Securing the Digital Frontier: Safeguarding Data in the Era of Remote Work
Remote work has become a widespread practice around the world, especially after the pandemic. Undoubtedly, it is here to stay. With remote work, employees are able to enjoy a more flexible working schedule, improve their work-life balance and enhance overall productivity. But it has some downsides, too, and one of them is data security.
Data security risks are becoming a significant concern for businesses and organizations. According to Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity firm, 19.8% of organizations fell victim to data breaches after employing remote work arrangements. The reason for this is obvious; no effective data security policy and inadequate employee training.
In this article, we will discuss some of the main challenges of data security in the era of remote work. We will also provide solutions to manage data by implementing best security practices for remote workers.
What Is Data Security And Why Is It Important?
Data security refers to protecting digital information from unauthorized access, hacking, thefts, or other forms of cyberattacks. This includes a security risk assessment of hardware, storage devices, administrative and access control, as well as software applications. Basically, it involves protecting corporate or personal data from cybersecurity issues.
Data security can not only help protect an organization’s important data from cybercriminals, but it also helps guard the system against human errors and other insider threats. Data security employs tools and technologies that enhance the overall visibility of an organization into where its critical data is located and how to protect it.
Common Data Security Challenges Of Remote Working
When company operations are shifted to remote work, the entire network’s security may be put at risk. Hackers are always looking to exploit security vulnerabilities and enter the network. They use modern technologies to invent new ways and attack companies shifting to remote work arrangements. If no proper data security policy is adopted, companies can face financial loss, damage to reputation, and important data loss.
Here are some of the common data security challenges of remote working:
- Remote working means employees use multiple devices to access company data. This means there are more endpoints, networking, and software to secure. It might become a little daunting for the security department to monitor all devices.
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is one of the trends in remote working that enable workers to work flexibly from anywhere using any device. This is an ideal opportunity for hackers to enter and infiltrate the network.
- Remote workers usually use their own devices and local networks, which may not be encrypted. Moreover, these devices are not properly secured and updated.
- Sharing sensitive corporate data over unsecured networks can also lead to cybersecurity attacks such as phishing scams, password attacks, and malware-based attacks.
- Sophisticated socially engineered attacks are becoming common in remote working landscapes where attackers use psychological manipulation to fool employees into giving out confidential data.
Best Practices To Manage Data Security For Remote Work
Here are some easy solutions to overcome the data security challenges of remote work:
- The first step in ensuring data security is to create an effective work-from-home security policy. This policy will be specifically designed for remote workers to help them work in a secure environment. It should include a company’s written plan outlining all standards and procedures for each employee who performs their duties outside the company’s physical offices. All significant aspects of internet security should be covered in the policy, such as tools and platforms employees will be using and steps to follow in case of a data breach.
- It is essential for remote workers to use the company’s internal VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access data. VPN helps route traffic through the internet from your organization’s private network, adding a significant layer of security. Even if anyone tries to intercept the data, they cannot read it.
- Ensure that the device workers are using antivirus software.
- Remote employees should make use of password managers. Password managers are handy security tools that help workers set up different passwords for work-related accounts. They also help in managing and updating passwords regularly.
- A firewall is yet another vital security tool that monitors network traffic. It works by finding and blocking unauthorized traffic. When connected to the company’s firewall, all remote endpoints will prevent any unwanted access to and from the network.
- Apart from using strong passwords, companies need to put multi factor authentication in place for all work devices. It works as an additional security layer for remote employees’ accounts.
- Put an emergency risk management plan in action. In case a breach happens, a plan to handle it should be ready. Establishing a security awareness program for all remote workers is also important.
- Use modern technologies such as AI and machine learning models to automate processes to reduce errors and match current threats and the environment.
In this digital age, remote work can provide multiple opportunities to increase workflow and generate revenue. But data security should be managed efficiently. Failing to address data security issues can put the entire company at risk. The above-mentioned solutions can help create a secure remote working environment and make the business free from cybersecurity threats.