How businesses can prevent home working cybersecurity risks

Make sure your remote workers know how to keep business data secure

The switch to remote working

The coronavirus pandemic first put the country into lockdown in March 2020. Since then, millions of employees have been working from home. For many, this was their first time working remotely. This unprecedented event has now changed the way we work for the past year. It looks like it is going to leave a lasting impact on the balance of our working lives for years to come. Cybersecurity has become a major talking point since the pandemic, as COVID-19-related cyberattacks have contributed to a record-breaking number of cyber attacks reported in the UK.

This post will explain how to maintain security when employees work remotely by mitigating home working security risks.

How to reduce the risks of remote working

More employees are now working from home than ever before. Because of this, companies are now at greater risk of their team members falling victim to phishing and hacking attacks. The cybersecurity risks of working from home are quite extensive. Here are some methods for tackling the most common risks of remote working and keeping your business data secure.

Avoid visiting insecure sites on business devices

On personal devices, you may often find yourself flicking through forums and following link trails in search of recipes or answers to particular questions. Normally, this may not seem like a risky exercise. But if you accidentally visit a rogue website and click on an unsafe link, you might be unknowingly installing a plugin that contains malware.

Visiting unsafe websites and clicking could be putting your business data at risk. This is especially true if you have access to shared files on your device. These activities could lead to a data breach where cybercriminals gain access to these files through your device.

Introduce increased security measures

Remote working has seen thousands of businesses across the country switch to cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. These programmes allow companies to utilise collaborative services and increased ease of communication. They also offer many other highly useful tools for remote workers. At the height of the pandemic, the UK saw a 31% increase in cybercrime. Many organisations that had made the switch to cloud computing may have been targeted due to a lack of security measures.

All business devices with access to sensitive data and shared folders should have two-factor authentication. This will mitigate the chances of cybercriminals gaining access. Some security sites may also provide you with a set of backup codes. You should save these codes in a secure way such as through a password manager as they will allow you to gain access to your account.

Keep software updated

Outdated software is one of the most common working from home vulnerabilities. Anti-malware software and firewalls should be kept up to date at all times. Much like food, software should not be used when it’s outdated. In fact, outdated software comes with many security risks which could be putting not only your data at risk but your company’s data too. Software updates will update your security features. They can install new enhanced features, improve the stability of your software and remove outdated features.

One way to ensure that your employees are keeping their software updated is to instruct them to enable auto-update on their devices. However, some software doesn’t have an option to automatically update. So, you should remind them to regularly check for any updates to make sure they’re applied as soon as possible.

Creating and maintaining strong passwords

When working from home, the whole work-life balance changes. Employees will have to adapt to operating in a completely different environment. It can be easy to forget certain procedures that you would normally follow in the workplace, such as creating strong passwords. In the interest of saving time, employees may often share passwords with each other over instant messaging programmes or via the cloud. The cloud itself is extremely secure due to stringent security measures, such as encrypted files and consistent security updates. However, people’s accounts on the cloud are susceptible to being breached through phishing or other means.

Passwords should always be created with strength in mind. There are many programmes available, such as LastPass and 1password that can generate and securely store strong passwords. Getting into good practice with passwords while working from home is essential. This also means not insecurely saving passwords in browsers or using the same password for multiple websites.

How we can help your team

Plan IT Support can provide your team with robust and versatile managed IT security to keep your employees safe while working from home. We know that working from home poses many security challenges. Our experienced team of technicians can help you to overcome these challenges.

Hopefully, these working from home cybersecurity tips for remote workers will help you to maintain high levels of security within your business. If you’d like to be absolutely certain that you’ve done everything possible to keep your business data safe, feel free to contact us. We can assess your cybersecurity systems and give you our professional opinion of what can be done to minimise your home working security risks.