It was predicted in 2018 by BlueFace, that by 2025 remote work would start competing with office work. Unbeknownst to BlueFace and the rest of the world, the pandemic would accelerate this process tenfold. Businesses were forced to suddenly switch to an almost fully remote workforce. It was like being thrown into the deep end.
Some businesses were already operating in a remote or hybrid-remote model, some reacted quickly and adapted to the ‘new normal’ by taking immediate measures to deal with the shift. Unfortunately, the vast majority were unprepared to manage such an enormous transformation.
There has been an unprecedented surge in cyber-attacks along with a host of challenges that have emerged due to the increased amount of remote workforce jobs. Businesses are being caught in a state of panic. Cybercriminals are taking this as an opportunity to exploit these businesses’ lack of preparedness to wreak havoc.
A survey by Barracuda found that 46 percent of global businesses encountered at least one cybersecurity scare since moving to a remote working model during the lockdown.
It is without a doubt that some form of today’s decentralized work environment is here to stay. Therefore, it is critical to work proactively towards securing your business’ data from willful destruction, unauthorized access, and accidental loss.
5 Reasons Your Remote Workforce Is a Prime Target for Cyber-Attacks
Remote work has always made businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks. However, with the enormous surge of the remote workforce jobs due to the strain of the pandemic, the stakes have been raised significantly. Here are five reasons that make your remote workforce a target of cybercriminals.
- Unsecured/Unsafe Home Networks: remote workers logging in from their home networks pose a greater threat to security than on-site workers using their company’s secured network. It goes without saying that this an obvious vulnerability, still, most businesses tend to invest the majority of their budget in on-site security while cutting corners when it comes to securing remote work.
- Extended Vulnerabilities: Now that the majority of work happens over the internet, it has created and opened a ‘Pandora’s box’ of threats targeting web services and applications. As the saying goes, ‘the more soldiers you have, the more chances you have to win the war”. The same is with cybercriminals and the remote workforce. The greater the number of threats, the higher the possibility of at least one threat penetrating the limited barriers securing remote work.
- Challenges With Remediation: Prior to the surge of remote work, infected or vulnerable machines were able to get immediate technician attention. Subsequently, businesses did not have the need to always be able to access and solve issues remotely. Unless you have the ability for remote access, the remediation efforts on remote computers and networks present significant issues in terms of remote work security being compromised.
- Limited/No Security: Even though they are out there and available in the market, most cybersecurity solutions don’t do a great job of securing remote endpoints. They were created with the intention of securing in-house assets and then remote security was added on later. This leaves the safety of remote devices, especially personal/BYOD devices, in crosshairs.
- Isolated Devices: Computers, phones, tablets, etc. that have been updated with standard security settings that apply to all IT assets of a business are less vulnerable to security lapses. The issue starts when an employee’s personal device is used for company work. They simply do not hold the same security processes or safeguards in place, making them an easy target.
Okay, we have established why your remote workforce needs adequate protection. Now let’s dive into what measures you can take to achieve security for your remote workforce.
Securing Your Remote Workforce Promptly
Time is of the essence. The longer you take to secure your remote workforce, the more you jeopardize the safety of your business’ mission-critical data.
Here is a list of security measures you must implement immediately to secure your company’s data:
- Cloud-Based Backup and Recovery: While managing an increasingly remote workforce, it is critical that you have a robust and reliable cloud backup platform that allows you to efficiently back up endpoint data and recover it in any event.
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR): Formulate a comprehensive BCDR strategy right now to ensure that your business does not sit in limbo trying to figure out how to get back up and running. It is important to keep in mind that recovery objectives have probably changed given how normalized remote work has become.
- Regular Recovery Testing: It is important to test, and test often. It is critical that a strategy is implemented to test data recovery often to ensure your data recovery solution does not fail during its time of need.
- Safeguarding SaaS Data: It is a common misconception that SaaS platforms secure data that you have on their platform. This is not the case; therefore, most businesses do not implement a strategy for securing SaaS data. It is your SaaS data, and it is your responsibility. Especially during this surge of remote workforce jobs which forces companies to rely on SaaS applications while working remotely. No matter the role, you must ensure that each user’s data does not get lost in transit. To do this, build a policy that incorporates the optimization of storage for each user.
- Awareness Training: 51 percent of businesses that responded to the Barracuda survey admitted that their workforce wasn’t proficient enough/properly trained on cybersecurity risks associated with remote work. This is a very scary number, especially once you learn that human error accounted for 90% of data breaches in 2019. You must assess if this is also the case at your business immediately, then develop a strategy to rectify it. The more aware and understanding your employees are of how these issues happen, the more diligently they will follow backup policies.
- Ongoing Risk Management: Consider it a top priority to assess the potential risks your network and backed up data is exposed to. Without this, any corrective action would seem futile. This will help you address your backup needs as soon as they emerge.
Undertaking these measures will not only tighten the security of your data but also help your business demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations that are applicable to your industry.
Tackling remote work-related threats and securing your business data isn’t as taxing as it seems when you have the right assistance and backing. Contact us today to learn more.