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Keeping Cyber-Secure in the Home Office

28th December 2020

As technology continues to revolutionise how we are able to work, the need for businesses and their employees to install strong cybersecurity is at an all-time high.

The pandemic has forced office-based staff to work from home in a virtual environment, prompting a sharp rise in cyberattacks from criminals seeking to take advantage of the larger cohort operating online with limited digital experience.

A recent report from the UN Office of Counterterrorism suggests the rise in online attacks has been unprecedented.

The estimated 350% increase in phishing sites, during the pandemic period, indicates that businesses’ employees must be extra vigilant when operating remotely.

In the conventional office space, the environment would be controlled and secured against any outside interference. However, in the ‘home office’ space, it is extremely hard for businesses to ensure that employees use a secure connection. Networks may be accessed using regular home broadband or, in some cases, a public connection in a café or hospitality venue.

Cyber criminals have been able to access a wider pool of unsuspecting victims, because these networks are so much easier to tap into.

To combat their susceptibility to unlawful activity, organisations have started to enforce employee protocols to make them more aware of this threat and to minimise any further risk. For example, this could involve attending cyber-security training sessions, using internal channels or sending employees home with work computers.

There are some other basic cyber-secure practices that businesses can implement for the home office:

  • Keeping software and devices up to date
  • Ensuring strong passwords are used
  • Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Clearly informing employees about online risks

However, it is important for senior leadership teams to ensure that there is a consistent approach to this, such as regularly checking in on their remote workers to make sure they are using any online software in a correct and safe manner.

Whilst precautions are being taken to keep networks secure for remote workers, the issue of reinitiating any cyber security protocols when back at the office, once a return is encouraged, remains a point of concern. Neglected PCs may have been untouched for months and will require the latest defence software to be installed when brought back online.

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