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The Vulnerabilities of Working From Home

Whilst some companies may have altered the way they operate prior to Covid-19, adopting remote working sooner than most, many businesses across the UK were quickly forced to implement the necessary measures that would allow their employees to work from home. However, in the haste to get everything arranged, some may have overlooked potential security risks.

This leaves their business vulnerable to hackers and data breaches as long as they work from home. This is far from ideal, particularly when you consider the huge spike in cyber-attacks that are taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Even more shocking is that many security threats actually occur within the business, rather than outside of it. Your employees may be unknowingly visiting insecure websites and services on a corporate device, leaving you subject to potential cyber-attacks, and any sensitive information exposed. In fact, a report from Netskope found that working from home has caused a huge 161% increase in visits to high-risk websites and apps, whilst the personal use of corporate equipment increased by 97%.  

However, we shouldn’t forget devices outside of the company desktop computer or laptop. CISCO’s Benchmark Report of 2020 recognised employee’s mobile device usage as one of the most challenging consequences of the pandemic from a management point of view, with 52% of respondents admitting they are difficult to protect from cyber threats.

In contrary to the above, employees may be engaging in business activities, but from their personal laptop or desktop computer, which is equally as bad, if not worse. Without substantial security software installed, the device and all data stored on it is an easy target for cyber-attackers. For this reason, we would always recommend providing your workforce with the appropriate equipment where possible. For example, a work laptop that is equipped with remote access security controls. At SEBS, we advise this includes two-factor authentication at the very least, to ensure you and your business are protected against any potential risks.

If you haven’t already gathered, businesses are far more vulnerable without the security protections that office IT systems provide, such as firewalls and blacklisted IP addresses, not least because the vast majority of business activity now takes place online. A primary target for attackers is to hack your passwords, a simple task for them if your workforce is using repeat login credentials for various online platforms. Another common method is via phishing emails, of which there has been an increase of 600% in reported cases since the end of February. Alternatively, they may contain a downloadable malicious attachment.

So, what can you do now? Below the team at SEBS have complied a list of measures you can take to protect your data and software:

  •   Establish a clear and detailed Cybersecurity policy.
  •   Ensure the internet connections are secure for all those working from home.
  •   Keep passwords varied and always as strong as possible. We would recommend you use a password manager.
  •   Always use two-factor authentication wherever possible.
  •   Use encryption software.

For further information, or if you’d like to make an enquiry with us about our IT support packages, call us today on 01444 41 66 41 to speak to a member of our sales team.