With working from home being a permanent part of many companies post-pandemic, it is time to focus on this new dynamic and the vulnerabilities it poses to businesses if cybersecurity is not a priority moving forward. To make things a little easier to understand, try thinking about each business network as a “web” or a “chain”. Each piece of a network is connected in some way, and properly protecting and segmenting the network into smaller parts is the key to keeping other connected devices safe.
This diagram makes it a little easier to understand how all of the devices are connected. Luckily, with everything under one roof, it is relatively straightforward for your IT partner or staff to control and keep the proper safeguards in place.
However, the past year showed where things get tricky. With the shift to remote working happening so quickly, many did not have the opportunity to properly secure their employees’ home networks. Along with having to adapt and being more vulnerable while in a familiar place, remote employees became a huge target for hackers over the past year. A big reason for this is that business networks went from looking like the above diagram to this:
Even without technical knowledge, it’s easy to see how this new structure opens the network up for a lot more risk – and this doesn’t even take the user into account! The main issue here is that users do not have the same controls safeguarding them such as a firewall or the same level of monitoring capabilities. Hackers have been having a field day with all of the brand new vulnerabilities that have been created from spreading the network out too thin.
I’m concerned… but what do I do next?
We know this information can be overwhelming and frankly concerning, but we have suggestions on the basics of securing your remote workers:
- Make sure that employees are never accessing the company network unless it’s over a VPN (secure and encrypted) connection
- Ensure that any device your employees use to access work data is being monitored the same as any company device
- Verify that the device your employees use for work has antivirus/antimalware software in place
- Train your employees in important cybersecurity topics such as phishing/ransomware – humans are often the cause of a breach
- Provide company-owned devices whenever necessary to keep work data separate – we do not recommend the use of personal devices
- For best possible protection, provide your employees with a basic setup for working from home (laptop, firewall, internet service, etc.)
We know this is a lot to manage on your own… which is why we’re here to help! If you have concerns about the safety of your business’s network due to your remote employees, contact us today.