, enterprise cybersecurity is also something that needs periodic evaluation and modification to stay effective in the long run.
As more employees begin to work from home, the IT security team within an organization must track the type of attacks that commonly occur on the office network.
Along with taking proper steps to avoid such attacks, employees must also be made aware and provided guidelines on how to stay away from such recurring attacks.