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Cybersecurity in Today’s Remote Work Environment

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that remote work was viable for many companies. Today, remote and hybrid work models have become standard options for most professionals. While remote schedules have many benefits, it also exposes both individuals and businesses to a range of cybersecurity risks. Cybercriminals are seizing on this shift by exploiting vulnerabilities in the infrastructure that enables remote work. The necessity of more rigorous and powerful cybersecurity is at a peak, and it is important for organizations to know their exposure to risk and plan for ample protection.

Among the greatest cyber risk factors in remote work environments are the following:

Expanded Attack Surfaces. With employees at multiple locations, organizations now have more endpoints, networking and software to secure.

Unsecured Networks. Remote work increases the chance that employees will use unsecured networks, such as public Wi-Fi.

Vulnerable Hardware. Remote work increases the use of personal devices and the lack of skill to ensure home routers, laptops and smartphones were properly updated and adequately secured.

Social Hacking. Hackers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their socially engineered attacks, including well-engineered phishing email attacks that contain links or attached documents that can be malware or phone calls to gain unwarranted information.

Cloud Data Storage. Choosing the right provider, breaches through Application User Interface, cloud abuse and misconfigurations in public cloud networks.

Lack of Security Talent. Staffing challenges and the struggle to recruit qualified IT and cybersecurity specialists present risks to a company’s security.

Weak Security. Employees using weak or predictable passwords and without using two- factor authentication.

Patch Management of Software. Not keeping software up to date can create critical vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Businesses need an expanding suite of security capabilities to protect against advanced cyber-attacks. Prevention and detection-focused security practices can help protect your business from cyber-attacks and define a clear course of action if there is a data breach attempt. Ultimately, following some basic best practices can help shield private data from unauthorized access and ensure your company’s ability to operate smoothly in today’s remote working environment.

Partnering with a company that specializes in Service Organization Control (SOC) audits and consultation, such as Dannible & McKee, can assist in designing, implementing and assessing your internal controls, including those surrounding electronic data and cybersecurity, to help keep your company’s data safe!

Learn more best practices to protect your business from cyber-attacks in the online edition of “Ask the Expert” on CNY Business Journal’s website.