With the novel coronavirus moving millions of employees from businesses into work from home (WFH) environments, how does a business support those employees and protect devices and data from cybersecurity breaches?
Viruses are a real risk with employees working from home. Perhaps they are using their own laptop or device that already has viruses. The risk may be an insecure network, where cybercriminals and competitors can see sensitive customer financial data, personal identifying information, confidential documents or other proprietary information. Solutions here may be a VPN (virtual private network), which can encrypt data and keep it save from cybercriminals and competitors. Another important piece of the security strategy is making sure that the tools employees are familiar with from work are functioning properly in their home environment, so that the aren’t downloading alternatives or using other work arounds that may allow leaks to viruses or malware.
Security Vulnerabilities from Out of Date Applications and Phishing Emails
Businesses need to evaluate all possible security vulnerabilities from work from home employees, but two of the most common ones are 1) out of date applications and 2) phishing emails. Employees working from home may neglect to stay current on software updates and patches. These updates are vital because they patch security flaws and keep data safe. They need education and/or tools to block phishing emails. Cybercriminals exploit your work from home employees by sending them email messages with links that look legitimate. When the employee clicks on the attachment or link in the email, they download malware onto their devices which allow cybercriminals to control the computer or access confidential data. The fix to these problems has many prongs – putting processes in place to ensure that applications are updated appropriately, 2) installing protections from phishing emails, and educating work from home employees about how to recognize and avoid covert attacks.
Exposure to Ransomware and Malware
According to a study from Forrester Consulting, work from home remote office networks are 3.5 times more likely than corporate networks to have at least one family of malware and a whopping 7.5 times more likely to have at least five distinct families of malware. Furthermore, more than 25% of all devices have one or more services exposed on the internet and almost 1 in 7 WFH-RO IP addresses have exposed cable modem control interfaces. Ransomware is a problem that can arise when data is attacked and companies are held hostage because of inadequate backup processes and incomplete ransomware recovery solutions.
How to Enhance Cybersecurity in the New Normal of WFH
According to an article reported at Forbes.com reporting data from Fluent, 59% of those working from home like the arrangement and 73% of respondents reported that they didn’t know how their companies planned a return to the office. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/06/13/6-reasons-most-want-to-work-from-home-even-after-coronavirus/#c8164ce38fa8
Based on this data, working from home may be the new normal that stretches into a future for a long time to come. Many C-level leaders are struggling to understand how their security is performing and how to adequately report and improve that performance for risk management and compliance maintenance.
If you are a leader looking to evaluate your work from home risk and implement proactive protections, Contact the team at Five 9’s Communication for
- anti-virus solutions,
- managed IT services,
- patch management,
- back up services.
Five 9’s Communication provides security products and services, with an expert team ready to create custom security systems for your business, no matter how large or small.