Gospel Bassey is a creative technical writer
Did you know that over 20% of organizations do not protect their remote users on the internet, and only 9% use some means to protect them against internet-based threats? This is occurring despite the looming cybersecurity threats as remote work became more popular, as seen in a 19.8% increase in data breaches for businesses that switched to remote work patterns.
But how did we even get here?
The Covid19 pandemic was a driving force behind several businesses shutting down operations during the lockdown. Consequently, about half of the workforce began working remotely for prolonged periods. This popularized the idea of working from home, working remotely, or as I love to put it, Working From Anywhere.
According to Databasix, 74% of organizations surveyed say 50-100% of staff are working from home, while 86% say the trend will continue after lockdown. Interestingly, this idea eradicates the notion of work being tethered to a particular location and increases the possibility and advantages of pooling in global talents from almost anywhere and utilizing them, using available
However, this paradigm shift in working culture hasn’t been perfect security-wise. Well, this isn’t a utopia, and you didn’t expect everything to be perfect, did you? According to Databasix, remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach by $137,000. The statistics highlighting the cybersecurity dangers lurking around remote work have been nothing but thought-provoking, and a few of them are:
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, remote work has become the leading cause of cybersecurity threats as cybercriminals devise new methods to attack remote workers. This Malwarebytes
So, it is not merely poor organizational security management within companies that causes cyber security breaches but individual employees too. These breaches caused by employees are referred to as ‘Insider Threat Risks.’ Contrary to public opinion, Insider Threat Risks may not always be a displeased employee selling the company out or acting maliciously. The majority of these Insider Threat Risks are due to the carelessness and negligence of remote workers.
A study from the University of Central Florida further buttresses this opinion, as the study revealed that when employees are stressed out, they are far more likely to fault security rules and regulations. These faults, carelessness, and errors can prove very costly to the company.
Most times, remote workers only take shortcuts that break these rules to increase productivity as they are stressed out. But ProofPoint indicates that this carelessness can prove extremely costly as fixing an insider-related breach can cost a large company roughly $22.68 million and a medium or small-sized company around $500,000. These are staggering figures considering these facts about security threats and the propensity of a data breach around the world as reported by
Sadly, these attacks are not slowing down. In 2021, the
What is even more saddening are the facts from another
Ransomware: Cyber attackers can infiltrate sensitive data online through malware called Ransomware. This type of malware blocks users from accessing their systems. The cyber attackers will then take control of the systems and ask for ransom or threaten to publish/sell the data if a ransom is not paid.
Weak passwords: Login credentials are one of the biggest threats facing remote workers as they keep on using recycled, old, weak, or insecure passwords for their remote working accounts. These passwords are easily cracked by cyber attackers using software that can guess login combinations. Another way is hacking corporate accounts used by remote workers by using the passwords used by remote workers on their accounts.
Unsecure Wi-Fi: Most corporate companies' Wi-Fi networks are protected by secure firewalls to monitor and block malignant traffic. However, remote workers may connect to the corporate company’s systems using unsecured Wi-Fi. This leaves them susceptible to a data breach that may expose the company’s corporate data.
File sharing: Files stored on corporate servers are mostly safe due to encryption protection. Despite this, these files can be vulnerable to attacks during transit or intra-transfers through file sharing tools by remote workers. This can lead to identity fraud or ransomware attacks.
In one word? Absolutely. A blog on Turing, an AI-based talent cloud company founded by Jonathan Siddharth and Vijay Krishnan, points out
Although PurpleSec reports that 71.1 million people fall victim to cyber crimes yearly, it also notes that zero trust security policies saved $1.76 million per breach and security-driven AI had the best cost mitigation, saving up to $3.81 million. Along with zero trust security policies and security-driven AI, there are also more ways of securing remote workers from cyber risks. An enumeration of these methods is given below:
Cybersecurity is one of the major talking points in today's tech world, as millions of dollars have been lost and more are at risk of being forfeited to cyber attackers because of the growing threat and expertise of cyber attackers. However, to always be ahead of these cyber attackers and ensure that all these methods of cyber attack prevention are implemented, it is pertinent to hire an internet security developer. Ultimately, cybersecurity can only be attained through the combined 100% adherence of everyone involved, especially remote workers.
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