The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in many day-to-day changes in most people’s lives. A Gallup Poll reported on May 22, 2020, that almost 7 in 10 employees were working from home.
This shift has made cybersecurity the #1 concern across the technology industry. Employees working in telecommuting jobs often believe their home is safe. Companies must educate their workers about cybersecurity and provide protection.
Continue reading to learn more about this critical issue.
Increase in Remote Workers with the COVID-19 Pandemic
Safe-at-home and social distancing mandates forced companies to create a virtual work environment. This change is being called a “watershed moment” in the workforce configuration. The June 2020, Conference Board survey of 154 human capital executives showed that they see this as a long-term change.
This anticipated change is the result of both health and economic concerns. Factors include lower real estate costs and decreased access of employees to childcare.
Since the pandemic closed schools and daycares, employees no longer have childcare options. Thus, employers can keep their employees working by moving to remote settings.
Cybersecurity Risks Associated with Telecommuting Jobs
The pandemic not only brought health risks but an increase in cybersecurity attacks . Threats erupted via email and endpoint-security gaps. Much of this resulted from the rapid change to remote work.
In response to these threats, 38 states, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, are taking action. They’ve introduced over 280 new cybersecurity bills.
You may ask why remote settings increase the risk. In the traditional office setting, IT managers control the Wi-Fi networks.
Most home networks have weaker protocols. This means that hackers can more easily access home network traffic.
The greatest cause of data breaches occurs through phishing attacks. These hackers appear legitimate. Their masterfully compelling emails contain dangerous links and attachments. It only takes one employee clicking on the link for the hacker to gain access to the computer.
When the employee connects to the company’s network, the cybercriminal can also gain access. One fatal click can bring the business to a standstill.
Another security risk involves cutting corners. This can occur when systems aren’t encrypted, lack two-factor authentication, or have lax password practices.
In today’s world, it’s not worth the risk. Make sure that all remote workers use encryption and two-factor authentications. This is vital if they access the main network.
Also, establish standards for passwords and enforce password changes on a set schedule. Most experts recommend moving from hardware-based legacy VPNs to cloud-agnostic and scalable solutions. VPNs can leave vulnerabilities in your remote security efforts.
Actions to Mitigate Risks with Remote Workers
Educate employees on cybersecurity and track the user’s compliance with security standards. Part of cybersecurity awareness should teach employees to watch for signs of breaches. This can include:
- Unexpected installation of new programs
- Noticeable slowing of computer processing
- Odd pop-up ads showing on the screen
- Losing control of the keyboard or mouse
The best practice is to conduct periodic virtual training updates for all employees. Provide updates on the latest cyber-attack strategies.
Also, reiterate the importance of maintaining vigilance as they work remotely. Remind them that no one else should use the company-provided computer for any reason. This can be tempting when working from home.
Do You Have a Remote Workforce?
Does your company have employees working in telecommuting jobs? Are you meeting the cybersecurity standards described in this article?
Black Bottle IT offers next-generation technology security solutions to ensure cybersecurity compliance. We continuously monitor for vulnerabilities and attacks.
We understand that protecting customer data is the highest priority.
Contact us today so we can learn about your cybersecurity compliance needs.
And, click on over to our blog on the Importance of Cybersecurity Training for Your Team.