Coronavirus, Remote Working, and Your Company

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Here are the current numbers for how many cases of Coronavirus have affected the UK. As the virus spreads, more and more people are being motivated to self-isolate, which results in more people working from home. However, because your company is safer from Coronavirus, it can mean a massive decrease in cybersecurity, endangering your company’s data.

Working remotely or working from home has become common practice, all over the world, particularly when people are ill. According to the International Workplace Group’s 2019 study, 50% of employees, world-wide, are working outside their office HQ for at least 2.5 days a week. 80% of the same survey indicated that out of two similar employment offers, they would decline the one that doesn’t offer the possibility to work remotely. What’s more, 85% of the participants have confirmed that productivity has increased in their business as a result of greater flexibility. Due to this data, it’s safe to say that remote work is here to stay. However, though this method of working increases productivity, flexibility and improves work-life balance, there is a draw-back. The problem, here, is that there are severe cybersecurity issues with remote work that put your company’s sensitive data at risk.

In another 2019 study by OpenVPN, 90% of IT professionals recorded that remote workers are not secure. So, experts are aware of these security risks with remote working and have taken the first steps towards addressing the issue.

You may have a completely remote workforce, people who occasionally work from home, employees that frequently go on business trips or workers that have been self-isolating for the past few weeks due to Coronavirus (or COVID-19). Without fail, it will always be harder to protect their security than it is for your on-site endpoints. There are three bad habits that may be endangering your organization’s data, based upon remote work:

  • Accessing sensitive data through unsafe Wi-Fi networks. Data sent in an unencrypted format, in plain text, may be intercepted and stolen. For this reason, your employees should not be allowed to send any sensitive documents or information on any unknown Wi-Fi networks unless they are using a VPN connection.
  • Using personal devices for work. The trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming more and more popular, especially with remote working. As this is the case, an employee may not be keeping their software up to date, opening up security holes, in your environment. On top of that, if an employee suddenly leaves the company and holds on to the confidential information that has been stored on their device during their employment, you will not get the chance to erase it.
  • Ignoring basic physical security. Even though cybersecurity is the focus, we can’t completely leave physical security behind. For example, there are employees who may be talking loudly on the phone while working in public places or exposing their laptop’s screen for the entire crowd inside a café to see or even leaving their devices unattended.

Here is Samurai Security’s run-down on how to work remotely while dealing with the Coronavirus or self-isolating. First, security advice.

  1. Make sure that all internet connections that you use are secure.
  2. Know what tools and platforms you should be using to carry out your work.
  3. Have a contingency plan to follow at the first steps of any company data compromise.
  4. Use encryption software as well as firewalls, anti-malware, and antivirus software.
  5. Use a VPN, if available.

Secondly, medical advice.

  1. Separate yourself from others in your home.
  2. Stay in well-ventilated rooms with windows that can be opened.
  3. Kindly ask friends or family members to carry out errands for you, such as getting groceries, medicines or other shopping.
  4. Get plenty of rest.
  5. Stay hydrated.

Remote work comes with security risks that you should address before you allow anyone to work from outside the office. Only when correctly responding to this challenge will you be able to fully seize this opportunity that increases talent retention, productivity and improves your staff’s work-life balance. Protect your data and get well soon!

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