For most people, living and working amidst coronavirus has been challenging at best. How we socialise and conduct business is forever changed. The sudden shift to remote work was particularly disruptive.
Organisations were forced to hastily embrace new practices and procedures over compressed timelines. Without any clear modus operandi for establishing remote working arrangements, security often fell by the wayside as unprepared and unsuspecting companies opened their networks to cybercriminals.
At the same time, we witnessed the proliferation of malware attacks, spam campaigns, and devious scams that were designed to leverage general fear and uncertainty. Threats ranged from opportunistic fraud schemes to the Maze ransomware group that attacked British researchers who were preparing COVID-19 vaccine trials. The CTSI suggests that the UK has been the most targeted country for coronavirus related cyberattacks seeking to steal confidential data.
Throughout the pandemic, cyberattacks were continuously aimed at vulnerable work-from-home systems to test new techniques. With remote working going nowhere, digital safety and security from work from home IT support solutions is now a top priority for UK businesses.
There are a number of best practices that UK organisations should consider as they attempt to bolster their security defenses, so read on and discover how you can protect your remote workers from cyberattacks.
How can organisations ensure that their networks are protected? Start with the endpoint.
It’s any given device that physically occupies an edge in its network. An endpoint doesn’t merely switch channels or relay frequencies. Instead, it defines where communications originate and where they arrive. Here are a few endpoints that might be in your network:
- Desktops and laptops
- Printers and scanners
- Servers and virtual machines
- Fitness trackers and smart televisions
- IoT devices like cameras and thermostats
With almost everything existing online in some form, protecting the endpoint is no longer a walk in the park. Remote workers typically share home or public networks with numerous devices. Each of them is an endpoint capable of facilitating cyberattacks in the absence of proper security.
Are you familiar with the devices connected to your network? Can you say that all of them are protected?
Beyond traditional endpoints such as computers and servers, an alarming number of businesses are essentially blind. This is no way forward, as you can’t secure what can’t be seen.
That’s why it’s vital for organisations to effectively map out their networks and classify connected devices, thus making it possible to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities. An endpoint protection platform with AI functionality can perform this process accurately and efficiently.
Of course, there’s more to network security than that. Let’s explore the next steps in protecting your business data.
While employees might not be working in the office, they aren’t necessarily at home, either.
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, people are telecommuting and clocking in at coffee shops, public parks, or holiday hotels. Either way, they’re likely using unprotected public networks that are far more susceptible to threats.
This can potentially expose the company data stored on their laptops, not to mention their own private details and financial information. There are several ways to reduce the risk. For instance, remember to account for physical theft by enabling full disk encryption on devices that leave the office. You should also:
- Use password management to ensure that all login details are unique
- Remind employees to log out and remain vigilant in public areas
- Install tracking software to locate lost devices
- Implement multi-factor authentication
- Limit sharing between different users
Most organisations need to provide remote access to their corporate network, which inherently carries some risk.
The best thing you can do is educate your team on relevant cybersecurity practices. Threats tend to arise when someone lets down their guard or takes advantage of their remote position, such as by using a company device for leisure. Fostering attentive and informed employees will eliminate countless security concerns.
To better secure your data, use zero-trust solutions when linking external devices to on-site networks and servers. These methods establish a direct connection as though you’re using LAN cables. Make sure to remind remote employees that company devices still belong to the organisation and are only meant for work-related activities.
Remote IT Support
There aren’t many smaller businesses with the expertise and resources to fully secure their network alone.
It only takes one vulnerability to compromise an entire system, be it due to an unprotected workstation, mobile, server or software. Here at Totality Services, our portfolio of IT support solutions for London-based businesses ensures that core security infrastructure is effectively managed while constantly detecting, reporting, and neutralising incidents.
We can also help you meet commercial requirements and regulatory compliance. Work from home IT Support providers offer various other security solutions depending on your needs. This may include:
- Network security audits to report threats and resolve issues
- Centralised security policy deployment and support for operating systems
- Microsoft and Google add-ons that provide rich security features
- Backup solutions and monitoring to protect data
- Deployment of antivirus and antimalware
- Full disk encryption services
While having an expert IT support team at your side can cover most aspects of cybersecurity in your business, there is one more type of threat that you’ll need to prepare for.
Malware and Phishing
Increased reliance on email and other text-based communication is characteristic of remote work.
However, it can make it challenging to differentiate between legitimate messages and those with less pure intentions. Now more than ever, malware and phishing campaigns are a serious risk to remote working organisations. Take the time to educate your employees on identifying these threats and dealing with them correctly.
For instance, you can train them to watch out for red flags such as generic greetings, inconsistent sender details, poor formatting, language mistakes, incorrect facts, and alarming content with dire warnings.
You can also make use of endpoint detection and response solutions that prevent the spread of malicious content onto the rest of your network. These function similarly to firewalls by rapidly detecting malware that was initiated by an employee and blocking access to other components.
There’s no telling just how much money, time, and trouble these strategies will spare your business when practiced effectively. As we touched on earlier, remote IT support services can offer one of the most complete and effective network security solutions. If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a no obligation chat with our friendly team.