Is All Your Data Safe While Working From Home?

The Covid Pandemic shifted the workplace as many people know it. Stay-at-home and social distancing protocols became the order of the day. As a result, many businesses had no choice but to undergo a full digital transformation and let employees work from remote locations.  

Technological advancements such as video conferencing allowed teams to collaborate. Even with the opening up of many places, the remote working trend is still continuing. And now it is emerging that it is the latest threat when looking at cybersecurity. 

So, the reality is that not all your data is safe while working at home. We will tell you more below and the steps you can take.

Cybersecurity Challenges That Come With Working from Home

The one thing that we can admire about cybercriminals is their tenacity. Like cockroaches, they have the ability to adapt and survive whatever the situation. While the world was reeling from the impact of the pandemic, hackers were hard at work.

The sophistication levels of their attacks keep improving. There is no industry or sector that is safe from their reach. Take a look at this NERC policy document. It highlights the need for proper security guidelines and standards for organizations. Companies must have security management controls, training for personnel, and even reporting standards.

But, after the pandemic outbreak, many companies found themselves struggling to stay afloat. Employees had to continue working from remote locations. Many companies did not extend cybersecurity infrastructure to remote workers.

Even if they wanted to, many did not have the capacity to do it. They had to depend on the basic security the staff members have on their machines. In some cases, the company did have the right security measures.

But, controlling what an employee uses from home is difficult. Some staff would use home networks and personal devices. Such may not have high levels of security features.

What Do the Statistics Show?

For cybercriminals, the lax security was and continues to be cause for celebration. And there are statistics to back up this statement.

Between January and April 2020, there was a 630% increase in cloud-based breaches. 44% of companies admit that they did not train staff on remote work cybersecurity threats. A staggering 68% did not install antivirus software for the devices they issued to staff. 

Up to 24% of respondents had to resolve a malware attack after they started remote work. Google reported up to 18 million malware and phishing attacks every single day in 2020. 20% of security breaches in organizations had their origin in remote workers.

Without the right security measures, your data is not safe while working from home. 

Tips to Keep Your Data Safe

The responsibility for online security falls on both the company and employees.

Company Responsibility

The following are some of the things organizations need to do

  • Create clear remote work policies, which include safety protocol. It should also cover things like access to data and device usage.
  • Data encryption is critical. It means that only the person that you intend to receive the information has access to it.
  • Training staff members on cybersecurity is key. Employees must know how to prevent areas of vulnerability. They should, for example, not click on links whose origin they do not know. They also need to learn about data security and identifying and preventing attacks. Also important is the need to know what to do in case of a security breach. Training is an ongoing process because cyber criminals change their methodologies every day.
  • The company needs to check its existing security networks. Reports show that hackers are exploring sources of vulnerabilities on VPNs. Security teams must patch such loopholes and run relevant updates to keep them safe.

Companies must prepare for worst-case scenarios. Even with proper networks and policies, remote working conditions still pose a challenge.

Remote Worker Responsibility

When working from home take the following steps to keep your data safe.

  • Do not use an open Wi-Fi system. Hackers use unsecured networks to gain access.
  • Make it a habit to turn off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them.
  • If you must use home Wi-Fi, ensure that it is secure. If possible, use separate Wi-Fi for IoT devices and your work.
  • It doesn't hurt to invest in extra security measures. Such include proxy servers, VPNs, anti-virus, and anti-malware. Also, make sure you enable your firewall.
  • Be careful about the cloud-based products you use. You should, for example, check that it has data encryption. It makes it difficult for third parties to access your data.
  • Be extra careful with 3rd party hardware you use on your devices. USBs can introduce malware into your system. You should also not allow anyone to plug in such devices for any reason. 
  • Take note of the type of passwords you use. A combination of letters, symbols, and numerals is your best bet. You should also combine it with multi-factor authentication. Also, avoid having the same password for all your devices.
  • Remember to update your software. It gives you access to the latest security update. You also get to fix any bugs or security patches that could compromise your safety while online.
  • Store your devices well, when not in use. You avoid losing them due to theft. Unauthorized persons will also not be able to see what you have on your device if they can't access it.
  • Keep educating yourself on cybersecurity. New threats emerge every single day. It helps if you can identify and prevent them.

Final Thoughts

Remote working allows you to continue earning a living from the comfort of your home. The company can also continue normal operations. But, without the right security measures, hackers will get access to your systems. They will then introduce malicious malware that may damage your system. 

We have highlighted some things companies and employees can do to increase security. Avoid using unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi or home connections. Use strong passwords and run updates on devices. 

Companies must also have remote work security policies in place. Training employees is also critical. They need to know how to identify and react to security breaches. 

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