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Top 7 Security Challenges of Remote Working


The year 2020 was unlike any other year so far in the 21st century. It brought with it an assortment of some of the best and worst experiences for humanity. The pandemic that destroyed the lives of millions also gave us some much-needed innovations in the field of science and technology. The most significant of these was the advancements in communication, particularly the internet. Thanks to it, we were able to stay connected with our friends and loved ones while being confined in our homes.  

Top-7-Security-Challenges-of-Remote-Working

The COVID-19 pandemic also influenced a major cultural shift in our lives. It popularised the concepts of “study from home” and “work from home.“ Due to people being unable to go out or conglomerate at public places, many educational institutions and businesses had to shift to operating online. The living room became the new classroom and the dining table, the new office cubicle. In addition to the convenience that it provided, working from home brought with it many challenges too. Balancing work life and private life post-pandemic became somewhat easier.

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As many work life-private life boundaries eased, we were also introduced to certain unprecedented challenges. The challenges that we are referring to are the security challenges that arose, and are still there, with remote working. What are these security challenges? How do we diagnose them? Read on to find out.

7 Major Remote Working Security Challenges

Here we have listed down the top 7 security challenges that come with working remotely, to make you more aware.  

1. Insecure and Weak Passwords

The first wall that every advanced hacker or rookie hacker has to get through is the wall of passwords. Having strong passwords for all the devices and accounts is the very first step to ensure the security of your data. Employees often forget to use strong, long, and complicated passwords. Additionally, they don’t change the password as frequently as is recommended by cyber security experts. This potentially exposes their data to innumerable threats on the internet.

There are several ways suggested by cyber pundits to create strong passwords. Make sure that the passwords you use have numbers, characters, and special characters like @,#,*, etc. The passwords should also have at least eight characters and should be changed periodically, ideally once or twice a month. It is also important to have different passwords for every account and device that an employee has.

2. Using Personal Devices for Professional Purposes

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device– is a work policy often adopted by small organizations that involve employees using their devices for official work. This working model, while convenient to some degree, is more prone to data breaches. Employees share important data, both personal and professional, through various devices over shared networks. This leads to easy breaches of cybersecurity.

It becomes important to keep track of confidential information since remote working makes it extremely difficult to fix accountability. Organizations should opt for more secure work models or set strict data security protocols to ensure data security is not compromised.

3. Weak Backup and Recovery Measures

Employees have been working remotely for over 20 months now. The devices they use for their work contain loads of information and data. As a consequence, these data and files hog up a lot of storage space on their devices. This is why the limited space on these devices is often overburdened.  

The strained memories of these devices can give up on employees anytime. This is why having robust backup and recovery systems set in place is important. Without proper backup, the risk of data loss is higher. Cloud storage offered by Google or Amazon is one of the best backup options that employees can consider. Also, having a second local storage device at hand to store crucial files is also a recommended method.

4. Unencrypted File-Sharing Practices

File sharing is an integral part of almost all organizations. However, when files are shared through insecure means, it can lead to data security breaches. Encrypted file sharing is considered secure because the file to be shared is encrypted and the encryption key is shared only with the sender and receiver.  

Unencrypted file-sharing, or using unencrypted emails to share files and other information can put confidential information at risk. Organizations should place file sharing protocols and encourage employees to use encrypted file sharing. It is important to look out for unauthorized access in P2P file sharing, limit unapproved and corrupt file downloads, and control user access to confidential and important files.  

5. Cloud Storage Security

Cloud storage is one of the most essential tools for employees and employers alike. The use and dependence on cloud storage have grown significantly, especially during the pandemic, owing to remote work. Employees use cloud storage for backing up files and data on their computers. 

However, managing all the cloud accounts and files stored in these accounts is often overlooked by employees and organizations. Cloud storage can be prone to cybersecurity threats. The shared files are also at greater risk of getting hacked.  

6. Phishing Emails and Scams  

Phishing scams have been around for the better half of the past decade, and yet people fall for these. Phishing emails and scams prompt individuals into leaking important information, personal or professional, or both knowingly or unknowingly. And this goes both for the employees as well as organizations.  

According to a report published by the FBI, phishing was the most common cybercrime in 2020. The number of attacks also doubled in 2020 as compared to the number of attacks in 2019. Employees need to be cautious while reading any email they get from mailers impersonating banks or other authorities asking for credit card and debit card details.  

7. Fragile Remote Working Infrastructure  

Remote working is likely to continue even after the pandemic ceases. Therefore, setting a safe remote work culture is critical. Developed countries rarely face issues with internet connectivity. But, for people in less developed regions, a fragile networking infrastructure poses a significant challenge in ensuring the consistency of their work.  

With robust remote infrastructure and raised cyber security awareness, the remote workspace can be made transparent and employees accountable.

Conclusion

Remote Working has become the norm post-pandemic. We have gotten so used to this cultural shift that if today, recruiters don’t provide us with an option to work from home, we automatically lower them on our priority list. Although working from home isn’t a new concept, before the pandemic, it was limited to only certain industries and fields. Today, apart from the physical industries such as the manufacturing sector and the transportation sector, a majority of the industries have to a great degree shifted their operations online. Remote working is entirely centered around the internet. Thus, care should be taken to ensure all your data is safe from the prying eyes of thieves and crackers!

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