Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to transition to a remote workforce, many employees have been working from home. However, that is not always a sustainable practice, especially if your employees need to attend meetings or speak to clients in person. That means we are now at a stage where remote work is becoming the norm. Workers split their tasks between the office and their home, and it can work quite well.
The problem is that when your teams split their time between workplaces, it is easier to forget to protect the systems and data, and hackers can slip in through the cracks. You need to turn to your cybersecurity expert for help. Today, we will talk about what these talented folks can do to allocate their expertise across remote and in-person systems and devices.
It’s wise to hire a consultant or have a cybersecurity expert on your team because corporate protection is their life, and they follow all of the cybersecurity trends, especially regarding remote work. By focusing exclusively on security, they know exactly what to look for and how to protect your data.
One of those trends is the focus of cybercriminals on mobile devices. When employees go from the office to their home, and vice versa, many use personal mobile devices to send emails and communicate with the team.
Hackers know that many people don’t properly protect their devices, so they can use smishing attacks or trick employees into downloading free software that is really malware. Without the proper antivirus software or security knowledge, smartphones can easily be hacked. A cybersecurity expert can advise your company about how to secure these phones. Another solution is only to allow workers to use a device that’s secured and provided by the company.
Another trend involves companies allowing employees to work from anywhere. Employees working out of coffee shops and restaurants can fall victim to hacker tricks, including Wi-Fi scams. That’s when the hacker creates a fake Wi-Fi network that looks like the real deal, but when the user connects to it, the cybercriminal can gain access to their device. Cybersecurity experts can teach your management teams how to avoid these scams and advise on other protections that your teams should know before they work outside the office.
Cybersecurity experts can also help your company navigate the common mistakes many hybrid businesses can face. One of them is not being vigilant enough against phishing campaigns. Phishing emails often come from hackers pretending to be vendors, members of management, or other authority figures in an attempt to trick employees into opening the attachment or clicking an enclosed link. In the office, an employee can bring a suspicious email to management to determine whether it is real.
Being vigilant about phishing scams is just as important during an employee’s work at home. When there isn’t a member of management standing next to us, like in the office, employees may be less likely to reach out for support. Also, if an employee has antivirus software on their work computer, it can catch the malware and eliminate it from their system. However, a remote employee may not have that support, and if they click the malicious link, it can lead hackers into your network. A rise in phishing scams is one of the reasons why there was a 300% increase in cybercrimes during the pandemic when everyone was at home.
Security training needs to be a cornerstone of new hire orientation. Management must continuously educate their teams about the threat of receiving malicious emails. Your workers must also have direct communication with the IT team so they can report a threat when they see it.
A second common mistake is the use of outdated software. If your programs have not been updated recently, look for an upgrade. New versions will have protections against the latest threats. The trick is that you need to ensure that all office computers are up to date, along with home devices. Hackers can use either to get into your corporate network.
Finally, cybersecurity experts are helping hybrid businesses by teaching them how to secure the technology that allows them to thrive, including virtual meetings. Employees in the office may be speaking with remote workers over the computer. Although the tech is advancing, there are some challenges associated with virtual meetings. In addition to the potential of a bad connection, poor sound quality, and dropped meetings, there is also a cybersecurity component.
Hackers can access virtual meetings and listen in to gain information they can sell to competitors or use maliciously. To prevent this issue:
- Set meeting passwords and only allow employees access if they need to be there.
- Keep the virtual meeting software up to date.
- Disable the ability for others to join the meeting before the host.
- Enact the waiting room feature so the host can choose who can enter, and they can decline any unfamiliar requests.
The cloud is another tool that is crucial for a hybrid company. Cloud technology allows employees in the office and at home to access software and data so they can do their jobs from anywhere. However, this tech must also be secured. Although many cloud companies have cybersecurity teams in place, you can ensure your security by backing up your data. You should also prevent unnecessary access. A zero-trust policy ensures that every employee can only access the data needed for their jobs. Do not provide a password to a worker that doesn’t need it and you can prevent intentional and unintentional data loss.
Finally, regardless of the program or technology you use, it is essential that employees use smart passwords. Use complex passwords with a random mix of symbols, numbers, and upper and lowercase letters. The password should be combined with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) that cannot be easily guessed, like a fingerprint or eye scan. The devices in the office and those used at home should have the same protections in place.
Yes, a hybrid work arrangement can make security tricky, but you just need to take the right steps. Talk to a cybersecurity expert, and they can advise how to navigate this new frontier of work.