Chances are you are reading this from the comfort of your home office (or couch, we don’t judge). For companies already integrating some remote work before the pandemic hit, the move toward a fully remote workforce was a natural one. For others, it took the world’s largest work-from-home experiment for them to adapt to and embrace remote work.
A Gartner, Inc. survey of 127 company leaders in HR, Legal and Compliance, Finance and Real Estate fields, revealed 82% of respondents intend to allow remote working part-time as employees return to the workplace, while 47% plan to allow employees to do so permanently. But with these great numbers, comes added challenges most leaders may not inherently think of.
Aside from fundamentally shifting the traditional work environment in which employees and managers interact, remote work has other challenges—namely, increased vulnerability to cybersecurity attacks. Pandemic or not, businesses must take into account the new, unique security needs of the now-remote workers who are connecting to potentially unsecured home networks while accessing company resources from personal devices.
More remote work has meant more chances for cybercriminals to access devices that are no longer protected on a secure network such as in an office space. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of remote workers by launching phishing, vishing, ransomware, and a whole slew of other attacks that targeted gaps in companies’ security postures, as many were not prepared to support a remote workforce securely.
According to recent research by Malwarebytes, a failure to support remote work without exposing sensitive information has led to nearly 25% of organizations paying unexpected costs to address cybersecurity breaches and malware infections, putting their reputation and IP at risk.
It doesn’t stop at these external criminals. Insider threats are also a leading cause of security and data breaches. The same research report also found that 18% of organizations admitted that, for their employees, cybersecurity was not a priority, while 5% admitted their employees were a security risk and oblivious to security best practices.
If organizations such as these don’t rethink their approaches to security, cybercrime will continue to evolve and exploit remote workers as the ideal entry points into precious IT ecosystems. These are just a few ways to ensure your organization isn’t exposed during the transition to remote work:
- Audit your current security software and online privacy tools to determine if they are necessary in the transition to working from home.
- Implement new security technology and anti-virus solutions for work-issued devices.
- Urge your employees to use anti-virus technology on their personal devices.
- Provide cybersecurity training that focused on potential threats of working from home (like ensuring home networks had strong passwords, or devices were not left in the reach of non-authorized users.
- Communicate why these things important to protecting your organization, people, and reputation.
Don’t let this prevent your organization from remote work, instead, try implementing new strategies to strengthen your already hard-working teams. With the right security strategies and solutions, organizations can benefit greatly and support their remote workforce without exposing themselves to additional risk.