What are The Risks of Remote Working and How to Mitigate Them?

Remote working has been a rising trend for a while now. With the pandemic, the number of remote working employees increased considerably. Businesses that want to take advantage of this new trend of remote working, need to be aware of the unique risks that come with them. In this article, our cybersecurity experts in Perth will help you understand what the risks of remote working are and how to mitigate them.

Use of Personal Devices for Work

Some remote employees work with equipment provided by the organisation while others use their personal devices for work. At times, even with work-specific devices, there are still chances for employees to use their personal devices for work tasks. This makes organisational data highly vulnerable.

In many cases where employees use personal devices, data breaches occur because their antivirus software or operating systems aren’t up to date. Nowadays, with the evolved cyber threats, the standard antivirus software may not be enough to fully protect the data.

Measures to Mitigate the Risk

  • Make sure that your employees are not downloading data onto their devices or directly to the desktop. Utilise cloud computing services to protect your data from getting lost, duplicated or removed.
  • Use virtual private networks (VPNs) or remote access environment like Office 365. This way, remote employees can access work files and emails from a secured server without syncing data to their personal devices.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies are a necessity to prevent data loss. Restricting file access or having the ability to wipe data from devices remotely helps you to protect your business from data loss.
  • Make your team aware of the different cyber threats and the importance of cybersecurity, especially during remote working.

Insecure Wi-Fi

Sometimes remote employees that work outside are tempted to use potentially insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. The lack of encryption allows cybercriminals to monitor the internet traffic of anyone connected to the network.

Measures to Mitigate the Risk

  • The simplest method to prevent data breaches from insecure Wi-Fi hotspots is to avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  • Use a mobile router which will transform 4G or 5G wireless connections into a private Wi-Fi signal. This way, employees won’t be tempted to use unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
  • If a public Wi-Fi channel is unavoidable, then use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A company VPN routes internet traffic through the company’s private network, which will allow remote employees to benefit from company security.

Reduction in Productivity

Remote working can often cause distractions, lack of motivation and technical difficulties which will result in a lack of productivity. So, it’s essential to provide proper tools and to boost the motivation of your team as much as possible.

Measures to Mitigate the Risk

  • Remote employees commonly have issues caused by poor Wi-Fi connections. This is because most home Wi-Fi connections may not be suitable for working since they tend to be slower and less secure. You can solve this issue by introducing managed 4G/5G routers or suggesting to plug the employee devices into home routers directly through an ethernet cable.
  • Provide headsets to your team. Headsets allow employees to make notes, type, or walk around while on the phone, which improves work productivity. This way, it’s easier to connect to existing handsets, hosted phone systems and mobile applications.
  • Use hosted phone systems; these systems run through an internet connection with a dedicated application. So, employees don’t have to take handsets to home, unless they want to.
  • Consider productivity monitoring software to understand if and where productivity is being lost.

Poor Cybersecurity Practices

Remote employees can accidentally leak sensitive information if they fail to meet their company’s cybersecurity responsibilities. Poor cybersecurity practices include reusing passwords, device sharing, storing passwords in unsecured locations, opening emails and links that contain malware and using insecure wireless connections.

Measures to Mitigate the Risk

  • Cybersecurity training is a priority for all businesses, especially those that work with sensitive information. Regular training and retraining is a must for both in-house and remote employees to ensure that they are well aware of their company’s cybersecurity requirements.
  • Implement the standard suite of security tools to prevent data breaches caused by human errors. Firewalls, VPNs, antimalware software etc. also aid in protecting a company’s remote workforce.

Now that you are aware of the risks of remote working and how to prevent them, you can ensure that your businesses can function effectively while avoiding potential risks. Need to know more about the risks of remote working and other cybersecurity queries? Contact us or email at cybersecurity@computingaustralia.group.Our cybersecurity experts are 24/7 ready to assist you. Speak to our experts and solve your cybersecurity worries.

Computing Australia is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies.

Jargon Buster

DLPData Loss Prevention software prevents users from sending sensitive information outside the corporate network.
VPN – A Virtual Private Network extends a private network across a public network allowing users to transfer information across public networks as if they are connected to the private network.