Remote working offers a number of advantages for businesses and their employees, but it also brings potential risks for data security. While the flexibility to work from home, clients’ offices or any other location with an internet connection provides a lot of freedom, companies have to take the proper precautions to stay safe.
Understanding the risks that remote working can present and how to protect your business against them is vital. With proper data security measures in place, you will be free to enjoy all the advantages of remote working, without having to worry about critical business data being compromised.
The following are the main remote working security concerns you need to be aware of and our advice on how to avoid them.
Perhaps the biggest cyber threat modern businesses face is from malware – malicious software that infects your computers to steal data or otherwise compromise your business. According to one report, 54% of British businesses have been attacked by a particular type of malware known as “ransomware”. This locks your files and requires you to pay a fee to the attackers to regain access to your data.
Good data security practices, such as having good quality antivirus software, will normally protect you from such threats. However, if employees are using their own devices to access company data, their personal security measures may be less robust.
Whether employees are using their own or company issues devices, make sure they are all using company approved antivirus software and that this is kept up-to-date with all the latest versions and updates. Antivirus software is updated all the time to take account of newly identified threats, so making sure all employees are always using the most current version is absolutely critical.
Many companies allow employees to remotely access key assets, such as data and software, hosted on private servers or the cloud. This can be a quick, convenient way to enable staff to share resources, but also presents a major risk if an employee’s login data becomes compromised.
There are a number of ways hackers can acquire login details, but once they have them they potentially have access to your entire network. This can allow them to steal data, plant malware or cause all sorts of other problems.
Firstly, make sure staff are taking basic precautions, such as creating strong passwords and changing them regularly. Secondly, consider segmenting your network to limit the amount of damage that can be done by a single compromised login. What this means is giving individual users access only to the parts of your network, and associated data, that they absolutely need.
By making sure only people who really need it have access to your most sensitive data, you instantly cut the number of potential leaks. You can then make sure those people who do need access to critical data have additional cyber security training and measures in place. You may even choose to restrict people from accessing your most sensitive data except when using an approved device on your premises.
With most of us now connecting to the internet through wifi, it’s important to understand how big an impact wifi security can have. This is especially true if your employees are nipping into their local coffee shop or any other public location to do some work.
Public wifi tends to be unencrypted, which can open you up to a range of threats. Digital snoopers may be able to track what sites you are accessing and even sometimes what data you are entering into those websites.
The simplest solution is to avoid accessing any sensitive websites or data when using a public wifi network. You can also consider using remote desktop software, which offers its own encryptions or using a virtual proxy network (VPN), which masks the identity of any sites you are accessing.
Remote working – Staying safe
Being able to work from any location safely and securely can offer many benefits to your staff and business. City Business Solutions specialise in IT security for the legal industry, so if you are interested in secure remote working we can provide a solution that works for you.
To find out more about how we can help keep your business secure, please get in touch.