Cyber Security for Remote Working

Cyber Security

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Remote working is a pretty hot topic right now, or at least it has been since the beginning of the pandemic a few years ago. We are all familiar with such endlessly repeated terms as “home office”, and the communications company Zoom certainly did very well out of the pandemic.

However, it is a bit of a mistake to assume this was all down to Covid. The pandemic may have accelerated the rates of home working, but this was a trend that was very much in full swing before the pandemic hit.

Indeed, it’s the type of trend that has only seen continual growth over recent years, with the benefits of working from home becoming less and less offset by the drawbacks. Communication technology is now more than capable of facilitating wieldy and robust communication between disparate employees, and there are all sorts of software available now to create virtual offices.

This is all broadly good news, but it certainly comes with a few challenges that we have not had to consider before. A major one is cyber security, and how this has developed to face the unique threats posed by working remotely. It is one thing having devices connected to a company server within one physical location; extending that far and wide technically opens up the system to breaches.

Still, the situation is positive. Remote working would not be making the strides it is if the cyber threats outweighed the obvious benefits. Hillstone Networks, cybersecurity experts, say that remote working cyber security has become its own discipline, answering the specific threats that come with multiple employees communicating remotely over a non-internal network.

The Risks

So, what are the cybersecurity threats posed by remote work, and how do they differ from the traditional cyber security threats businesses and offices have had to contend with for some time?

Naturally, a large part of the risk comes from the behavior of employees when they are handling sensitive company data away from the office. There’s certainly no substitute for a degree of employee education in this area. The classic example of an employee working on an open public network – in a café or somewhere similar – is something that should clearly be avoided.

Here follows some further risks:

Insecure Devices

The device used for home work may not be a company device, with all the security features that might have installed. Employees using their own devices is certainly an acceptable option, but there needs to be added security installed on those devices to match the information they are handling.

Family Member Interference

Small kids playing with their parent’s laptop, or a teenager borrowing it to browse the net, can lead to a security risk. It is always wise to keep family and friends away from work devices.

VPN Security

Remote workers may well employ a company VPN to remotely work together with coworkers. VPNs can be opened to security threats when used remotely, as anyone can access them with the requisite information. Extra VPN security should always be employed and employee education about how to safely use the company VPN also comes highly advised.

Video Conferencing Security

The video conferencing platform Zoom recently had to address security concerns after a spate of “zoom bombing” attacks were reported. This is when hackers can gain access to a zoom video call, interfere with it, or simply listen in silence and potentially gaining valuable information. Additional access clearance and security is always advised when video calls take place remotely.

Remote working has certainly been a benefit for the vast majority of businesses. But unsurprisingly, it has come with new risks.

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