Working Remotely: How To Secure The Work-From-Home Environment

Man working remotely at home

As cyber criminals take advantage of flaws in remote working setups, we’re looking at ways to operate securely in these uncertain times.

It’s amazing just how quickly ‘the new normal’ has become…well, normal.

Go back twelve months and ask any industry expert for their insights headed into the year, and it’s unlikely any of them could have predicted this. Sure, working remotely is nothing new. It’s been growing in popularity for years. Yet even we couldn’t have seen this kind of monumental, rapid change coming.

As we’ve discussed in recent months, the shift in how the world works has changed the way we all work. Organisations, enterprises, and board rooms have had to adapt to remote working on short notice. Digital solutions like governance risk & compliance software are now the norm. Cybersecurity risks are on the rise, as are data breaches as a result.

It’s a tough world out there at the moment…

…but it’s what’s happening within the four walls most of us find ourselves working within that may be putting your organisation, its data, and its documents most at risk.

The security risks are coming from inside the house

A rushed response has left massive security gaps in organisations across the globe.

As Charlie Osborne reported over at ZDNet in her article “Working from home causes surge in security breaches, staff ‘oblivious’ to best practices” published in late August, a recent report from Malwarebytes highlights just how much of a security issue working remotely has become:

“…since the start of the pandemic, remote workers have caused a security breach in 20% of organizations.”

That’s not all. Malwarebytes also found that 24% of organisations have had to pay unexpected costs to address cybersecurity breaches or malware infections, while 5% stated that their staff were “oblivious” to best security practices.

Cybersecurity may conjure images of dimly lit rooms, nefarious websites, and shady individuals hacking network mainframes with not one but two keyboards, but the reality is much simpler: one of today’s biggest threats to your organization’s cybersecurity is…you and your home working environment.

In the last few months alone, basic human errors and preventable mistakes have led to data breaches that have made international headlines. Australia’s iTNews recently reported that “Tens of thousands of scanned NSW driver’s licenses and completed tolling notice statutory declarations were left exposed on an open Amazon Web Services storage instance…“.

Elsewhere, The Guardian highlights a hack of Service NSW that “…led to the theft of more than 500,000 documents containing personal information relating to 186,000 people…” could have been prevented by simply enabling multi-factor authentication.

The question is, how do you avoid becoming the next headline?

Securing your remote working environments is as simple as…

The new normal is the new normal for a reason: it isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

As the dust begins to settle on a year we’d all likely rather forget, it’s vital that your organisation takes action to ensure it’s able to operate securely in this new environment now and into the future. Here’s how:

  • Review your organisation’s data protection, security plan, and remote working policies to ensure they’re up-to-date and relevant for today’s environment.
  • Secure home and/or remote WiFi networks with strong passwords and ensure the network isn’t being shared by other devices or users.
  • Avoid sending sensitive information or data to private or personal email accounts, computers, or devices as they tend to be far less secure.
  • Where possible, only use work-issued devices that have been prepared by your IT team.
  • Ensure staff are up-to-speed with the latest security threats such as phishing scams or malware.
  • Limit employees’ remote access to only the data they need to carry out their jobs, which is simply to do with governance risk & compliance software such as Stellar.
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