Flexible schedules and numerous other benefits are drawing more employees to remote work. But did you know working from home is a cybersecurity risk?
Because remote work requires accessing company information through a home network, there is always risk involved. Especially for companies that work with sensitive data.
If you work from home or are thinking about offering a remote option to your employees, you need to be aware of the risks to online privacy.
Read on for five reasons why working from home is a cybersecurity risk.
1. Home Office Setups Are Less Secure
Business networks often use security measures including firewalls, antivirus software, virtual private networks (VPNs) and more.
These measures protect data and reduce the number of cyber threats against an organization, but they are not standard in most residential services.
If you work remotely, check to see if your employer is willing to pay for a VPN service or other security components.
2. Residential Internet Can Be Slower & Less Reliable
Residential internet connections might experience slower internet speeds and more downtime, which can impede productivity and increase frustration.
Test your internet speed before and after you set up your home office to ensure your current bandwidth will support your company equipment and work activities.
You might consider switching to business-class internet. Business-class internet providers offer a dedicated connection and faster speeds, enhancing the reliability of your connection.
3. Remote Workers Often Use Multiple Devices
The bring your own device (BYOD) practice has made data protection increasingly complicated. Your IT department may have security guidelines for personal devices used for work. But if not, it’s up to you to ensure all your devices are protected.
You’ll want to password protect each device you use for work. And don’t forget to use strong, unique passwords for each of your personal and work accounts.
Every additional device used to access company data creates a potential security threat, so employers should limit the number of personal devices that can access company data.
4. Remote Work Requires More Online Data-Sharing
In a standard office environment, employees communicate face-to-face. But for remote workers, interactions happen entirely online.
Remote employees need to use secure messaging, email, file sharing and storage applications. Employers can make this easier for remote staff by creating set policies around data sharing best practices.
5. IT Support Has More Logistical Challenges
Like onsite employees, remote workers may need IT support. But not every IT department is prepared to handle remote issues. If a remote employee’s online security is compromised, it can be difficult to get the support needed to minimize data theft or loss.
IT departments can support remote employees with screen-sharing software, extended support hours, etc.
Remote workers who don’t have access to IT support through their company should subscribe to an IT support service. Some Internet Service Providers (ISP) even offer such services.
Working from home is a cybersecurity risk, but increased flexibility and autonomy make it well worth the challenges. Simple steps, such as installing a VPN, using strong passwords, and employing secure messaging applications, will ensure your company’s data stays safe.
Have any suggestions that could help remote workers protect their online privacy? Share them in the comments below!
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Elaine writes for multiple publications and covers topics ranging from tech to business practices to different lifestyle routines. She finds inspiration and solace in tea, cat videos, and lots of chocolate.
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