How can a business begin to address the cybersecurity risks targeting remote employees? We offer 5 tips for remote workers.
As technology continues to evolve and we rely more on the internet and electronic databases to accomplish corporate goals and meet deadlines, businesses will continue to deal with cybersecurity challenges. While the average company will have its share of issues, those that employ remote employees will have an even more significant challenge because there are so many variables necessary to allow folks to work outside of the office.
While there is much to consider, you can begin by addressing the following five major cybersecurity risks targeting remote employees.
1. Not Using Secure Equipment
Many companies make the mistake of rushing to set up their remote workforce, and this haste can often result in an insecure work-from-home setup for your staff. Management must pair up with the IT team to ensure that your employees are using the proper equipment.
Part of that is putting each agent on a router instead of a standard modem. A router provides many additional protections that a modem often lacks, including firewall protection, network security, and the ability to connect to a virtual private network that will disguise its location. Ensure the employee has the proper router settings before putting them to work.
Your team should also be provided with proper virus software, and they should be required to run scans several times per week so they can stop a potential threat before it causes major damage to the corporate network.
2. Lack of Employee Training
In the last few years, many high-profile data breaches and security incidents have impacted companies around the globe. Recent ransomware attacks have caused havoc within Microsoft Windows servers, and a data breach at the gaming site Twitch led to the leakage of confidential business data. In many cases, these intrusions could have been prevented with better employee training.
While accidents can happen, if a company wants to mitigate cyber security threats, data security must be a main component of your corporate culture. Data security training should start as soon as an employee is hired and goes through their orientation. Then, a consistent training schedule must be implemented so that your team continues to get updates as the years go by and new threats and vulnerabilities come into the spotlight. Whenever a training session is completed, have the employees sign off on what they learned to be held accountable down the road.
3. Weak Passwords
In order for any of your systems or programs to have any chance of blocking a threat, they must be secured with a strong password. Hackers can use a brute-force attack to try trillions of passwords at once, and if anyone on your team does not take their password creation seriously, they could create a vulnerability.
Proper passwords should have a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. They should also be changed regularly, and every program should have its own special code. As a side note, if an employee ever leaves the organization, their credentials should be restricted immediately.
For additional security, employees should be instructed to pair their passwords with a form of two-factor authentication. This extra security feature could include an additional code sent to the user’s phone or a biometric scan of an eye or fingerprint.
4. Falling for Phishing Scams
Another of the more common scams is phishing emails. This is when a criminal sends a message to an employee that includes a harmful link or attachment. If the message is opened and the link or attachment is clicked, it either downloads a virus or opens a connection for the hacker to access the system. In many cases, phishing emails are meant to intimidate the employee by appearing to be from a boss or vendor. The problem is that it is easier for remote workers to fall for the scam because they are not in an office, where they can ask a manager or a representative from the IT team if the email is safe.
In an attempt to protect staff from cybersecurity risks targeting remote employees, management must educate their team on the appearance of phishing emails and the warning signs that tell you that a message is illegitimate. Also, employees should be provided with a clear path to IT so they can easily report suspicious activity.
5. Employees Who Work out of Public Places
If your company allows your remote employees to work from public places, then they could be putting your company at risk. To stay protected, your team must ensure they are using a secure Wi-Fi network. One of the tactics that hackers depend on is creating fake accounts with a name similar to that of a restaurant or coffee shop. When the user unknowingly connects, they open a door for the criminal to access their device and files. If you allow employees to work outside of their homes, then set strict guidelines or prevent online work altogether.
Cybersecurity Risks Targeting Remote Employees – Final Thoughts
So there you have it — five major cybersecurity risks often targeting remote teams. Educate your team and implement the proper protections today, and you can ensure the protection of your corporation.