Remote work has been a hot topic for more than a year now. But as we move further from the excitement and fervor of 2020’s drastic pivots, new trends are emerging that show us the impact of remote work on cybersecurity. Here are some of the most important takeaways.
Remote work doesn’t just mean working from home. Your employees can now work from anywhere that has Wi-Fi, and that means they’re connecting their work devices to networks at home, at their favorite library or coffee shop, and more. This has shifted the cybersecurity focus from securing their network to implementing VPNs. This popular remote work cybersecurity measure can help keep business data safe while employees are on the move.
The Emergence of the ‘Disrupted Employee’
A disrupted employee is someone who is trying to do their job safely and correctly, but they are doing so with fewer security measures and no one around to spot check. For employees who struggle with technology, it’s very easy to encounter an issue and just soldier through rather than trying to connect with your IT staff via Zoom, chat, or email.
Disrupted employees are a threat to the integrity of your business’s remote work cybersecurity because they don’t know what they’re doing wrong. This has led to an increase in phishing attacks (up 64% in 2020) and credential stuffing – where cybercriminals obtain usernames and passwords from one business to use in another related business.
To remedy this, your teams should hold more frequent informational sessions to help smooth out any kinks and answer questions that your now-settled remote workers may have.
The Hybrid Workforce is Changing Password Security
According to Darren James at Specops Software, strengthening password security should be a top priority for businesses that have remote workers, or a mix of in-office and remote employees. This hybrid workforce is a growing preference for many people around the world. 55% of employees say they want to work remotely at least 3 days per week even after the COVID-19 concerns go down.
And with this emergence of the hybrid workforce as a dominant practice, remote work cybersecurity will be the main concern, specifically pertaining to password strength. While many services and software applications have their own password hygiene, many companies do not have a standard policy they require their employees follow.
As we mentioned above, remote devices are vast and diverse in their uses and security features. Standardizing the password process across your entire organization can close a lot of gaps in remote work cybersecurity.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should take a look at the process you have when employees need to change a password. Previously, this process was run through the IT desk in-house, but without the proper security and verification steps, an unauthorized or malicious user could worm their way into your system using your approved process.
Boosting Freedoms through Isolation Environments
Many studies are showing that employees are requesting more freedom when it comes to their devices – they want to be able to perform personal tasks on the computers they use for work, and answer work calls and emails from their mobile devices. They want the ability to create more productivity based in individual work styles and preferences.
Understandably, the biggest drawbacks to this trend are the security concerns. And a great way to combat these issues is to use various isolation techniques, specifically with browsers.
We are all constantly surfing the web – Googling life hacks and quick answers, researching ideas and concepts for work and out of sheer curiosity, checking social media, ordering lunch – the list is endless. One way to create this browser isolation is to run it through the cloud on behalf of the user, says TechRepublic. Rather than opening the website on any individual device, the website is directed to the cloud and housed there while the user interacts in real-time.
The Future of Remote Work Cybersecurity
With a year of remote work trials and tribulations under our belts, it’s time to start thinking about how these temporary measures are going to evolve into long-term solutions and policies. The cybersecurity threats associated with remote and hybrid work aren’t going away, and the future of your business depends on your IT department’s ability to combat these threats.
CyberFort Advisors has a wide range of SOC services, including firewall management, to protect and monitor your sensitive data to ensure your data is secure. Contact us at 1 (866) 221-4004 or email [email protected] to learn more.