Data Threats- How to secure data while working remotely
The transition from on-premise working to remote working has been highly witnessed due to the global outbreak of covid-19. Almost 50 percent to 90 percent of the workforce across diversified domains are a part of this change. The organizations are continuing to rebuild their business model to make it its new cultural future. While remote working has added multitudes of advantages, it also has unexposed boulder such as cybersecurity protection. Challenges such as corporate data protection, issues in networking, and cloud computing concerns are what the businesses are trying to resolve for a better remote working experience.
A study conducted by OpenVPN showcased that 90% of the IT professionals believed that the cybersecurity parameter when it comes to the remote workforce is not secured and is thin. Since, the remote workers are connected to a dissimilar network that might not be a secured one, the concern related to cybersecurity might remain. The security vulnerabilities are an eye-opener in remote working since the remote workforce uses their personal devices and connects to the public networks, it exposes the data to be compromised if attempted by cyber attackers.
The compromisation of organizational data is one of the most feared risks in the model of remote working. Having trustworthy cybersecurity for business is essential since almost every operational task is surrounded by data nowadays. With the failure of having a secured cybersecurity framework in place, confidential data can be exploited by unethical hackers or users.
These threats should be addressed by preparing a stringent framework and bringing essential improvements to strengthen the cybersecurity landscape in remote working.
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What are some of the Data Threats in remote working?
It is to be understood that remote working does not necessarily mean working from home, it indicates the freedom of working from any location that comes as an advantage with remote working. So, organizations should work towards strengthening their cybersecurity parameters instead of addressing cybersecurity tips to the remote workforce.
Here are a few data and cybersecurity threats underlined for you.
Vulnerable network connection
Since the remote workforce has the advantage of the freedom to work from any location of their choice, connecting to vulnerable networks becomes a major threat to corporate data. Connecting to public wifi and accessing business accounts can be unsafe as they have weak security layers and unsecured networks. Confidential data such as accounts credentials, business documents, and corporate assets can be hacked with malicious intent by unethical hackers to intercept the information and steal them.
Usage of personal device
Another concern that the organization face is the usage of personal devices for work purposes. If the organization has deployed managed devices, they are layered with corporate security which is a bit difficult for hackers to break in. The personal device is prone to risks such as malware, virus, and data compromisation.
Another challenge in securing corporate data in the model of remote working is that the device is personal and anyone can use that. If the employee children accidentally delete critical files, the confidential data won’t be restored anyway. The same is the use case if the device is lost or stolen. Until and unless the personal devices are monitored with corporate software without compromising the personal assets of device owners, usage of a personal device for work will seem definitely inappropriate and unsafe.
Cybersecurity attacks have their own set of challenges that cyber threats might not have. While working remotely, it could be possible that the device’s screen is exposed to the public or the employees are discussing sensitive information over the call loudly and these instances can lead to security issues created by an employee. Also, most of the time, employees leave their devices unattended at home and they can commit the same mistake at public places as well which has the potential to invite a threat including loss of standard work culture and cybersecurity challenges for business including confidential data compromisation.
What are the best practices to secure data during remote working?
We have penned down some of the best cybersecurity practices that can be implemented to make remote working more viable and less prone to data threats.
Framework for a remote place
The organization should draft an IT policy with security frameworks mentioning the guidelines that are to be mandatorily followed by the remote workforce in order to use personal devices for work. This process will act as a guideline on what to do and what not to as a cybersecurity measure.
Post the implementation of the IT guidelines on how to use personal devices at work, it is believed that approximately 75% of cybersecurity threats can be eliminated. As the remote workforce is now enforced with stringent guidelines, the regulatory measures drafted by the company eliminates the posing of cybersecurity threats altogether to a manageable extent.
Streamlining communication tools
While working remotely, an organization should streamline a trusted and encrypted communication tool for all its workforce that can prevent the occurrence of cybersecurity issues in the employee’s devices and the organization’s data. Utilizing the same platform for team communication, collaboration, and exchanging sensitive information can assure that the data is encrypted as per the privacy standards set by the organization and not prone to be hacked easily.
Using VPN provides data encryption and an opportunity to curb the instances of cybersecurity attacks during remote working. VPN maps an alternative IP address to your present connected network and ensures that the process of data exchange is unidentifiable to the cyber attackers. However, the usage of VPN can not always be secured when connected to public networks. If the public networks are not layered with security parameters, the chances of potentially compromising the corporate assets are more. But, it is always advisable to connect to a VPN no matter how small the task is and whichever network you are connected to while working remotely.
Compartmentalize your corporate data
Before the trend of BYOD, personal devices were never given emphasis for work purposes. Organizations across diversified domains believed that using personal devices is the root of cybersecurity concerns. The risk of business-critical data being compromised is high during devices getting lost or stolen. Also, potentially possible to incur a cyber attack and get the data compromised unintentionally otherwise due to various reasons too.
It is highly recommended to not connect personal devices to sensitive or unknown networks to avoid any bilateral attacks. A separate user can be made in the same device wherein all the personal and work-related critical assets can be compartmentalized to eliminate the threat of security issues. Your organization can eventually manage or monitor the work profile to push or deploy mission-critical applications or content while you work remotely.
Using multi-factor authentication
Using multi-factor authentication as a password-enforcing policy and confirming your identity to access the work profiles and files can multifold the security layers while working remotely. There are different variants of multi-factor authentication such as security questions, device push notifications, OTP in personal number or registered number, and biometrics. One of the most used formats of multi-factor authentication is two-factor authentication which ensures that the work profiles are accessed by the representative associated and the remote work security is retained.
Ensuring that the parameter or framework to curb the threats of cybersecurity is eliminated, the organization needs to enforce the guidelines to make remote working a better experience. Remote working might become the new normal, strengthening cybersecurity should be the pioneer and frontier agenda of the organizations so that the configuration of policies for the remote workforce is streamlined.
Also, Containerization is a method that is often offered in conjunction with Scalefusion MDM Software to streamline the remote working experience. This method segregates the profile of remote devices into personal and professional compartments or protected bubbles. The work compartment is further locked down with password protection dissimilar to the personal device passcode. The container created is administered and monitored by the organization and their set of remote working framework policies are applicable only to this bubble itself. With the method of containerization, the employees can utilize the corporate assets as well as the personal assets anytime and anywhere without the fear of inviting security concerns to corporate assets.
Author Bio: Ayush Maskara is a Junior Content Writer at Scalefusion EMM Solution. A media science graduate, a photographer, a fiction author, a storyteller, a fiction manuscript editor, and an avid self-help reader, Ayush has been penning the creative wisdom for six years and has stepped into the IT domain for further exploration and staying awake with technological trends across the globe.