One of the biggest changes that happened because of the pandemic is the shift and transition to a work-from-home setup. Although online and virtual work is nothing new as people have been freelancing on the internet for decades, the pandemic forced companies that rely on actual office work to transition to work-from-home arrangements. And while it was a perfect approach to the problems presented by the pandemic last year, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that work-from-home setups also open up a variety of cybersecurity risks that organizations must now begin to understand and address.
When employees work in the office, there’s always a whole department of information technology (IT) experts waiting to handle their concerns. They eliminate risks as they are trained to do so. One phone call or email will have an IT expert rushing to your cubicle or accessing the system to remove that threat.
But at home, there’s only so much your IT team can do. Workers will need a certain level of technical skills to detect cybersecurity risks. And herein lies the problems because only 15% of work-from-home workers know how to protect themselves and their computers from hacking. Compare this to the 70% of workers who said they experienced IT problems while working at home and you have a serious problem.
The Burden on the Employers
The burden, of course, is on the employers. The fact that your workers are operating from home doesn’t remove the fact that you are responsible for ensuring that the systems, networks, and devices they use are protected from such risks. An obvious solution is to pay for cybersecurity services such as anti-malware and anti-virus software. Organizations should also invest in training their employees to use their devices to prevent phishing and hacking.
Work-from-home setups also need a strict policy on using company laptops to access personal emails and social media accounts. While micromanaging your employees is never a great thing, you should put in place measures that will stop them from using the company computer as their own. This way, even if there will be a form of hacking in the future, your IT department will have an easier time getting to the root of the matter because it will all happen in your network.
The Sudden Switch
It is the sudden transition to a work-from-home environment that pressured the security of office networks. Imagine suddenly needing to access company files over the cloud when you used to have a secure local network. This sudden change has a huge negative impact on companies that are not ready to go fully digital yet. This is why there were many security threats and risks that companies had to address during the start of the pandemic.
Pandemic and Distractions
Remote workers are much more tired than office workers. That wasn’t what everyone thought when the pandemic began. Though it looks like remote working will be permanent in the years to come, that does not avoid the fact that work-from-home setups face many risks, especially for parents with young kids at home.
The problem is that tired and distracted workers will make mistakes—lots of them. A recent survey found out that 35% of remote workers are more tired than they were in the office. This means they are also susceptible to making careless errors such as using their personal phone for two-factor authentication and letting their kids play on their work computers. Poor decisions when it comes to access to work devices can lead to someone hacking into the systems and unintended access to files in the cloud. Can you imagine what it looks like if kids start uploading files and photos to the office cloud?
Today, training employees to handle cybersecurity threats is no longer a “nice-to-have.” It’s a must for every business to be involved in workshops that will teach employees how to use work devices and access work files while working from home. They should realize that every action they take or do not take can lead to the collapse of the business’ secure networks. One wrong move can bring disaster to the whole team.
The dangers of the internet are always present. That is one of the drawbacks of the technological age in the business. But remember that it is also the internet and technology that allowed businesses to continue operating despite the pandemic. With the right training, the work-from-home arrangement can be a permanent and safe way to run your business.