Remote Working Introduces New Cybersecurity Risks

As we previously mentioned in our article on ‘How Network Security Powering the Digital Transformation’, the growth and expansion of network security is helping the growth of digital workspaces. For instance, Secure SD-WAN solutions can be integrated into next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) that provide security when the system is powered on them. As a result, workspace networks can be kept safe from potential cyberattacks. But what if your employees aren’t connected to your network directly, and are instead working remotely?

In a 2018 survey published by Worldwide Arc, it was revealed that more than half of Indian workers said they prefer telecommuting. They also found that the large majority of workers want a more positive work-life balance with less stress, which is attributed in part to a lengthy and crowded commute, which contributes to time away from family. Although remote working is not yet fully embraced by mainstream Indian companies, more and more young professionals are choosing to work from home, especially in densely populated areas like Mumbai.

Because it may be more difficult to keep confidential data secure in the future if you have remote workers, here are some quick and easy tips to help you get started:


1. Avoid using unauthorized outside apps

Although most companies have their own highly secured systems, employees can unknowingly use third-party services like Dropbox to share documents and files that can go to the wrong recipient. Using your personal email address to conduct official business also makes your company more vulnerable to outsiders. Often, this tends to occur when employees don’t know how to use the company’s software and need to find an easier alternative. That’s why it’s important to give employees proper software training and remind them to protect sensitive data.


2. Enable two-factor authentication

Simple alphanumerical passwords can make it almost effortless for cyber attackers to hack into your accounts. A 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report on the latest cyber threats found that 29 percent of breaches involved the use of stolen credentials. In contrast, two-factor authentication is vital to keep your data safe. According to HP’s feature on two-factor authentication, while a hacker might still figure out your password, the second layer of protection makes it more difficult because the unique codes are constantly changing. They suggest implementing an authenticator app to verify your identity like Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Authy.


3. Be mindful of workplace chat apps

Lastly, the Financial Times recommends employees be wary of what they say on workplace chat apps such as Slack, Google Chat, and Facebook’s Workplace because they can accidentally expose confidential or inappropriate information during casual chats with their coworkers. In fact, a survey conducted in 2019 by Symphony Communications found that 25 percent of respondents shared confidential company information on these apps. Because data on these apps might be stored permanently, supervisors should remind their employees not to do anything that might cause trouble within their company or expose them to outside threats.

Although remote working comes with a myriad of health and productivity benefits for workers, telecommuters and their companies should always keep in mind these cybersecurity risks that they face due to their mobile lifestyle.