The Covid-19 pandemic created an enormous impact on how people live, work and socially interact. While public places such as offices, colleges, parks etc are forced to shut their doors, people are forced to stay at home. This has led companies to choose remote work culture which has now become a new normal. In other ways, there is no option but to work from home for both the safety of workers as well as the public and also run businesses.
Thus the pandemic forced people and companies to work from home which brought major changes in the operations of organizations that adopted the culture.
While shifting the workplace to homes is an unexpected transition, the other main challenge that organizations has to face is cybersecurity. Of course, productivity, profitability are also key challenges when letting employees work remotely. But both small and big organizations are shaken by the threat of cyberattacks because that would cause unrepaired damage. Organizations or businesses have to protect themselves from cyberattacks not only to avoid financial or legal damages but also to keep customers and their trust. Hence it became essential for companies to follow strict cybersecurity guidelines.
However, both working from and cybersecurity impacted workers a lot. It became a tiring task for some employees to handle the shift, while it had not made much impact for a few employees.
How Workers are Handling Remote Work & Cybersecurity Implications?
There occurred many cyberattacks during the initial days of remote work culture and they are continuing to grow. As per a survey, over 30% of survey takers said the security protocols were strengthened, 36% of respondents stated their companies have made no adjustments to security protocols and 29% said a few protocols had been loosened.
When remote work has been chosen, the organization spreads its network to a vast area. Hence, this becomes a clear vulnerable point for hackers, as workers when working from home on their own devices or networks leave many security cracks for hackers to enter. This is why organizations had to tighten the security such as asking their workers to undergo two-factor verification or other strict ways to enter into the organization’s network.
Thus cybersecurity has become a metonym for remote work culture.
The major industries that are prone to cyberattacks are healthcare, financial, public sectors, manufacturing and other industries. Especially, banks are experiencing nearly three times cyberattacks as hackers are targeting bank employees through email phishing, sending malicious files etc.
Thus organizations are at greater risk when allowing employees to work from home. Hackers are likely to see remote workers as targets because they leave security gaps. Hence, organizations have to create awareness among workers about cybersecurity.
While a few companies are already following strict cybersecurity guidelines, here are a few measures for both companies and workers to escape from cyberattacks.
What are the Necessary Measures to Avoid Cyberattacks?
According to a study, it is stated that employees are strictly adhering to cybersecurity guidelines than they did before (while working in offices). Nearly 63% of employers said that their employees are following the instructed security guidelines.
Most companies have implemented two-factor authorization and authentication so that they can restrict suspicious entries.
Moreover, employers need to know if they are allowing the right people into their network.
Hence, two-factor authorization and creating strong passwords can result in good progress.
Avoid Human Error
It’s undeniable that cyberattacks are mostly happening because of human errors. Though some of the employees are aware of cyber risks and following proper protocols, a few are overseeing the risks.
As there are high odds for cyberattacks to target through phishing and malware, employees have to follow the guidelines strictly. Thus there is a huge responsibility for employees working from home. Moreover, though companies are demanding two-factor authorization and authentication, they are allowing workers to have any kind of apps or software on their devices. Thus, this creates an entry for cybercriminals to hurt the organization.
Hence, it is important to be watchful for both cybersecurity teams as well as workers about risks.
Strengthening the Existing Security Protocols
Remote work is a totally new culture for most of the companies while a few companies such as Facebook or Shopify are comfortably adapted to it. Hence, for new companies that are taking baby steps towards remote work, implementing tight cybersecurity protocols might be painful.
However, opting for remote work shouldn’t be that hurtful. Organizations can continue to follow the same security protocols they are following initially, but little strictly.
Educate New Risks & Tips
It’s no wonder that remote work has raised risks of cyberattacks. At the same time, it is high time for companies to educate about cybersecurity and cyber risks to the workers.
It is essential to create awareness among employees by communicating regularly about cyber risks. Also, the HR team can arrange a virtual drill with workers about how to handle cyber threats and whom to report if they are exposed to any attacks.
Workers need to be aware of new kinds of cyber risks, vulnerable platforms and tricks to avoid such threats. They also need to be educated about secure and trusted VPNs and other software to protect their devices and networks.
As organizations can’t translate the high-end security policies to employees working from home, they are obviously exposed to more risks. Moreover, there is a tremendous increase in the number of cyberattacks happening after corners of homes have become home offices.
Additionally, there is still uncertainty about when the world would get back to normalcy. Hence, cybersecurity has become an extreme challenge for companies. With workers working on their own devices or on their own network connections, it is difficult for companies to protect themselves from cyberattacks. This, in fact, resulted in sleepless nights for the cybersecurity team. Thus along with adjusting to working from home culture, following strict security protocols has become a great challenge for workers. Therefore it is crucial for organizations to take proper measures to overcome such difficulties both to ease workers’ jobs and protect the company’s data.