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How to avoid the security risks of remote working

There has been a huge increase in remote workers in recent years. Whether employees work from public transport on their way to meetings occasionally or a CEO runs their organisation from home on a regular basis, remote working has dramatically grown in popularity. So much so that by 2016, the number of remote workers had grown by a fifth in the past decade according to a study by Tuc.

Working remotely comes with a number of benefits, it allows for flexible working hours, savings of travel costs and increased productivity. Nonetheless, there are a number of security risks that are associated with remote working that can often put employers off. However, avoiding these security risks is easy.

We have compiled the three biggest security risks to remote workers and the easy way to avoid insecure remote working.

Insecure Wi-Fi

Nowadays, thanks to public Wi-Fi and charging points we can setup a remote working space almost anywhere – in cafes, gyms, hotels, airports and even on a train or aeroplane. These public Wi-Fi hotspots offer remote workers free access to the internet.

Unfortunately, despite it being extremely convenient, free public Wi-Fi can offer a number of security threats. Man-in-the-middle attacks, where a hacker can intercept the data inputted from a computer to a website, meaning information entered is no longer private, are very common on public Wi-Fi networks.

To combat insecure Wi-Fi networks, employees should try to limit their use of public Wi-Fi. When they do utilise a public Wi-Fi network we suggest that they try to access as little secure information as possible.

Un-educated remote workers

The biggest security risk may in fact be, remote workers themselves, especially those that are unaware of the security risks of working away from the office. If workers are uneducated on the risks, they won’t take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their software and hardware. We would suggest the following in-order-to educate your remote workers on secure practice for working out of the office:

  • Turn on automatic updates for Windows, Office and all software too
  • Have set guidelines in place for all remote workers so they know what is and isn’t acceptable
  • Provide them with organisation approved USB sticks so that they don’t risk transferring viruses to the hardware of their computers

Insufficient Security Measures  

If remote workers do not have appropriate security measures in place, they are leaving themselves open and vulnerable to a number of security risks.

When working remotely we suggest that employees take regular backups of their work if they are the sole person working on that particular piece of work. This way, if anything does get lost or corrupted there will be an additional copy to revert back to.

One of the most obvious, yet often overlooked, security tips for working remotely is to ensure your security software is installed and kept up to date. This includes anti-virus, device encryption, firewalls and web filtering. This ties in with the suggestion that software should be installed to ensure that emails are encrypted. This will ensure that any information in those emails will not be able to be viewed by any third party interceptors.

Two of the more obvious, but extremely important nonetheless, security tips are to keep secure passwords and to keep your equipment safe. In regards to your passwords, those that you set for both hardware and software should be as secure as possible. Ideally with a different password for each thing you sign into. We also suggest using two step authentication and to not auto-save passwords. When it comes to the physical equipment that you use when working remotely, including mobiles and computers, keeping it in sight at all times is imperative. We suggest locking them away when they’re not in use. In addition, when working, take the same precautions as you would in the office and be careful to not spill liquids on your devices and to keep them well ventilated.

If you would like to learn more about how our services can assist with remote working, get in touch with our friendly team today on 01952 221 327 or enquiries@networktelecom.co.uk.

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