Cybersecurity Remote Work

Have you Considered the Cyber Security Risks of Remote Work?

04/05/2022
Cybersecurity Remote Work

Remote work has become increasingly common. While remote work allows for greater flexibility in terms of location and schedule, it also carries increased risks when it comes to cyber threats.

There are many different types of such cyber threats that businesses need to be aware of, including malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and social engineering hacks. These can lead to data theft or corruption, financial losses due to downtime or lost productivity, loss of customer trust and reputation damage, regulatory fines or penalties, and even business closure in extreme cases.

In this post, we look at three issues that companies should think about before adopting remote work.

Unsecured Networks or Devices

Remote workers may use wi-fi networks that are often unsecured and vulnerable to attacks. Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities they can exploit, and when employees are working remotely, they may be unaware that they have placed themselves at risk by using unsecured networks or devices.

Furthermore, remote workers may store sensitive information on unsecure devices or share login credentials without considering the consequences, leaving data and systems at risk at all times.

There are several steps that you can take to reduce this risk.

The first step is to strictly enforce all security policies related to access permissions. This means ensuring that only authorized users have access to your company's networks and controlling who has permission to install software on their work devices. Businesses should consider providing employees with VPN access to help keep their data safe while working remotely. An extra layer of security can be added through two-factor authentication. When connecting to servers through VPN, users are typically required to enter a username and password. However, with two-factor authentication, an additional step is required. This could involve entering a code that is sent to a mobile device or using a biometric verification such as a fingerprint. This makes it much harder for unauthorized users to gain access to systems as they would need not only have the correct credentials but also the physical device or biometric data.

Secondly, companies must ensure that their remote workers are properly trained and follow best practices for cybersecurity on a continuous  basis. Without direct supervision or a centralized office environment, remote employees may not be aware of the latest data security protocols or best practices for keeping sensitive information secure. Therefore, it is critical that organizations take appropriate steps to mitigate these risks by providing clear communication channels. Safety policies for protecting company information while working remotely should be clearly outlined. For example, employees should be instructed to connect only to known and trusted networks, and should be warned against using public Wi-Fi or sharing company information over unsecured connections.

Businesses need to make use of modern security tools that can monitor network activity and alert system admins in real-time if there are any suspicious activities taking place so that appropriate actions can be taken quickly such as notifying users about suspicious activities and disabling affected devices. In addition, it is crucial to develop a clear protocol for handling any data breaches.

Social Engineering Hacks

Social engineering hacks are a type of cyber attack that targets the human element of a system. Unlike traditional malware and exploits, which focus on software and networks, social engineering hacks are designed to manipulate and trick individual users. These attacks may take the form of phishing scams, which use fake emails or fraudulent websites to extract sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. They may also be used to infiltrate an organization's internal systems through unethical means, such as eavesdropping or exploiting human vulnerabilities like greed.

Remote workers are more vulnerable to phishing scams because remote workers may be less familiar with their colleagues. As a result, they may be more inclined to do things that put them at risk, such as clicking on links in emails sent by impostors claiming to be their co-workers.

Because hackers use social engineering methods rather than technical ways, these attacks are difficult to defend against, making them a serious risk for any organization. However, by being aware of the tactics used in social engineering hacks and educating employees about common threats, you can help to minimize their impact and keep your organizations safe from harm.

Cloud Computing Risks

Cloud computing is a popular and increasingly important technology that offers many benefits, including enhanced collaboration and data storage, simplified access to applications, and cost savings on hardware. It greatly helps businesses implement remote working arrangements effectively. However, as with any technology, there are potential vulnerabilities that must be considered.

One of the main risks is security. Because data is often stored online and accessed remotely, it can be vulnerable to attacks from hackers or other unauthorized parties. Another risk stems from the possibility of service interruptions or outages due to power failures or natural disasters. Finally, because cloud computing relies on networking infrastructure provided by third parties, disruptions in internet service may result in accessing delays or failures when people are trying to work remotely.

As a first step, you should assess your organization's networking and data security capabilities, as well as its privacy policies and regulatory compliance requirements, in order to determine whether your organization is ready to move to the cloud.  It is also crucial to develop a comprehensive data management strategy and carefully evaluate the terms of service for different cloud providers, so that you can choose the best option for your needs.

Next step is to make sure that you select a reputable cloud provider with a strong track record of reliability and security. To effectively test the vulnerability of the vendors'  systems, it is crucial to understand how they function on a technical level and how they are designed to prevent breaches. Some key elements to consider include user authentication methods, data encryption protocols, server location, regulatory compliance, backup and recovery processes, and network security measures.

With proper due diligence and planning, and working with experts in the field, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how well a particular cloud solution can protect against cyber-attacks. This can help businesses can reap the benefits of cloud computing without exposing themselves to undue risk.

Conclusion

To truly benefit from remote work arrangements while avoiding malicious hackers who seek to exploit its growing popularity, organizations must invest in efficient cyber security solutions.

While investing in cybersecurity will involve some upfront costs, the long-term impact of not managing cyber threats properly can be devastating for businesses.

Fortify your cyber resilience and secure your critical assets.

Our cybersecurity experts can help you plan, prepare and test your organisation's approach to cyber resilience.

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Adeline Ng, Partner, Crowe Singapore
Adeline Ng
Partner
Audit
Chia Shu Siang Crowe Singapore
Chia Shu Siang
Director
Risk Advisory
people
Alvin Neo
Director
Technology