The COVID-19 pandemic has most of the world at home. It has completely disrupted everyday life and has businesses scrapping their normal strategies for work-at-home policies that will at least allow them to maintain some productivity. These strategies, while highly effective, carry with them additional risk. Today, we take a look at some of the risks associated with relying on remote workers.
With many “non-essential” businesses scrambling to find strategies that will keep revenue coming through the door, setting up a remote workforce has become most businesses’ best hope. Unfortunately, with such little notice to dot the Is and cross the Ts, businesses are taking on more risk than many of them are comfortable with. That trepidation is not fruitless, either. In times of crisis, hackers have a tendency to prey on the unprepared. The fact is that workers that are operating where they are not comfortable–or where they’re too comfortable–can mean disaster for their employers.
Security Threats for Remote Workers
Even if it normally is, security isn’t exactly the top priority for businesses faced with this situation. Businesses need to mitigate net-negative cash flow positions. This means they need their staff to continue working. This is stretching business’ cybersecurity strategies thin. Exacerbating things is that with so many people focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers can use it as bait.
Cybersecurity professionals and other researchers have seen an increase in ransomware attacks, trojans, and spyware as a result of this situation. They’ve also seen COVID-19 being referenced in millions of phishing attacks. Many problems that businesses face in regards to cybersecurity can be directly attributed to the remote worker. Workers at home are typically using their home PC or laptop that has all their personal accounts on it. An infected personal PC is a big problem when you are using the same PC to access work related materials.
Additionally, hackers are now seeing a lot more success by targeting businesses directly now that security is playing second fiddle.
That is a problem since cyberattacks can decimate your business, tarnish your reputation, and end any positive momentum your business has built up. Since most businesses weren’t prepared in the least for these stay-at-home orders, the ones that are under direct scrutiny from federal, state, and industry mandates are even more exposed.
How to Protect Your Business
While any measures you take at this point to better secure your employees working remotely will be more reactive than they are proactive, it is still important to do so. We suggest that you enact the following measures to begin:
- Cloud solutions – Rather than introducing an entrance into your business with a remote access solution, using the cloud’s capabilities enables productivity through a much simpler and more secure means than opening a gateway into your business’ infrastructure. As the cloud permits you to store your data and/or host your applications, your employees can be sure to have the resources they need to safely work from home.
- Company devices – If you provide your team with the device they should use through their day-to-day, your business can continue to operate with the knowledge that all updates and security patches can be maintained. Despite the upfront costs of procuring the technology you will need, making this investment can provide returns to both productivity and security.
- Employee training – Perhaps most crucially, your employees need to respect how much responsibility will rest on their shoulders in terms of maintaining cybersecurity as they work from home. Making sure they know the recommended best practices for maintaining security, as well as other preventative skills like spotting phishing attacks, will allow you to trust them more to keep your business safe from threats.
While the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually end, smart security practices both in and out of the office never should. To learn more about how we can help keep your business safe, reach out to DatCom, LLC at (903) 320-5330.