Working From Home: What are the risks? - Scams & Online Safety

Working From Home: What are the risks?

Remote working, or working from home (WFH), is the new normal whether we like it or not, with a recorded 47% of organisations stating they will continue a remote working model post-pandemic, and 82% giving employees the option to WFH at least one day a week. But while the switch has been welcomed by employees who are happy to don their pyjamas over a suit, the reality of remote working has been an arduous road as businesses attempt to adequately secure themselves in a cyber landscape that has more craters than the Moon. 

According to the Velocity Smart Technology Market Research Report 2021, during the pandemic, 70% of remote workers reported experiencing IT problems, 54% of which had to wait up to 3 hours to resolve the problem.  

Business continuity has been the order of the day throughout the pandemic. As such, tech companies have been working hard to catch and patch security risks in the cyber world so business can go on as usual. In cybersecurity, strategy is key, but it is impossible to have a good strategy if you are unaware of the risks you may encounter. So, what exactly are the risks with remote working? 

End Point Threats

Working on-site affords end points, devices being used to access the internet, a certain level of protection. The devices on-site are part of a closed network and protected by an established firewall. At home, the security measures are often vastly different and lack this critical layer of security as many employees fail to set up any network perimeter security measures. By using unsecured VPNs, unpatched remote devices, and cloud-based services that don’t have 2FA (two-factor authentication) set up, employees can unwittingly allow cybercriminals to access off-network systems more easily than ever before. 

Misconfigured Cloud Services

As we have moved to a remote working model, the need for cloud-based services has meant mass migration to the cloud so business can continue as normal. The cloud has provided an excellent space for adaptation throughout the pandemic, but inadequate cloud security configurations could make your remote working dreams become nightmares. Cloud security misconfigurations are a common cause of breaches. With businesses now relying more and more on cloud services to support WFH employees, there is an increased risk that this could leave your business exposed to an attack.


Increased Malware Attacks

Malware, or malicious software, has always been a common threat that businesses have had to deal with. When employees and end points are on-site, firewalls often prevent attackers from infecting devices and causing significant damage. As mentioned, though, a lack of critical security measures will allow for an increase in malware attacks such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, or Trojan horses, to name a few – all of which can be sent in an unassuming email (phishing). 

When most employees think of a phishing email, they probably think of someone trying to hoodwink them by pretending to be a member of royalty needing help. This may have worked in the 90s, but cybercriminals are now much craftier. Phishing emails these days are designed to look like legitimate emails from big companies or even your boss so that they are unlikely to be ignored or passed over by the recipient. Therefore, if your WFH employee has not been adequately trained to identify the differences between legitimate email correspondence and a phishing scam and security measures are lacking, your business could be at risk.

Action Reduces Risk

Although there are risks when working from home, the remote working model seems to be here to stay, so it is up to businesses, IT departments, and remote working employees to ensure that they are doing their part to protect themselves and their devices against cyberattacks.

NetworkIQ can help you ensure your security requirements are being met. Contact the team today to find out what you can do to protect your company from remote working security risks. 

Comments (2)

  1. Kyle

    I think that in most companies employees can work from home at least 2-3 days weekly. This would save a lot of time and energy for employees and reduce costs and increase efficiency for companies. It’s a win-win all around.

  2. Riana

    Employees of all companies need to be taught by IT specialists about the dangers of working from home and how to avoid certain types of attacks. The lack of education in this area is still a very big problem in most small to medium companies.

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