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Minimizing Security Risks for an At-Home Workforce

Although working remotely is not uncommon, COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders made it mandatory in many states across the U.S.  As restrictions now begin to lift, the trend of remote working has continued to rise.  This effort minimizes risk to employees, keeps them safe and healthy, and is a pro-active attempt to keep the number of workplace-related positive COVID-19 cases from growing.

Initially considered a short-term solution, here we are some 100+ days later with thousands of U.S. employees working remotely.  According to a recent CNBC article, many of these employees may face the possibility of being offered a permanent transition to an at-home or hybrid work model. However, working remotely doesn’t come without serious security risks that require the expertise and tools to be adequately protected.

Why is the At-Home Workforce Vulnerable?

Remote workers are at greater risk of becoming victimized simply because they are human.  For example, inadvertently giving up their credentials, clicking a malicious link, falling for that request to update banking information, or a malicious fund transfer request from the “CEO”. With human error causing the majority of data breaches, it makes sense to solve the problem at the source.  Here are 3 important reasons why your remote workforce requires the right tools and policies to keep data and devices protected:

  1. You may think customer data isn’t valuable outside your organization, but it’s valuable to you – which is why it’s valuable to cybercriminals

  2. Exposed employee credentials can’t easily be erased from the dark web without proactive security and quick resolution

  3. Re-using passwords is not uncommon and seems harmless to users, but if a breached password is re-used, that account will become vulnerable to a cyberattack.

This means educating and empowering your team and making it a company-wide effort to protect business data, networks and users.  The training process must be engaging, intuitive and relevant to workers in your organization in order for them to have ‘skin in the game’.  It’s truly a group effort.

Most of us do not have robust firewalls at home protecting us from the dark side of the internet.

With all of the collaboration tools workers use today, in addition to email, implementing a more secure way to communicate and access company files can be as simple as installing a VPN (virtual private network).  One way to think about a VPN is that a firewall can protect you while you’re on your device, but a VPN will protect your data. With advanced encryption protocols and secure tunneling techniques, a VPN can protect all online data transfers.  Without a VPN, you have to consider:

  1. Remote workers generally have less restrictive access to the internet

  2. They share networks with personal devices that may be compromised

  3. Rarely is there a mechanism in place to report an intrusion

We understand the near future is uncertain, and seemingly a long road ahead of us. The good news is that Pavelcomm can help you provide a more secure remote workforce, develop policies and procedures to reinforce processes to keep users and data safe, and provide employee training and education to bring about greater awareness of possible dangers.

Concerned about the protocols in place for your remote workers?  Want to make sure you have the right systems in place? Contact us today 503-223-5008 or email to speak with our experts and help you determine what steps you may need to take to protect your assets.

Get started now and learn more about your organization’s potential risks here:

Portions of this article include content from Dave Tallbut, Pavelcomm’s Director, IT Services. You can connect with Dave here.


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