With a lot of companies embracing remote working during the lock down, businesses need to improve security for staff in home offices.

The corona-virus pandemic has transformed the working environment. Remote working has become the new normal during the lock down. We, at BITS, are dedicated to assisting our clients with the IT requirements of working from home. We have made it our mission to educate businesses about the security risks inherent to the home working environment. We believe that business owners and managers need to understand how to manage confidential company data to prevent vulnerabilities and devastating security issues. Here are some of the most frequent security threats that can occur in remote working arrangements and how we can help you avoid them.

Unsecured network

Most business owners have been wondering about broadband connection speed during the lock down. Maintaining a quick enough access to everyday operations has been detrimental to remote working arrangements. However, you should also ask yourself whether your employees are using secure Wi-Fi. Indeed, an open network at home can expose confidential information to hackers. Some homeowners may not be aware that their router isn’t secured. Wireless security features are automatically built into the settings and can be controlled by users by switching on WPA2 wireless security. However, not everybody uses home technology confidently. We appreciate that, despite their best efforts, your team may not know how to check and improve network security. At BITS, we design custom IT network security solutions, such as setting up a VPN service for your remote working team.

COVID-19 phishing

Phishing attacks use deceptive platforms – emails and websites – to collect confidential information. Most companies have invested time and money in training their staff to identify phishing emails. However, the uniqueness of the coronavirus pandemic has given cyber-criminals new opportunities to trick employees. As a result, security firm KnowBe4 has recorded a 600% increase in phishing attacks related to COVID-19 topics. Unfortunately, the risk for your remote working staff is high as there is no precedent. Most people are more likely to respond to phishing emails that request password checks or the download of corrupted files in connection to the lock down. With no reference to what would be normal in such a situation, phishing victims may not realise they are being tricked. Our team of security experts can help with managed mail filtering services.

People use their personal devices

Most employees in a remote working position use their personal devices for work. Unfortunately, personal laptops, computers, tablets, and smartphones may not be adequately equipped to face security threats. Approximately one-fourth of personal desktops and laptops don’t use anti-virus software protection, which makes them more vulnerable to malware infections. Trojans remain the most frequent infection for personal computers, followed by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Mobile viruses and trojans, however, are serious threats on the Android platform, which is the preferred target for mobile malware. Malware attacks can cause a security breach in confidential business data. At BITS, we provide dedicated anti-virus and anti-malware services for your company, but also for your remote workers. We roll out our solution to all relevant endpoints, aka computers and laptops, to help with malware detection and prevention. We also have developed a security solution to tackle the risks created by using personal mobile and tablet devices for work.

Access to the business’s network

We appreciate that for a lot of small businesses, the company network and system plays a significant role in everyday operations. Remote workers still require access to the network, services, and email solutions outside of the office. Even if they use their work devices to work from home and a WPA2 secured network, risks remain. For instance, confidential information could be accidentally exposed by an employee’s child. Additionally, the home network is unlikely to be sufficiently secured. Smart home devices, for instance, can be easily accessed by hackers, who can then use those as a base for further digital exploration. That’s why, at BITS, we always recommend remote working businesses to connect to the business network via a VPN. We also have introduced a multi-factor authentication solution to protect remote devices.

Public or unsecured chat calls

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, video-calling app, Zoom, has become a popular tool that connects remote working professionals and clients. Unfortunately, Zoom can cause dramatic security breaches for users who are unfamiliar with video call technology. Cyber criminals can assess sensitive information and carry out malicious activities on your terminals. Additionally, the app fails to provide adequate encryption levels. Zoom has issued best practice security guidelines to prevent some of these issues. But we believe, at BITS, that secure video calls should not be left to chance, which is why we support remote working teams with the installation of Office 365, which allows participants to organise secured video meetings – among other functions.

Are you worried about remote working security? Get in touch with our team to discuss your concerns and find the best solutions to your needs.