We are living in the age of innovation. There have been many technological developments and breakthroughs over the years, and workspaces as we know them have evolved exponentially. Because of such advancements, workers across the globe are now equipped with the tools they need to be able to work from anywhere they wish.
In fact, remote work has become more emphasized all over the world. In the United States alone, about seven million people were engaging in remote work in the first quarter of 2020. This represents 3.4 percent of the United States’ overall workforce. It was also found that there was a 159 percent increase in remote work between 2005 and 2017.
In another survey, it was found that 77 percent of remote employees are more productive when they work from home, whereas 51% of employees said that they have become more productive due to remote work. Gone are the days when employees needed to report to their physical offices to be able to accomplish their work.
With statistics like these, it’s highly likely that more and more companies will either transition to remote work completely or give their employees the option to work from home. So, it’s important for employers to prioritize security as a part of remote work strategy.
Security Issues with Working Remotely
While working remotely has a ton of advantages, it does have its drawbacks. Employers and employees are heavily reliant on technology to allow them to work remotely, but technology can be unpredictable and difficult to manage, especially when you are out of a controlled environment like an office.
According to a 2020 report, many companies and organizations are having a difficult time managing and controlling the way that their remote workers use mobile devices. 52 percent of those who were surveyed said that it has become challenging to protect mobile devices from potential security risks.
Perhaps one of the most pressing concerns related to remote work are the security challenges that come with it.
Here are some of the most common security risks and challenges associated with working out-of-office:
Working on unsecured networks
When employees work in a physical office, they would typically do their work on the company server, which has stricter measures set in place to avoid security issues.
By working remotely, organizations run the risk of their employees working on unsecured networks or devices that have the potential to be compromised, both of which are easier for hackers to infiltrate. In fact, an estimate of 62 percent of security issues due to Wi-Fi connection happened over a public network.
To combat this, you should ensure that your employees are working on a private network. Your organization should facilitate corporate VPN use for your workers to have a more secure connection.
Hackers are most likely to use phishing attacks to obtain company information. These types of cyberattacks may come in the form of emails, texts, instant messages, and in some cases, calls. Phishing attacks comprise a whopping 90 percent of successful cyberattacks, and many individuals tend to fall for these scams.
Organizations need to train workers to be proactive in managing security risks. As an employer, you should ensure that your employees are well-equipped to handle phishing attacks, and you should ensure that they are educated on the company’s security protocols. Provide them with constant reminders and easy ways to reach you should any issues arise.
Sharing computers with outsiders
This practice may seem harmless, but sharing a computer with someone who is outside of your organization is a security risk. Doing this is a big no-no, especially if your work involves handling sensitive information about your company or clients. Sharing a computer may lead to leaked information, which is detrimental to your company.
To prevent any security risks from this practice, advise your employees to have a computer that is dedicated solely to them and their work. If they need a computer for personal purposes, it is highly recommended that they use another device.
Cyberattacks and security breaches can happen to any member of an organization. Additionally, security risks can happen outside of getting hacked. Your employees may lose their computers, important physical files, or their hard drives.
As a manager, you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your company’s data and information. Because teams are decentralized, companies’ IT divisions need to double down on their safety and security protocols to ensure remote workers are well-protected.
Tips to Beef Up Security for Remote Workers
As mentioned, security should be your number one priority for remote work. With that, here are some security tips for working remotely.
Come up with a solid cybersecurity strategy
By coming up with a solid cybersecurity strategy, employees no longer need to fret about potential security risks or issues. Free from the weight of such worries, you and your employees can focus on your work and experience enhanced productivity.
Invest in reliable security technology
Investing in reliable security technology will make things easier for you, your employees, and your IT personnel. For example, you can invest in a single sign-on that can centralize and streamline the access of your employees. By doing so, you can have added control over your remote team’s security and how they work.
Rely on SaaS providers
Remote work heavily relies on those who provide software-as-a-service (SaaS). As such, your IT team can make use of additional security controls and features to enhance your remote team’s security. They will also be able to facilitate safe and secure ways for your employees to communicate, meet, and collaborate.
The Importance of Enhancing Security for Remote Work
Security is vital to all companies’ and organizations’ remote teams. By focusing on beefing up your security, you can ensure the protection of your employees and your company’s sensitive data and information.
The future of remote work is bright, and it is certainly here to stay. Provide your employees with the confidence and security they need to focus on their work and ease their worries of being on the receiving end of nasty cyberattacks. Enhance the security of your remote work strategy today.