Recent events have forced many businesses to get used to remote working, but this can have consequences when it comes to data protection
Data protection is one of the most important factors in any modern business. With so much of our business data and documentation stored online, a data breach can spell disaster – especially for brands just starting to find their feet.
And remote working leads to increased security concerns across all industries. The COVID-19 pandemic which has dominated 2020 has also forced many businesses to get used to a remote working framework, with many choosing to keep up the working from home option even as lockdown rules relax.
If this applies to your company, it’s important to be aware of the cybersecurity risks that come with remote working. Here are some of the main concerns to watch out for.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the name given to the growing connectivity of our home devices. Everything from our televisions to our fridges can be connected to the internet to make them smarter and more convenient. However, this can create security threats if the same internet connection is being used both for home devices and to handle sensitive work documents.
A data breach on a smart doorbell might not sound like the most serious situation, but chances are all the devices within a household are attached to the same connection. A single vulnerability within a single device can provide an opening for hackers to access the network as a whole, putting business data at risk.
In general, home connections are less secure than workplace networks, and the router is usually one of the weakest points. Older routers can harbour weaknesses that increase the vulnerability of the entire network, making it easier for hackers to gain access and exploit.
In order to counter this, it’s important to update router firmware frequently. Seeing all updates through to the end will give you an extra layer of security that makes your connection less of a tempting target for hackers.
Network passwords are also important here. Change weak or default passwords to strong alternatives that are unique to you. If in doubt, it’s important to speak to your company’s technical team – or even seek help from an external consultancy – to help you perform some vulnerability testing.
Cyber security professional Dean Moulden of North East Cybersecurity Consultancy, SRM, explains,
“This puts you in a more informed position to act on any potential weaknesses and bolster your business security.”
Video teleconferencing platforms
One of the biggest changes to business culture has been the rise of video platforms as a result of COVID-19. The switch to remote working means that applications like Zoom have seen their popularity skyrocket, with brands across all industries using video teleconferencing (VTC) as an alternative to face to face meetings.
However, these platforms aren’t without risk. Using Zoom and other platforms across multiple devices can create vulnerabilities for business data, so it’s important to monitor how and when these apps are being used.
In fact, in recent weeks investigations have been launched into the level of security offered by Zoom, with reports claiming that conversations help on the app were not private.
Just as they would in the office, employees will likely find themselves in need of IT and IS (Information Security) support when working from home. The difference is that there is no team on hand to help. This may lead employees to try and resolve issues themselves without the expertise, inadvertently putting data at risk.
Effective business continuity and disaster recovery plans are vital for showing staff members how to act in the event of a security breach or data incident. Having a plan in place allows you to act quickly and effectively, reducing the damage caused.