The shift from in-office work to remote and hybrid work arrangements has created benefits for businesses and employees alike, from cost-savings to an improved work/life balance and more. But along with these benefits come new challenges, the biggest of which is remote work cybersecurity.

The widespread adoption of remote work has had a direct impact on data breach costs. IBM found that organizations lose over $1 million more on average wherever remote staff is a factor.1 If business leaders hope to keep up with modern workforce demands, implementing stronger remote work security solutions should be a top priority. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the biggest remote work security challenges today’s businesses face and how you can help your work-from-anywhere teams ensure safety, security, and compliance when working remotely.

Top Remote Work Security Risks

While cybersecurity has always been a concern for businesses in the digital age, remote and hybrid work models introduce new challenges.

With in-office work, an organization’s IT teams have more control over cybersecurity because all network activity is handled within a regulated, monitored environment. Remote network access increases the number of endpoints needing protection – and leaves more room for human error.

The most common remote work cybersecurity risks include:

  • Weak Passwords – Without a strong password policy for employees to follow, cybercriminals may crack weak passwords to access your network or use repeated passwords to expose multiple accounts.
  • Unsecured NetworksWork-from-anywhere employees often use unsecured internet connections, such as home or public WiFi networks, to access network resources.
  • Personal Devices – Many of the personal laptops, tablets, and mobile phones remote employees use for work are equipped with basic security features that cybercriminals can easily circumvent to view your network. 
  • File Sharing – If files are shared over unsecured connections or without proper security features, such as encryption or a VPN, hackers can potentially view sensitive data and gain network access.
  • Cyberattacks – Hackers can introduce cyberattacks like malware, ransomware, and phishing to your network in any number of ways. However, most attacks occur via infected email attachments or malicious website links that employees click on.
  • Physical Theft – If an employee leaves a device unprotected and a hacker gains access to your corporate network, they can steal data, introduce malware, or perform other malicious activities that harm your business.
  • Insider Threats – Insider threats account for around 22% of all security incidents.2 This type of threat refers to anyone with access to your network, including employees, contractors, and third-party vendors, who accidentally or intentionally harms your business.

What Are the Best Ways to Manage These Risks?

These remote work security risks are alarming, but they aren’t unmanageable if you have the right solutions in place and follow cybersecurity best practices. Below are our top tips for helping employees reduce security risks while working remotely.

Upgrade Your Infrastructure

All the tips and tools in the world can’t protect your business if your IT infrastructure doesn’t provide a solid base for remote work cybersecurity initiatives. Nearly 20% of businesses suffered a data breach after rapidly deploying cloud technologies to support remote workers in 2020.3 If you have yet to evaluate your IT infrastructure post-pandemic, it’s time to identify and address any gaps in security.

Educate and Train Employees

Your employees are your biggest defense against cyberattacks. They can’t keep your business safe if they’re unaware of best practices or how to avoid security pitfalls. Combat this by providing regular cybersecurity awareness training and reinforcing employee education with weekly reminders or activities.

Secure Your Remote Workers

Around 83% of organizations have a BYOD policy that allows staff to use personal devices for work.4 Since personal laptops and cell phones often aren’t as secure as in-office devices, implementing cybersecurity features like multi- or two-factor authentication, data encryption, and VPNs is essential for ensuring network data stays safe when accessed outside of the office.

Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy

Take a proactive approach to remote work security by ensuring you have cybersecurity plans and procedures in place. Disaster recovery and business continuity strategies can help you minimize or even avoid data loss and breaches altogether. Once you’ve developed effective plans and policies, ensure employees can easily access them and are kept up-to-date on any changes.

Secure Your Remote Workforce With Expert Guidance From OnDemand

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to improving your remote work security, you’re not alone. A professional IT services consultant like OnDemand can help you establish best practices for a secure remote or hybrid work environment and ensure you have the right solutions to avoid data loss and breach.

Whether you’re running a healthcare, financial services, insurance, or non-profit organization, our experienced OnDemand technology advisors can help. We know how important it is to find remote work cybersecurity solutions that meet your unique needs – regardless of your industry – so we’ll sit on your side of the table and do what’s right for your business. 

Contact the OnDemand team today to book a consultation and get started with your personalized cybersecurity plan.