Manage Cybersecurity Threats In a Flexible Work Setup With These Tips
The emergence of cybersecurity threats flooded many corporate industries that chose to operate in a flexible work setup when the pandemic hit. According to one report, cybercrime was 600% up in 2021. Similarly, two in five Singaporean SMEs also saw cyber incidents (56%) in the past year where customers lost information to cyber attackers. Everyone can become a victim. You may not be able to stop it, but you can prevent it.
Among the leading types of cybercrime attacks are ransomware and malware, followed by phishing, where most of the hacking activities are done through emails. Data breaches, such as companies’ sensitive data and personal information, are the main things that cybercriminals are after. They can use this data for blackmail, competitor’s destruction, exposures, and most importantly, financial gains where the average cost of loss of business is $1.52 million.
As most businesses are operating in a flexible work arrangement setup, cybercriminals can now easily hack through the company’s sensitive information since it will be hard for the company’s IT department to protect everyone. It’s even more difficult to fight off these cyber attacks when remote employees aren’t equipped with the necessary knowledge to protect their computers from these attacks.
Here are the ways you and your employees can manage cybersecurity threats in a flexible work setup.
The employer is the first in line to protect the company from cyberattacks.Hence, every coordinated drill for cybersecurity protection should come from the company’s IT department and down to the staff members, who, ironically, are the most common victims of these attacks. So, here’s how you can do it.
1. Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPNs encrypt data and hide your IP address when browsing online, redirecting it instead to a specially configured server run by a VPN host. Hence, it would be difficult for third parties to commit any cyber attacks. That said, companies should invest in premium-quality VPNs and teach their employees how to configure and set up such a VPN.
2. Pre-configure Flexible Work Arrangements
If your company hasn’t made any assessments yet regarding cybersecurity, now would be the perfect time to do it. You can start by issuing IT-approved computers and spreading awareness to your employees about cybersecurity threats. If otherwise, you’re not issuing computer equipment, have your IT team check your employees’ equipment for work.
3. Regulating “Work Device” from “Home Device”
Sometimes, despite the many security measures you’ve put in place, they would be ineffective if your employees were reckless in using their devices. Work devices should be separate from home devices. Cybercriminals can easily pass through these devices because of unprotected wifi routers. Another is disabling company protection or a family member clicking on a suspicious link.
4. Setup 2FA
Two Factor Authentication strengthens your files, storage devices, clouds, apps, and other software. Instead of only relying on one verification process, like passwords, 2FA enables another layer of protection like security questions. As a result, unauthorized third parties cannot easily gain access to protected data.
5. Securing Collaboration and Communication Channels
Another important step in securing data is to first secure the collaboration tools used—for instance, video conferencing tools like Zoom. There have been reported incidents of unauthorized participation in meetings where the intruder sometimes shows malicious videos or threatens everyone around them. Additionally, they can spy on your desk or background, searching for important information about the company or your clients. So, secure every collaboration tool your team is using. Have the IT department run tests, and wait for approval.
As mentioned, despite the safety measures in place, cybersecurity threats function like a ticking bomb. If one of the employees had unintentionally let malware come in, it wouldn’t be too long for the company to lose its business. Accordingly, 88% of data breaches are caused by employees’ mistakes.
For employees, here’s how you can manage cybersecurity threats on your computer.
1. Use Strong Passwords
You probably have heard this many times before. But this is one of the effective ways you can protect the company’s data and even your personal information online. To set up a strong password, use at least 12 characters with varying combinations of capital and small letters, numbers, and characters. Another pro tip is to have your password changed every two or three weeks.
2. Never Click On a Suspicious Link.
Phishing is one of the top causes of data breaches, and they often come in the form of unsuspecting links in your emails. Often, they disguise themselves as your bank, family members, or an online store like Amazon, telling you that you win a raffle ticket. Before clicking any link, have it verified with the IT team in your company.
3. Don’t Use Random Public Wifi
If you’re working remotely and occasionally go to coffee shops or public parks, don’t use public wifi so carelessly. Hackers can access your computer through the wifi router and anyone who connects to it. Instead, secure a VPN and activate the firewall to block unauthorized connections to your computer.
4. Use Company Equipment If Possible
Company equipment is there for protection. If provided with one, use it as much as possible. They are IT-configured to help spot the unusual activity in the computer and stop it in time.
5. Beware of Shadow IT
Shadow IT is the unauthorized use of devices, apps, and software that aren’t IT-approved. Employees use such apps and software because of their simplicity and less verification processing that can take a lot of time. But beware of these apps, as they can be a means of use for cyber attacks by cybercriminals because of weak security.
Also Read: 8 Places To Work From If You Miss The Office
Managing cybersecurity in a flexible work arrangement is difficult indeed, but it doesn’t have to be. Both the employers and the employees must come to work together. Moreover, it doesn’t mean you will be free from cyber-attacks and data breaches, but it can somehow prevent them. After all, the outcome would still depend on the company’s investment in security and the efforts of both parties for safety.
*Our workspaces are currently safe, open and ready for your return. Do adhere to local Covid-19 safety measures to keep yourself, and other workspace patrons safe.