Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, though, remote work has risen significantly in popularity. According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 27% of U.S. employees work remotely at least part-time, and other studies put the figure at closer to 50%.
If you have employees working from home, it’s critical to understand cybersecurity for remote workers. Purchasing a cyber liability policy is a smart way to safeguard your company from cyber-related losses. Below, find a few more ways to protect your business from cyber threats.
Top Security Issues for a Remote Workforce
Perhaps the biggest challenge with remote working is the lack of access your IT staff has to an employee device. When employees work in the office, it’s easy to assist with their computers, email, and network equipment. If employees work from home, this is very difficult to do.
Other security challenges include phishing attempts, protecting data from loss, and using unsafe software and collaboration tools. We’ll discuss each of these challenges in more detail below.
More Attack Surfaces
When employees work and connect to your network remotely, you introduce potentially hundreds of new attack surfaces, some of which likely have lackluster cybersecurity for remote workers. To protect against threats, require employees to install antivirus software on their devices before connecting to the network.
Data Loss Issues
Data loss can spell disaster for your company, and the risk goes up when you allow employees to work from home.
Regularly backing up your data is one of the best ways to safeguard against loss. You should also restrict sharing to authorized cloud services and applications only. Additionally, enforce the use of encrypted communication channels.
Unsecured Remote Access
Unauthorized employees should not have access to your network or any company data on it. It’s essentially impossible to prevent unauthorized access if you leave your network open for anyone in the world to connect to it.
To prevent unauthorized access attempts, adopt a zero-trust policy that requires employees to verify their identity each time they try to access the network. You can enforce this with multi-factor authentication (for example, requiring an employee to verify their ID by signing in through email when they attempt to access your network).
Social Engineering and Phishing
Phishing is one of the most insidious cyber threats. Today’s phishing emails are very sophisticated and can easily fool a trained professional into clicking on a malicious link.
It’s impossible to monitor all of your remote employees’ emails, so training is the best prevention against phishing attempts. Inform your employees how to identify phishing emails and what to do if they receive one.
Identifying marks of a phishing email include:
- The email has a generic greeting
- The email incites a sense of urgency (for example, by saying there’s a problem with an account and users must respond within 24 hours to fix it)
- The email supplies a link that users can follow to “fix” the issue
- The email asks for sensitive data, such as a password or date of birth
Unpatched Collaboration Tools
Collaboration tools are a must-have for nearly all remote employees. Although convenient, they pose a potential security risk.
Select your collaboration tools carefully. Only use tools that encrypt data at rest and in transit. Also, make sure to download updates and patches as soon as they become available.
Safeguard Your Sensitive Information with Cyber Insurance
There are many benefits of remote work, but without proper cybersecurity for remote workers, your data could be at risk. In addition to following the tips above, it’s also smart to purchase cyber liability insurance. Our insurance protects your business from all cyber-related losses, including hacking, breaches, and ransomware.