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Remote Work Security Challenges and Tips

Work-from-home cybersecurity is one of the top challenges facing businesses. Learn how Cox Business Cloud Solutions can help safeguard your company and personnel.

From flexibility to employee satisfaction, remote work offers a wealth of benefits. However, it can also leave your business vulnerable to security breaches, ranging from malware incursions to large-scale cyber-attacks. In fact, a recent report by HP revealed that in the past year, 54% of IT professionals surveyed saw an increase in phishing and 44% detected compromised devices being used, putting the entire business at risk. If your company allows remote work, it’s important your IT infrastructure supports multiple users with strong work-from-home security measures. Likewise, prepare your employees for remote working with the proper protocols. Learn about the top challenges of remote work security and how your organization can overcome them.

Remote Work Security Challenges

Security challenges can increase any time there’s a shift with your online network. For example, organizations that were forced to abruptly change from an in-house environment to a remote workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic may have not been equipped to combat security threats in a virtual space. Remote employees are often left to handle such challenges themselves. If they aren’t prepared, remote users could put themselves and your business at risk. Below, find some common remote work security threats employees may face and how you can solve for them:

Phishing and Ransomware

Phishing is one of the most prevalent work-from-home security threats businesses face. It often happens when hackers target employees with malicious links embedded in emails. When they click on the link, users unknowingly give hackers access to important business data. A recent survey revealed 48% of employees were targeted by a phishing attempt during their first six months of remote work.

 

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to your system, applications or files until you pay to have it removed. Help prevent both by requiring personnel to attend routine cyber security trainings to learn to identify potential threats. Additionally, two-factor authentication, a method of login security requiring two different types of access verification, provides an added layer of security, making it more difficult for hackers to get access to employee emails and passwords.

Sharing Work Devices

Employees who use their business laptops for personal use or give family members access is another common work-from-home cybersecurity risk. Encourage remote employees to keep their personal and professional lives separate by locking their business equipment with a secure password and utilizing their own devices for recreational use.

VPN Attacks

Many businesses utilize a VPN to connect employees to their server, which leaves the door open for hackers to enter through a home network, especially if not secured end-to-end. You should ask personnel to only use the VPN for business purposes and to switch it off if they need to use their devices for personal use. You can also use cloud services like Desktop as a Service (DaaS). This enterprise-level solution provides remote work security by using a centrally-controlled vehicle for provisioning desktops, protecting your business from viruses, malware and rogue employees at an infrastructure level, while allowing users to access important data and applications from any device.

Using Unsecure WiFi Connections

Many employees enjoy the flexibility of remote working and may choose to use an unsecure public WiFi network in a coffee shop or restaurant. Unsecure WiFi connections are ideal locations for malicious hackers to access data, posing serious threats for remote work security. Encourage employees to only use secure WiFi connections and equip your business with DaaS to help secure your business regardless of where your employees choose to work.

Failing to Change Passwords

A VPN is only as strong as your employee’s password. If it’s weak, a hacker can easily make their way on to your server. Make sure your employees are regularly updating their passwords on their home network and across all their business accounts. The ideal VPN environment will use multiple layers of security with a cloud-based firewall and two-factor authentication.

Video Conferencing

Remote teams tend to use teleconferences and video calls to communicate. Unfortunately, some hackers use webcams as an opportunity to compromise privacy and view any sensitive information that may be within sight. Remote employees can help avoid this by covering their cameras when not in use and using the blurred background function during video meetings. Cloud-based solutions, like Microsoft Teams, can also help ensure a secure and professionally monitored environment for teleconferencing and sharing files.

Leaving Security Threats Unreported

A security breach can cause more harm the longer it goes unreported. Provide your employees with contact information for your organization’s Incident Response Team so they can report any potential incidents as they appear.

Man taking notes during virtual conference call

Work from Home Security Tips

New remote work security threats and vulnerabilities will continuously arise in virtual workforces. However, there are several measures you can put in place to help protect your business and employees, such as:

Firewalls

This is your first line of defense in work-from-home cybersecurity. Firewalls create a barrier between your employees’ devices and the open Internet by closing portals that let malicious programs in or leak information out. Stateful inspection firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, regulating flow based on a defined set of security rules. Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewalls layer on intrusion prevention and anti-virus protections onto traditional firewalls. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) go even further than UTMs by adding application awareness and control to block risky apps and deploy threat remediation techniques that adapt to evolving security threats. Make sure all devices issued to employees for business purposes are equipped with a firewall. Work with a managed cloud services provider who can manage the updating, patching and maintenance of your IT environment so you're always running on the latest technology.

Anti-virus/Anti-Malware Software

Anything that manages to get past your firewalls will then have to face anti-virus and anti-malware software. It acts as your next line of defense in remote work security, scanning and blocking malicious viruses and malware from entering your servers and affecting your network environment. Make sure your software is kept up to date on all business equipment for the best protection.

All important information and data should be backed up regularly to avoid losing it to downtime incidents, which can cripple your business. The most convenient way to store data is in the cloud, and then you should ensure you have optimal coverage under the 3-2-1 rule. This means you should always have three backup copies, on two different types of media with one copy offsite. Backup as a Service (BaaS) automatically backs up your data and files whenever new updates are made to help prevent major loss. Your data will also be kept safe on physical servers with advanced security features that helps keep your network protected from viruses and hackers.

Encryption

Employees communicating sensitive material via email should use updated encryption tools. Provide them with the necessary encryptions needed to protect confidential information. Also consider solutions like SD-WAN, which offers secure data access with strong encryption, app-level policies and data segmentation to help keep your network protected.

Create a plan that can help you recover critical data and applications if a cyber-attack or hacker does manage to access your organization’s servers and information, or you have a crucial infrastructure failure. Disaster recovery relies on the continuous replication of data and computer processing in a different location (either physically or virtually) to minimize loss. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) replicates critical applications, data and virtual machines into the cloud to help make sure there are no interruptions in productivity when a downtime event occurs, even when faced with emergency situations like a natural disaster.

This cloud-based managed service takes remote work security to the next level by leveraging security expertise to help your organization address vulnerabilities. SECaaS combines multiple services into one solution and supplements the security knowledge gaps many businesses face. Cox Business Cloud Solutions’ SECaaS offering works with your IT team to implement security policies that blend risk assessment, security solutions, analysis, and threat detection strategies to stay ahead of cybersecurity risks and attacks.

Ideal for making network access simple without compromising work-from-home cybersecurity, Cox Business Cloud Solutions layers this cloud-based solution onto our managed cloud services. It protects your critical data and applications no matter where they’re located. IDaaS helps you manage users’ identities and gives remote employees secure access to everything they’re authorized to—and nothing more.

Secure Your Remote Employees With Cox Business Cloud Solutions

Ready to take your remote workforce’s security to the next level? Cox Business offers a suite of cloud services designed to safeguard your company from virtually anywhere. Easily customize your plan and authorize new users with the click of a button. Contact our customer service representatives to explore which of our cloud-based technologies are right for your business.

What can Cox Business Cloud Solutions do for your business?

We provide reliable, innovative and secure services to move your business to the next level of IT productivity and profitability.

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