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Cyber attacks: A grim reality of remote working

Pandemic effects

The pandemic affected and is still altering lives in numerous ways, as businesses began grasping at straws and coming to terms of the stark reality ahead. Every facet of work changed dramatically and organizations had to swiftly adapt and tackle the situation head on. Remote working became the norm, as containing the spread of the disease became the priority. Although since the vaccine roll-out, some of the transformations have been reversed, the repercussions can still be felt today. One of such consequences is cyberattacks, as extending the company’s work perimeters presented a number of risks and vulnerabilities. This was affirmed by Check Point Research as their studies uncovered that there was an increase of 50% in weekly attacks on corporate networks globally, and while this trend does not appear to be averting any time soon, there are reasons for optimism should there be genuine actions in terms of comprehensive cybersecurity adjustment.


Vulnerability of remote work

Cloud
With remote work, it is important to address and understand the channels and the manner in which a data breach occurs. With cloud computing, any leakage can be severely detrimental and when working out of office, there is more propensity for off-site infiltration that can present new threat potential, which can be incredibly difficult to track.

BYOD
A bring your own device (BYOD) culture in certain businesses can be considered as treading on dangerous waters. Accessing critical applications and software on personal devices creates an opportunity for data leakage.

Lack of training
An immediate migration working from home without understanding the risks and seriousness of cyber health can be severely detrimental to any organization. When the labor force is dispersed, it can be difficult to set up an educational workshop where everyone can absorb and comprehend the sheer magnitude and effects of a cyber attack, but disregarding the importance of cybersecurity training can almost be considered as suicidal.

New trail of data
Lastly, pre-pandemic meetings were predominantly done face to face, but such was the ambiguity of the severity of the virus at the time, physical interactions were abstained and meetings became conference calls. This is often used for communication purposes, with applications such as zoom, google meets microsoft teams and slack, to name a few, as popular alternatives. However, these applications left a trail of data and the additional entry point merely piqued the interest of cybercriminals, and can only make identifying and resolving data breaches a monumental task.

 

Improvement to cybersecurity

All in on technology
One such way of utilizing IT advancement minimize the chances of cyber attacks is by bolstering its security, whereby devices and network can be monitored and patterns and endpoints for suspicious activities can be identified and established. AI solutions such as user entity and behavior analytics (UEBA) and security information and event management (SIEM) facilitate real-time detection and provide automated analysis and response, a pivotal development for stifling any cyber attacks.


Two-Factor authentication
Implementing access control solutions such as multi-factor authentication can also be crucial, as its additional layer of security can act as a buffer from any external threats.


Remote friendly
The nature of these functions is especially commended as it not only not compromise the advantages of remote work, but can integrate seamlessly and securely. The IT team can access with ease. It does not matter whether the device or the employee is on-site or off-site.


Training
Nonetheless, while these applications and approaches can protect a company’s cyber health, it is highly unrecommended to solely rely on these additions  alone, as there should be continuous evolution. One such avenue to pursue is by arranging regular training sessions. This can ensure that there is a culture of cybersecurity awareness while all employees can be aligned and on the same page. Should everyone understand their responsibilities, the risks of being a victim of cyber attack dramatically decreases. 


Cyber Insurance
It must be noted that there is no complete solution to prevent a cyberattack but it is better to be proactive. Having cyber liability insurance can mitigate the damage a cyber attack can have as there can be compensation and indemnification for any legal and defense costs. 

 

The future of remote working

The flexibility afforded from working from home has reaped rewards for a number of reasons, as productivity, satisfaction and equity has risen, and is rightly endorsed with an estimated forecast of 70% of the workforce working remotely at least 5 days a month by 2025. While there may be viewpoints that this could widen the target for cybercriminals, the hybrid dynamic of the workforce outweighs the risks and should be deemed as an opportunity for IT growth rather than neglect.

 

CHAZ take

Online breaches will never go away but it should not deter any organizations from advocating remote working culture. The correct way to tackle the wave of cyber criminals should be by adopting technologies, heightening security and continued knowledge sharing about cybersecurity responsibility to employees and staffs.

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