Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections
You are here: Home Focus 5 Cybersecurity Considerations in a Remote Work World

5 Cybersecurity Considerations in a Remote Work World

07 January 2021, 21:13 CET

With the workplace looking like it has made an indefinite, and perhaps even permanent switch to remote and work-from-home arrangements, cybersecurity threats and concerns are more pressing than ever.

What was already a multi-billion-dollar industry pre-pandemic is poised to grow considerably over the next few years, as more business and operations are conducted online and an increasing number of devices are connected to ever-better 4 and 5G networks. With that in mind, below are 5 cybersecurity considerations for a remote work world.

Anonymity and IP Protection

A VPN, or virtual private network, is meant to hide your IP address from snoopers and potential malicious actors while ensuring your connection is secure. While most businesses have much if not all of their sensitive data stored in the cloud, and cloud storage comes with built-in security, it is rarely infallible. The litany of high-profile data breaches over the past several years is a testament to that.

Choosing a good VPN should be considered a necessary cost of doing business in a remote work world. It helps keep both proprietary and customer data secure and makes it nearly impossible for cybercriminals and unauthorized third parties to track your business' activity online.

Most EU Businesses Are Not Well Informed

While 80 per cent of EU businesses experienced one or more cybersecurity incidents in 2016, most businesses (and especially small businesses) are still quite unaware of the risks. Survey results indicate that almost 70 per cent of EU businesses have, at most, a basic understanding of the cybersecurity risks they face on a daily basis. 60 per cent of EU business have not calculated potential losses due to cybersecurity breaches.

Survey results also indicate that one-third of organizations would prefer to settle with cybercriminals and extortionists rather than invest in more robust cybersecurity measures and infrastructure. Rest assured, cybercriminals know this and will be ramping up their efforts in the coming months and years as an alarming number of EU businesses fail to take adequate precautions with their data.

The Need for More Robust Authorization and Authentication Processes

Most businesses with at least a cursory understanding of cybersecurity know that authorization and authentication steps are crucial when protecting data. Anyone who works or who has worked in an office environment likely has experience with the different levels of access granted to various employees based on their function, as well as the verification processes for accessing and using data. Authorization and authentication can take place in one or more steps, with certain conditions that prevent or require users to re-enter credentials in order to access certain information.

With so many workers connecting and logging in from home, and often from personal computers, phones, tablets and other devices, businesses throughout the EU are going to have to place much more emphasis on robust authorization and authentication measures. This will include multi-step authentication methods, time-sensitive access, and even requiring employees to fortify their cybersecurity protection at home.

It Makes Sense to Facilitate Home Cybersecurity for Employees

It naturally follows that if employees are going to be accessing sensitive work data and information from the comfort of their home and using personal devices, more will need to be done to ensure those devices remain protected against things like phishing, ransomware and malware. Much of good cybersecurity involves education and awareness, which can be taught, but a significant component of it must be purchased.

These purchases include firewall protections, VPNs, anti-virus software and the like. All of these things cost money and employers who can help employees bear the burden of this cost should do so. If working from the office is no longer an option, employees will need to make their home devices and connections work-safe, which requires certain investments. Employers should carefully consider the risks posed by remote work and the benefit allotments and allowances necessary to mitigate them.

Employee Education is Non-Negotiable

All EU businesses should consider informing and educating their people the first and most important line of defense against cybercriminals and data theft. There is a wide range of cybersecurity courses, seminars and literature available, for free, that can and should be compiled into detailed training manuals for all employees working from home and with access to sensitive company data.

Ignorance of the threats is often what opens the door to cybercriminals phishing for data or sending misleading malicious links and programs. Equipping your employees with a better understanding of cybersecurity issues and dangers will go a long way to helping protect company data and the bottom line while staff works partially or fully from home.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity threats are, unfortunately, a fact of life in a digital and global economy. The cat and mouse game played by cybercriminals and cybersecurity experts will continue indefinitely, which means businesses are always going to be at risk. Understanding the threats and issues and planning for the worst-case scenario is what will minimize risks and losses moving forward.

Document Actions
EU Alerts

EUbusiness Week no. 851
Time to speed up climate action
→ EUbusiness Week archive

The Week Ahead no. 491
COVID-19 coordination - Portuguese presidency work programme - Recovery and Resilience Facility - relations with the US - right to disconnect

Subscription options