What Are The Security Risks of Home Working?

Help To Protect Your Remote Staff And Their Digital Access

Remote workers are the latest security risk for your company – how can you safeguard your confidential data?

In April 2020, 49.2% of UK adults worked from home during lockdown, forcing the largest switch to remote working in history. In a relatively quick time, companies up and down the country have had to adapt their internal processes, invest in new collaborative software and rapidly update their company policies and guidelines.

Remote working has been popular with employees and employers alike. Staff have enjoyed the flexibility of spending extra time with their families and quitting the daily commute, whilst employers have been pleasantly surprised to discover that productivity hasn’t been lost whilst cost-savings have been made. However, security remains a top concern by employers, as home working reduces the control that companies have over the working environment.

Cybersecurity

Hackers are always on the lookout for new targets, and home working has created multiple security vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit. Perhaps one of the earliest security threats that was identified during lockdown, was related to the widespread global adoption of Zoom video conference software. Developers have quickly tightened up the protection of this popular app, but it did serve to highlight the immediate security difficulties faced by the remote working model.

Physical Break-Ins

Alongside digital hacking, there’s also an increased risk of confidential company data being exposed or stolen during a domestic break-in. If your employees are the victims of a robbery, then company or personal IT devices such as laptops, tablets or smartphones may all be taken. How will your company handle the threat of this type of break-in? Will you still be compliant with your business or industry regulations in this scenario? A burglar alarms Essex firm reveals that some organisations are helping to protect employee homes by contributing towards the installation of security systems to ward off the opportunist thief. Others are enhancing their security authentication protocols to ensure that data cannot be obtained from devices that end up in the wrong hands.

Covid Phishing Scams

One of the top threats to the security of your company comes from a lack of staff training. This is particularly so with regards to the identification of phishing emails. During the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in Covid-themed scam messages which target home workers. In fact, approximately 27% of consumers had already received such emails by the end of July. Employers who invest in staff training for their employees can help to halt the impact of phishing, by preventing these messages from being opened or spread around the organisation. Effective training will provide staff with a protocol to follow from their home office, if they believe that they’ve been the target of a phishing scam. These can often be solved remotely by IT support crews, but will be entirely dependent on the cooperation of the home working employee.

Business Continuity

The pandemic may have already highlighted several weaknesses in your current business continuity plan. There’s nothing like the disbanding of your workforce to scattered home offices to generate some key security issues. Rather than panic, it’s best to see this as an opportunity to create some robust disaster recovery policies for your firm.