How Shift To Remote Working Has Impacted Cyber Security

Workers across the world had to tackle the monumental task of shifting to remote working on very short notice. While some companies had a flexible working style already, others had no plan in place whatsoever. 

This sudden shift meant that cybercriminals also had to change their approach. They are going to new lengths to infiltrate businesses, such as exploiting unsecured VPNs, business emails, and even some cloud-based services. It is important, then, that the software that your staff is using is deemed completely secure by your IT team.  

Needless to say, this shift has weakened some essential cyber security measures. Read this blog to get clued up on how the remote working shift has impacted your business’ cyber security and how you can minimise any adverse effects. 

Devices may be more exposed at home 

Employees are much more comfortable working from home and, thus, are likelier to forget about IT security procedures. They could easily walk away from the computer, leaving it unlocked, to answer the door or get engaged in any other chores, leaving their laptop vulnerable. These are just some of the many ways in which employees can innocently put crucial data at risk. 

Often, employees will confess to using personal devices for work purposes at home, as this is the easier alternative. Or your business may not have enough laptops and portable devices to cater to all your remote employees, encouraging them to using their own devices. 

This can expose your business to cybercrimes as personal devices are much easier to target. Thus, your sensitive business information could end up in the wrong hands. 

How to help employees stay secure from cyber threats at home?

It may seem like there isn’t much you can do to ensure your employees are not exposing data while they work from home, but educating them about cyber security norms is one way to make sure they are aware of the dangers. 

Not all your employees will have enough technical knowledge to understand the risks. However, they will certainly become more careful while using the Internet to access crucial data, if they are educated about the topic.

You can also encourage them to install firewalls, antiviruses, and other security software on all of their devices, as most home users will not have any robust security systems installed.

Employees may use unsafe software 

You might have heard that cloud communication software such as Zoom were recently targeted by cybercriminals. These criminals were able to enter business meetings and, potentially, had access to the sensitive and pivotal data being discussed. Such attacks are more commonly know as Zoom bombing. 

Since these cloud collaboration tools have become essential in keeping businesses moving, it is important that employees are made aware of the risks. Sending meeting invites only to the participants and adding passwords is one way to ensure the company’s privacy.

Think of it this way––If an attacker walking into a meeting room in your office and had free reign, he could potentially damage the company irreparably. The same risk applies to unsecured virtual meeting rooms as hackers can essentially walk right into these rooms without having to go anywhere.

The shift to remote working has also left employees struggling to communicate well with their colleagues and customers, and they will try and open these lines of communication by any means necessary. 

This adds another concern: employees using unauthorised tools to share important data. Without easy access to the IT team for help, some employees may take it upon themselves to share their screen or even information using unauthorised software. Such an error could inadvertently let an attacker into the business’ IT infrastructure. 

How you can help employees avoid exposing data

Employees want to collaborate and communicate freely with each other, so your business needs to have a system that let’s them do this securely. 

With a hosted phone system, your employees won’t need any other software to share data and communicate securely—it’s encrypted, compliant, and has the capability to work on any device. All your employees need to worry about is ensuring their Internet connection is working well. 

Human error can cause cyber security problems 

The abrupt move to remote working was bound to leave room for error for, both, the IT teams and the employees. In an ideal situation, everyone would have had more time to update their infrastructure and secure all their devices. However, most were not granted this opportunity as strict lockdowns were brought in place.

This hastily implemented move left data vulnerable to prying eyes and those who are less technologically savvy didn’t get the chance to acquire adequate knowledge about cyber security. 

This could cause them to make simple mistakes which could really cost your company in the long run!

As colleagues aren’t face to face anymore, gone are the days when one could just walk across the office to ask a question. Since most communication is taking place via emails, it is harder for people to confirm the identity of the sender. Also, accessing official contacts while working from home may also prove to be a tough feat.

These challenges make it easy for cybercriminals to impersonate someone, clone emails and add malicious links, and act as if they’re a colleague. Often, these messages are so believable that some staff may reply or click on a link included in the mail. 

Once this mistake has been made, the hacker gets complete access to your system and can retrieve passwords or other valuable information, ultimately severely damaging your profits and reputation. 

Always remember–human error is a real concern with remote workers, who are already under more stress than usual due to the pandemic. 

How you can help employees leave less room for error

Human error is inevitable, but to minimise the chances of exposure to such serious cyber security threats, you should ensure that your email servers have firewalls to block any spam emails from unrecognised sources.

As an IT professional, you can also educate staff on how to spot fraudulent emails. By making your IT team more approachable to employees, you can make it easier for them to come up with questions about emails they have received and therefore, eliminate the chances of human mistakes. 

There are a lot of different ways in which a cyber criminal can target your business. Hence, it is imperative that you invest in educating your employees and giving them the right software which is completely secure and has all the features they need. This will help your business fight against cyber criminals and keep your data secure and protected. 

If you’d like to find out more about how a hosted phone system can help in the fight against cyber security and enhance your internal and external communication, connect with one of our experts on 0800-084-3663 or write to us on contact@acefone.com

Olivia Trott

Content Writer at Acefone
Olivia is an outgoing person who enjoys writing, is an SEO enthusiast, and often interacts with others in intellectual conversations. She enjoys listening to music in her free time. Connect with her on Linkedin and Twitter.

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