Cyber Security in the WFH Age

June 29, 2021 / by Frederid Palacios

Cybersecurity is critical today more than ever. With cybercrime on the rise, organizations need to protect their information by implementing robust security systems. Unfortunately, many organizations lack strong cybersecurity practices, which can result in expensive and damaging data breaches. Not only was this a fatal business flaw in previous years, but even more so now. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more organizations have shifted to remote work. Now that the majority of the workforce is working remotely, cybersecurity best practices are crucial. Organizations need to ensure that their data is protected, no matter where it is being accessed from. Businesses must offer remote access to their networks, leading to a greater chance of cyber-attacks - so their systems must be maintained carefully with security in mind. To help your organization strengthen its information security, we will discuss the best cybersecurity solutions to implement during the work-from-home age we are living in.

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Measure Your Cyber Risk

Before you can begin to manage the security of your organization's network properly, you must measure your current cyber risk. As organizations started the transition to working from home in early 2020, the adoption of cloud-based applications skyrocketed. Cloud services served as excellent solutions for remote work, permitting remote access and collaboration to team members as they worked from home. Cloud solutions have proven to be instrumental in improving efficiency while reducing operating costs for organizations. In fact, 75% of business owners claim that their reliance on cloud-based applications is still growing. While the cloud is an excellent solution, there tends to be an assumption of their security.

Many businesses assume that because cloud solutions are incredibly advanced and intelligent that they offer guaranteed data protection. While the cloud is highly capable and provides better security than traditional databases, there is no guarantee when it comes to cybersecurity. Organizations must recognize that their data is still vulnerable to cyber-attacks while in the cloud, and they must implement further protective measures to ensure security and protection. Remember: no one security solution is enough. Security must be rooted in your organization from the bottom up to protect your data thoroughly.


Secure the Hybrid Work Environment

The WFH changes introduced by the pandemic forced businesses to reinvent how they operate. One of the most significant changes brought on the past year is the concept of hybrid work. This model of work allows some team members to return to the physical workplace while others continue to work remotely from home. While some organizations are looking to bring their entire workforce back into the office, many organizations have grown accustomed to hybrid and remote work and plan to stay that way. As a result, businesses and professionals need to ensure the security of their private networks to allow team members to work remotely without an increased risk of breaches. To achieve this, there are four work-from-home cybersecurity actions that your organization can take.


1. Prioritize Privacy

First and foremost, your organization must make privacy your biggest priority. The information that you are protecting is more than your own, as most organizations collect, retain, and rely on sensitive customer data in addition to their own. Any information that can be ransomed is a target for attackers, and they are not picky about who the data belongs to. This means that your ability to protect this information will also impact your customers and their trust in you. Additionally, you could be liable to customer litigation if they suffer from the impact of a privacy breach on your network or devices. As a result, security must be rooted in your organization, and there are several ways you can ensure this. Standard practices that you should already be performing are to select secure passwords, two-factor authentication, and other traditional security measures as a frontline defense against cyber-attacks.


2. Establish a Single Point of Contact

Once you have set information privacy as your priority, you should establish a single point of contact for IT decisions. Even smaller organizations with limited IT capabilities can keep a record of the applications, devices, and network tools that are operating in their WFH setups. By creating a single point of contact who retains records and provides permissions, your organization can establish a clear chain of communication if a cyber-attack occurs.

In terms of permissions, zero-trust security is an excellent security method that is growing in popularity. The idea behind this concept is that no user or device should be automatically trusted. Instead, users are granted access as needed, and their access permission is limited to only information relevant to them. In addition, anything and everything that tries to connect to an organization's network should be verified before access is granted, and unusual behavior is immediately flagged to deny access. This ensures that the user accessing the network is authenticated, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches and attacks.

Cyber Security as a Competitive Advantage 

3. Deploy Security Tools

Another beneficial practice is to deploy tools that keep your business secure. Many organizations do not know that there is more to information security than deploying anti-virus software. In reality, there are countless other security tools to help you prevent and detect attacks before they cause significant damage. For VPN tools to firewalls and endpoint security solutions, there are numerous ways that you can strengthen your organization's security.

The most important step to take when deploying security tools is to regularly run updates and monitor detections as they occur. An outdated, unpatched, or unmonitored tool is as good as nothing at all. The tools you implement can only keep your information safe if maintained and monitored, so these must be kept up to date. If your organization does not have the capacity to monitor your network regularly, you should find a solution provider that can.


4. Basic Cybersecurity Training

Finally, it is highly beneficial to provide basic cybersecurity training within your organization. Every workforce is different, and all team members are equipped with different skill sets. For some professions, tech-savviness may not be their strong suit. For this reason, providing basic cybersecurity training can drastically improve your data protection and help you avoid careless mistakes. This training does not have to be advanced. Instead, it can be as simple as providing information on what to look for in breaches and how to prevent team members from responding to phishing attempts, accessing sensitive data on a personal device, or downloading unwanted programs.


Secure Your WFH Endpoints

No matter how secure you may believe your business to be, every organization is vulnerable to a cyber-attack. The best defense against a data breach is anticipating and planning for an attack. With this mindset, you can deploy an efficient cybersecurity solution and identify strange activity before it becomes critical and damaging. Especially with your workforce accessing your network from various locations and devices, such as WFH professionals do, you must implement the best security practices to strengthen your security.

Communicating with team members about your security standards and practices is just the start to ensuring the protection of your information. In implementing advanced security tools and teaching security protocols, your organization will be more prepared than ever to avoid, combat, and recover from cybersecurity attacks – at home or in the office.

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Tags: Cyber Security

Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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