The world is experiencing shifts in the way we work. The pandemic forced many businesses to switch to remote environments, and as a result, there has been an increased reliance on cloud technology to support this transition. While this worldwide change has been necessary to keep businesses operational and afloat, it has also significantly impacted cybersecurity. With more employees accessing sensitive company data from personal devices and home networks, the potential for cyberattacks has increased.
In this article, we’ll examine the impact of work-from-home on cloud security, outline remote work cybersecurity risks, and provide best practices for attack prevention.
What is Cloud Security?
As businesses increasingly rely on cloud technology to store and manage their data, cloud or cybersecurity has become more critical than ever. But what exactly is cloud security? In simple terms, this refers to the steps taken to safeguard data stored in the cloud against unauthorized access, attacks, theft or damage. These measures can include:
- Two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Access controls
- Intrusion detection and prevention
Benefits of Cloud Security
One of the main benefits of cloud security is that it allows businesses to store and access their data from anywhere while still ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of that information. This is particularly useful in today’s work-from-home era, where employees need access from their remote locations.
Changes in Cloud Security for Businesses Working from Home
Here are some key changes and challenges that come with shifting to remote work:
- Increased risk of cyberattacks: Employees who work from home may use personal devices or networks that are less secure than those in the office. This can make them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. In addition, remote workers may be more likely to use unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, which can also increase risks.
- Challenges in controlling and monitoring home networks and personal devices: In many cases, businesses don’t have control over the security settings on at-home networks or devices, making it difficult to enforce security policies or detect breaches.
- Greater reliance on cloud-based security solutions: With the increased risks and challenges come a greater dependence on cloud-based security solutions. This means that infrastructure, methods, and processes must be sophisticated enough to adapt and meet security needs across multiple remote locations. For businesses with little technical expertise, this can be a challenge.
Remote Work Cybersecurity Risks
Now that we’ve covered some of the changes in the landscape for businesses, here are some examples of risks you may face as a company that has adopted work-from-home policies:
- Phishing attacks: Cybercriminals often use phishing emails to trick employees into giving up sensitive information or installing malware. While this risk is not new for businesses, a remote work setting makes employees particularly vulnerable, as attackers are getting more clever and targeted. Consequences of phishing can include data breaches, identity theft, and financial losses.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi networks: Employees who connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to security threats because attackers can intercept sensitive information. This can lead to malware, data theft, and unauthorized access to company systems.
- Unpatched devices: Computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets that have not received the latest software updates and security patches may weaken these systems. A cybercriminal could use any known issues with a device’s operating system or software to install malware, steal sensitive data, or gain access to other systems on the network.
- Shadow IT: This refers to any hardware, software, or cloud services that employees use without the knowledge or approval of your IT department. Shadow IT can introduce potentially unsecured technology into the company’s IT ecosystem, creating unknown entry points for attackers.
How to Minimize Risks: Best Practices
There are various steps your organization can take to minimize the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches while ensuring your employees can continue to work effectively and securely from home.
- Develop a remote work policy: Your policies should outline the rules and regulations for employees working from home. This should include guidelines on using personal devices and networks and pointers on accessing and handling sensitive information.
- Secure home networks and encourage safe practices: Encourage your employees to secure their home networks and devices with strong passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA), firewalls, and antivirus software.
- Provide secure devices: You can provide employees with devices specifically designed for remote work. This can include laptops or solutions like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or mobile device management (MDM).
- Implement access controls: These controls can limit access to sensitive systems and data to those who need it to perform their duties. This can minimize the risks of insider threats and unauthorized access.
- Use cloud-based security solutions: Implementing and managing cloud-based security solutions can be daunting for businesses that lack technical expertise. Consider hiring a managed IT cloud service for all your cybersecurity needs.
How to Create a Security-Conscious Team
- Establish clear security policies: As mentioned above, a remote work policy is vital in establishing boundaries and expectations.
- Provide regular security training: Awareness programs and ongoing training can ensure everyone at your company understands security risks and how to respond to potential threats. This training should provide clear examples to contextualize these situations and help recognize an attack. Overall, this strategy can help employees feel confident working securely from home.
- Monitor network activity: This practice can help detect potential security incidents before they become significant issues. While it can be difficult in a remote setting, specific tools and software can help monitor activity.
- Create an incident response plan: An incident response plan outlines the steps that should happen during a security incident. It should include details such as who to notify, how to contain the incident, and how to recover. Having this plan in place can help everyone in your organization feel prepared.
Stay Ahead of the Threats with Managed IT Solutions
At RevNet, we understand the unique challenges of remote work environments. That’s why we offer effective cloud solutions, including anti-virus and network monitoring, to bring you peace of mind no matter where your employees are located. Contact us today to learn more.