6/28/2022

5 Common Cybersecurity Risks for Remote Employees

Remote work is changing the way businesses operate. Companies can let workers complete tasks from the comfort of home. This helps businesses reduce their overhead costs and improve worker satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

There is a lot to like about letting employees work remotely. However, companies must account for the cybersecurity of remote workers. Failure to do so can expose a business and its remote workers to cyber risks. It can even lead to a data breach that damages a company's brand reputation and revenues. 

Now, let's look at five common cybersecurity risks for remote workers and ways to combat these issues. 

1. Phishing Attacks

A cybercriminal can launch a phishing attack to steal business data from remote employees. During the attack, a cybercriminal uses a seemingly innocuous email to get a remote worker to click on a malicious link or download a malicious attachment. If the worker does, the hacker can install malware that compromises the end-user's system.

Teach employees about phishing attacks and other common email scams. To do so, you can use gamification and other training materials. You can also develop a training program to keep remote workers up to date on phishing scams and other evolving cyber threats.   

2. Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Remote employees may work at a coffee shop or other public venue. When they do, they can sign into a public Wi-Fi network. Yet, using public Wi-Fi can be dangerous.

Cybercriminals can compromise public Wi-Fi networks. If a remote worker accesses one of these networks, a hacker can do the same. In this instance, the hacker can access information stored on the employee's device. 

Provide remote workers with a list of public Wi-Fi dos and don'ts. This list can help remote workers safely use public Wi-Fi networks. 

Remote workers should avoid using personally identifiable information (PII) and a virtual private network (VPN) on public Wi-Fi networks. They should also turn off file sharing on their devices. 

In addition, it may be beneficial to provide workers with unlimited data coverage for their mobile devices. This ensures workers can rely on their own data coverage rather than use public Wi-Fi networks. 

3. Inadequate Password Protection

A company may let its remote workers use their personal devices for work. This can help a company save money since it won't have to supply remote employees with devices. On the other hand, remote workers must password-protect their devices to guard against data breaches. 

Research indicates most smartphone users have not set up password security on their devices. If a device falls into the wrong hands, cybercriminals can access the user's data and use it however they choose.

Establish a password security policy for remote work devices. Require employees to set up strong passwords for any devices they use for work tasks. Passwords should contain a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Remote workers should also update their passwords regularly. 

4. Infrequent Software Updates

Businesses can provide software to help their remote workers complete everyday tasks. The software enables remote employees to remain productive and efficient. But it can create security issues.

Cybercriminals frequently exploit software vulnerabilities. They look for software that has not been updated. If hackers identify a software vulnerability, they can use it to penetrate an end-user's system. This enables hackers to access the user's system without being noticed. 

Require remote employees to update their work software. These workers can set up automatic downloads on their devices. That way, remote workers always have the latest software updates.

Businesses should keep an eye out for software vulnerabilities, too. Notify remote workers any time a software vulnerability is identified. Share any tips and recommendations to help workers remediate the vulnerability right away. 

5. Sharing Unencrypted Files 

It is common for remote workers to communicate and collaborate. These workers may share files throughout the work day. In these instances, employees may inadvertently make sensitive business data publicly available. 

Unencrypted file sharing is a big problem for many businesses. To address the issue, a company must verify that its data is encrypted both when it's in storage and transit. 

A business must consider both physical and virtual office security relative to file sharing. This enables a company to identify the best ways to keep its data secure, regardless of where it's stored. It also empowers a business with insights it can use to encrypt its data both in storage and in transit. 

Protect Your Remote Employees Against Cybersecurity Risks

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting remote workers, and they show no signs of slowing down any time soon. With the right approach to cybersecurity, a business can take precautions to keep its remote workers safe now and in the future. 

Get started with cybersecurity for remote workers today. Set up a virtual office that helps remote workers stay on track without compromising the security of business data. From here, a company can work in lockstep with its remote employees to optimize cybersecurity across its operations. 

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