This crisis-ridden era has accelerated the work from home (WFH) business model as enterprises scrimmage to remain financially sound. Alas, this practice places company data in jeopardy of cyberattacks, even more so for employees unsure about the security protocols on their devices.
With 56% of employees using personal computers as their work device, leaders are scrambling to reexamine their cybersecurity. Since workers access sensitive accounts and data via their personal devices, securing your company network should be a top priority.
Otherwise, who’s to say if your WFH model is a viable, long-term solution?
Establishing a Secure WFH Network
The surge in WFH employees has prompted enormous pressure on IT departments at office-based organisations. Ideally, companies should provide work-issued laptops or computers that were vetted and secured by the IT staff. These machines should have endpoint protection, encrypted drives, antivirus software, etc., while the IT department can manage security updates and patches across the remote team.
However, not every business can afford to equip its remote workers with secured devices. Security professionals barely had ample time to create the required architecture for moving entire companies to remote status. To make matters worse, they’ve had to deal with a larger attack surface prompted by this work style.
Employees were left to rely on personal endpoints, accessing sensitive information from unprotected home networks. It’s also tricky to maintain governance over what your employees are doing and whether they follow the security guidelines provided. Regardless, implementing strict data protection ground rules is essential for safeguarding your business.
The Truth About WFH Security Concerns
As stated, the overnight transition forced most employees to use personal devices, which lack the precautions and security measures that corporate devices usually boast. Sometimes even the latter can put critical data at risk, as they are exposed to others in the household.
The amount of adware (games) and unwanted software on these devices increased tenfold, indicative of children use. This is further concerning because adware is the go-to delivery mechanism of highly nefarious malware on such gadgets.
Moreover, operating outside the office means utilising your own WiFi networks that have proven to be less sturdy than in-house connections. While crucial applications include Office 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), these apps present yet another avenue of security vulnerability.
At the end of the day, IT teams must emphasise being wary of suspicious emails, attachments, and pop-ups.
Network Security Checklist
The problem with home networks involves the sheer number of connected devices, causing vulnerability to cyberattacks and malware. Many homes have IoT devices such as connected appliances as well. Thus, the first step to securing home networks would be an employee checklist identifying every single device accessible to the network.
After that, remote employees should:
- Change default passwords
- Change the default IP address
- Disable remote access to the home network
- Regularly update their router and network devices’ software
What if your employees don’t own their routers and modems? Well, you can always insist on separating work and personal activities on the device by implementing split networks.
Try VPNs, MFA & Cloud DR
Virtual personal networks (VPNs) have benefits that go beyond bypassing geographical restrictions. They are powerful tools that grant robust online privacy. Secure VPNs create a private connection where data travelling from a VPN-connected device is encrypted and sent through, allowing for safer connections to business information systems.
Aside from that, multifactor authentication (MFA) helps ward off phishing attacks often targeted at employees’ email accounts. Hackers wield urgent-sounding emails directing users to change personal information on legitimate-looking websites, gaining access to passwords and security questions. On the other hand, MFA requires users to provide information beyond passwords, including:
- QR codes on portable devices
- Biometrics, i.e. fingerprint, face, retina scans and voice ID
- Time-based, one-time passwords for authentication codes sent via email or text message
Lastly, it’s wise to have a Cloud Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place in case of unexpected events rendering data loss, not forgetting to include a proper backup strategy for the business endpoints such as laptops and PCs. By backing up business data to the Aegis cloud, clients can quickly recover and restore what was accidentally or intentionally deleted, stolen or lost, ensuring business continuity.
Find out more about the Aegis CDR 12+12 Program, a newly launched disaster recovery promotion that comes with complimentary Cloud Endpoint Backup plus installation and data migration. Whether you’re an SME or a big corporation, Aegis CDR 12+12 aims to offer more protection and value for your money with unlimited cloud backup storage.