Digital security has always been important, and the industry keeps expanding as more information lives in the cloud. But ensuring your employees are secure is especially vital in a post-pandemic world.
Remote and hybrid work environments are the new normal in the wake of Covid-19, and organizations spend a lot of time and energy finding the best ways to communicate and collaborate from a distance. Investing in security is just as important as, if not more than, streamlining those day-to-day tasks.
Not only is this wise planning for potential large-scale shutdowns — it’s realistic planning for a world that’s increasingly reliant on digital connections rather than face-to-face interactions.
In this post, we discuss common security challenges for the distributed workforce and talk about how to proactively adapt and scale your security posture to ensure every employee is a secure remote worker.
Common Threats to Remote Workers’ Secure Access
Some level of risk will always exist when work happens online. While employers can do a lot to mitigate risk in the office, they often have far less control over the devices, networks, and practices of remote workers.
A person or entity who wants to attack and take advantage of these weaknesses (known as “bad actors”) is fully aware of them and can step ahead of workers who aren’t on the lookout.
Remote and hybrid (a combination of in-office and at-home work) models come with a handful of security concerns that put sensitive employee, employer, and client data at risk. Among them are:
- Unsecured devices. Using personal devices for anything work-related is not best practice, but it still happens. From outdated security software to lost files, work data is much more vulnerable the moment it lives outside company devices.
- Open networks. Employees outside the office typically use their home internet or public networks in coffee shops or libraries. This is a bigger concern if they’re also using personal devices. Still, accessing home and open networks on a work computer remains risky, as the router security tends to be less maintained than it would be at an office.
- No backup and recovery. Organizations should have plans in place for data backup and recovery. These systems protect you from data loss due to a power outage, cyber attacks, and employee error. A complete plan would include how you create, organize, and save data as well as tools for getting lost data back.
- Unencrypted files. A lot of the data and content shared within an organization contains sensitive information, such as social security numbers, health irecords, financial details, etc. Any encryption used within the office may not apply when files are transferred outside the network.
- Email scams. Email is the most common way for malware and other hacks to spread, and they’re increasingly tough to spot. Known as “phishing,” email scams usually attempt to get recipients to interact with malicious links or files. Keeping work on the same device or network that connects to personal email immediately puts your organization at risk.
- Weak passwords. Reusing passwords, storing them carelessly, or using obvious words are all risky, and even more so on a device or network that isn’t secure. For example, using the same password for a personal social media account and your company’s accounting, all on the same device, means your work’s financial information is significantly more accessible to bad actors.
- No multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires users to show they’re allowed to access something via more than one factor. For example, it may need a password and a fingerprint before granting access. Or a remote worker may need to provide information on a second, pre-approved device. Remote workers accessing sensitive data should be required to use MFA to access work data.
Even the most diligent employers and careful employees run the risk of security breaches when work happens away from the office. So, what can you do to safeguard your organization in an increasingly remote work landscape?
Enhance Security With Proactive Defense
The best way to be ready for digital security threats to remote work is the proactive defense of advanced cloud security. A solid system will be flexible and reliable, and scalable to your organization’s size and concerns.
Look for three major things when enhancing your digital security for remote workers:
1. A Layered Approach to Digital Security
Today’s businesses have numerous points of vulnerability. Not only do you have the computers and other devices in your office space, but each remote worker may have extra devices accessing your files.
From email and file storage to downloads and client communication, you’ve got countless places where bad actors will try to worm their way in. Your digital security should consider all of them and implement solutions, starting with effective backup and disaster recovery planning, and spanning all the way to endpoint detection, monitoring, and threat responses.
2. A Financial Investment That Suits Your Needs
Expanding your digital infrastructure can be expensive. Many organizations will have to prioritize where they focus spending for digital security. A great place to start is investing in backups (like the world-class BaaS offered by Veeam), making data restoration easier in the event of an attack.
No matter how you invest in security, keep in mind that what you’re spending should be compared to what it can save you down the road. This is important because businesses of all sizes get attacked. That makes security a paramount consideration, especially when you consider the fact that cyber attacks have increased 300% in the last 12 months alone.
The bottom line here is that you should make sure to weigh all factors as you invest in your defenses and disaster recovery options!
3. Digital Security Experts to Guide You
Some employers want to set their digital security up and forget about it, trusting that the system will do its job while business operates as usual. Other employers are very hands-on, looking to customize and adapt on an ongoing basis.
Whatever you’re looking for, from VPN access to ongoing guidance, it’s well worth your time and money to have a dedicated team of experts ensure you’re ready for whatever threats come your way.
Virtual Systems Provides Robust Security for Remote Work Environments
At Virtual Systems, we want to leave the world better than we found it, and that includes your organization’s digital security. As remote work becomes the standard, you can trust us to be the cloud-first IT partner you need to keep your employees and your organization safe.
We fully support your decision to work from anywhere and can help you set up the cloud workspaces to make it happen. Better yet, we’ve got the security, backup, and recovery services that will make that model sustainable.