Remote work security is an aspect of cybersecurity specifically concerned with providing adequate protection to corporate data and work implemented outside the corporate environment.

Companies need to connect with their remote workers regardless of their location. It is even more critical that the connection is safe for workers and the organization they work for. Remote work cybersecurity is essential for employees who work remotely due to diverse scenarios, including remote work time, business travel, or the duration of work outside the organization’s four walls.

Security Risks of Working Remotely

Working remotely poses some threats to corporate data, and when organizations refuse to address them, they can result in significant attacks on the network. Here are some security risks of running a remote work system.

1. Employees Accessing Corporate Data Through Unsecured Networks

Most employees are unaware of the insecurity they are putting company data into using public internet or unsecured home wireless networks. 

Many cybercriminals are well sophisticated to take advantage of vulnerable points to tap into unsecured home wireless networks and access sensitive and confidential data for secret information. VPNs have helped offer secure access to remote staff and the companies they work with.

2. The Risk of Physical Theft

There is also the possibility of physical corporate data theft occurring with remote and hybrid systems. Whether working at home or in shared office spaces, they can become vulnerable to physical thefts on their personal properties. For instance, their phones or laptops could be stolen, and corporate data could be easily accessible to thieves.

And if companies have not made an effort to ensure data encryption between the employee and the organization, then any data would be accessed. Some companies may offer remote staff extra money to set up a personal home office with the necessary security. They may also set it up for them.

3. Employing Personal Computers Both for Work and Personal Business 

Many workers who work from their location only use their devices for carrying out their work tasks alone; they also use them for personal business. And since many companies do not provide company devices for the remote workers to work with, they are usually unable to caution this aspect of employees’ work.

What this means to a company is that sensitive corporate data can be stored easily and insecurely on personal devices. In essence, if the employee changes work or leave the company for any reason, sensitive company data would be available for easy manipulation.

Also, an employee may refuse to update their device’s security, making them vulnerable to breaches. This is one key reason businesses may operate a clear remote work policy addressing cybersecurity operating rules and procedures.

4. Email Scams and Phishing

Phishing and email scams are usually targeted at remote employees. Many of these attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are getting employees unprepared. These forms of attacks are typically presented as legitimate and credible. However, when employees respond to those emails by clicking on the links provided, their systems may become infiltrated by malicious malware, or they may have provided sensitive information such as bank details and passwords or may have even paid a massive amount of money into a wrong bank account used in the phishing attack.

Corporate data may be stolen or destroyed if an employee’s system becomes infected by malicious malware. Thereby hampering business operations.

There are practical measures that can be deployed to remove phishing emails; however, some of them still escape. This is one reason employees must constantly update their malware filters. In addition, staff training in identifying and avoiding phishing attacks becomes highly essential due to the high risks and prevalence of these attacks. Remote users should check the secured padlock and HTTPS before the domain name while opening any link. After Google’s suggestion to purchase an SSL certificate for each website owner. Most authenticate websites except phishing sites use HTTPS. SSL certificate ensures data integrity and security.

5. Utilizing Weak Security Passwords or Passcodes

Many passwords used by employees are weak and predictable. An estimated 81% of data breaches are reported to have occurred due to poor password security.

So, the company’s security framework is still highly porous even if a company considers VPN solutions, but their staff uses predictable passwords for their apps and accounts. Also, people who use relatively strong passwords repeated across different accounts can get vulnerable to attacks if the password leaks.

6. Transferring Files that Unencrypted

Many companies put in place file encryption on their networks. However, when those files are being transferred, if they are not encrypted, they could be accessed by hackers. And that could result in private client and company data being exposed. These data can be used to commit various nefarious acts such as extortion, ransom attacks, and identity fraud.

Providing Remote Security Infrastructure in Your Company

Create a Cybersecurity Policy for Remote Systems. Ensure your company has a policy that outlines and describes the limitations and parameters of working from remote locations. With this document, employees expected to take adequate caution in how they use their devices and connect to a network. And the kind of information they release or receive from people on the internet.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). When you have to work constantly on the internet, it is essential to have multiple security layers in place to address how data is being accessed and utilized. So, on top of passwords, with MFA technology, you might require to use fingerprint identification or one-time passwords (OTP). In essence, a user who cannot provide the extra security information will be denied even if he can access passwords.

Train your remote and office workers. May company workers do not know about the risks present in their work and how they can affect the organization they work for. Hence it is essential to have periodic sessions to train and educate them on the risks of taking specific actions and how they can also use security tools

to their advantage. Furthermore, it is essential to help them realize that these security issues don’t affect the company alone but also concern them.

Deploying Zero Trust security solutions. The idea behind Zero Trust is quite simple: Trust none, verify all. It requires all users within or outside an organization’s network to be authenticated, validated and authorized continuously. With this in place, it would become challenging for a breach in corporate data.