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What is the Impact of Remote Work on Cybersecurity: Best Practices for Protecting Your Business

As a managed IT service provider serving New Mexico, Southern Colorado, West Texas, and Southern California, we've seen firsthand the impact that the shift to remote work has had on cybersecurity. On one hand, remote work has made it easier for businesses to operate and stay productive, as employees can access company resources from anywhere with an internet connection. On the other hand, it's also introduced a number of new security challenges that businesses need to be aware of.


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Personal Devices and Remote Work

One of the biggest cybersecurity risks of remote work is the use of personal devices. When employees are working in the office, they're typically using company-owned devices that have been secured and configured by IT. When they're working remotely, they may be using their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones to access company resources. These personal devices may not have the same level of security as company-owned devices, and they may be more vulnerable to malware, phishing attacks, and other cyber threats.


We wrote a great article about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) decisions and security concerns. Should Employees Use Personal Devices For Work? Easy Answer

We have seen when people use their own devices at home (and sometimes even company devices!) other people in their household also use the same device. A security concern arises because other household members may not have the same level of security awareness as the employee, and they could potentially put the device at risk by visiting unsecured websites, downloading malware, or falling victim to phishing attacks.


For example, let's say an employee uses their personal laptop to access company resources from home. If their spouse or children also use the laptop to browse the internet or download games, they could potentially expose the device to malware or other cyber threats. If the employee then uses the same device to access company resources, it could put the entire company's data at risk.

To mitigate this risk, businesses should implement a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy that outlines the security requirements for personal devices that are used to access company resources. This might include installing antivirus software, using strong passwords, and keeping devices up to date with the latest security patches.


VPN Security For Remote Workers

Another risk of remote work is the use of unsecured networks. When employees are working in the office, they're typically using a secure, encrypted network connection. When they're working remotely, they may be using public Wi-Fi or unsecured home networks to access company resources. These unsecured networks can be a breeding ground for cyber threats, as hackers can easily intercept and steal sensitive data.


To protect against this risk, businesses should encourage (require!) employees to use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing company resources over an unsecured network. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between the employee's device and the company's network, making it much more difficult for hackers to intercept data.


The use of unsecured networks can also be a problem when employees are working from public places like coffee shops or airports. In these cases, it's especially important to use a VPN to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, where hackers can intercept data as it's being transmitted between the employee's device and the company's network.


Physical Security?

Yep, lack of physical security is one of the biggest challenges of remote work. When employees are working in the office, there are typically security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to company resources. When employees are working remotely, there's often little to no physical security. This can make it easier for hackers to gain access to company resources, either by stealing an employee's login credentials or by installing malware on their device.


To protect against this risk, businesses should implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for all employees. 2FA requires employees to provide a second form of authentication, such as a security code sent to their smartphone, in addition to their login credentials. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to company resources, even if they have an employee's login credentials.


The future of remote work and cybersecurity is hard to predict, but it's likely that we'll see even more security challenges as the trend towards remote work continues. As businesses become more reliant on remote workers, they'll need to invest in stronger security measures to protect against cyber threats. This might include things like artificial intelligence-based security systems, biometric authentication, and machine learning-based threat detection.


The shift to remote work has introduced a number of new cybersecurity risks that businesses need to be aware of. By implementing BYOD policies, using VPNs, and implementing 2FA, businesses can protect against these risks and keep their company resources secure.


Fight Back Against Cybercrime With Education!

It's extremely important for businesses to educate their employees about cybersecurity best practices. This might include training on how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks, how to create strong passwords, and how to keep their personal devices secure. By making cybersecurity a priority and educating employees about the risks, businesses can protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats.


Here are some attacks to be aware of: 7 Cyber Threats To Keep Top Of Mind - Security Continuing Ed


As a managed IT service provider, we understand the importance of cybersecurity and the challenges that businesses face in protecting themselves from cyber threats. We offer a range of services to help businesses secure their systems and protect against cyber threats, including VPN setup and configuration, 2FA implementation, and employee training.

If you're a business owner or IT manager looking to improve your cybersecurity posture, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our security services and how we can help protect your business.