Certainly, nobody wants to hear this, but covid lockdowns might be coming back. Remember when the world was locked down for about two years, and none of us could believe what was going on?
Yeah, that fiasco. Now, the world seems to be back to normal, for the most part.
Banter aside, there might be lockdowns again at some point, and this is a reality we must face as a society. The points we’ll discuss have nothing to do with health, however. The points we’ll discuss relate to working safely remotely if lockdowns plague us again.
Now, working remotely is a concept in itself that needs to be explored in-depth. Moreover, we must discuss the security aspects of your remote work experience. It is impossible to overestimate why applying cybersecurity awareness to remote work is crucial in your life.
This is because being safe while remote working is key because both the safety of your devices and, more importantly, the integrity of your personal data is at risk if you do not apply proper cyber hygiene and internet common sense practices.
Now, this might sound a tad confusing at the moment, but rest assured that the picture in your head will be crystal clear by the end of this article. Everything will click once you find out why cybersecurity is important for remote workers (and the companies that offer remote work)!
What is Remote Working?
You may be remote working right now while reading this. Perhaps you have not heard of the concept and are at a job that cannot transfer employees to a remote work model such as workplaces that require very hands-on workers.
After all, remote working is a rather new concept. It has taken shape during this decade alone and has massively gained popularity due
to global lockdowns. It is a revolutionary change to the classic work models that society has been habituated to for over a century. That is, working remotely is the exact opposite of working 9-5 at the office. Remote work has allowed people to work from home, most often from a laptop, and not have to physically come to the office.
It is not uncommon that, as a remote worker, you have never met your colleagues in real life! Working from home also ties into models such as WFA or Work From Anywhere. Essentially, if the company you work for allows you to work remotely from a laptop, you can work from any location (if you are not locked down, of course).
Sometimes, more flexible companies even allow you to shift your work hours as you see fit. This is all thanks to the marvel that is the internet and technological advancements in things like cheap internet speed and how powerful even budget laptops have become.
How to Be Safe While Working Remotely If Covid Strikes Again
Now, let’s get to safety. Have you ever considered the importance of safety on your devices and while browsing the internet? The statistics show that a massive amount of people have no clue about security. This means they do not understand cyber risks and the proper configuration of their devices. That is as far as employees are concerned.
Now, statistics also show that companies also have alarmingly low levels of online security, too. This is a shocking fact because what are we doing if our precious and sensitive data is not secured?
To illustrate the point further, we can follow up with a list of factors that can take place in a remote working environment for both ends (employee and employer).
We will also list cybersecurity risks in there if there is no cybersecurity application (or a weak one) involved in the business model;
General Variables Affecting the Remote Work Environment
● First of all, locked down employees and the rest of the team can suffer depression due to isolation
● How do management track employees and their performance when working remotely?
● Issues with communication may occur in a much more detached online environment than a physical office environment
● Are the workplace conditions commensurate with the business model?
● How are emergencies covered for remote workers/
● What about travel expenses and emergency travel scenarios?
Cybersecurity Factors Affecting the Remote Work Environment
Here are the cybersecurity factors in play when applying a remote working model;
● Are remote workers’ devices considered safe i.e. can employees fall victim to email phishing scams?
● Are employees’ passwords sufficient?
● Is file sharing encrypted?
● Are employees’ personal WiFi connections (home or mobile) secured?
● Are employees’ personal devices being used for work purposes, and if so, is the cybersecurity there adequate?
As you can see, there are loads of factors to consider for both remote employees and employers that allow remote work. It is easy to forget that cybersecurity is key. Accessing data via unsafe WiFi networks, using personal devices for work, using weak and easily accessible passwords as well as ignoring basic remote work practices in public places is a recipe for disaster on both ends. It is key to be meticulous about these issues because of several things;
● External factors such as hackers and ill-intentioned individuals
● Disgruntled employees who could hack company servers
● The personal cybersecurity of company staff
● The integrity of company data
Whether you are an employee or employer, ensure that your cybersecurity is perfect. Running a company is a serious business, and so is being an employee.
Today, there are hundreds of ways you can be compromised online. You can be scammed, hacked, or spied on. The worst-case scenario is that bad security practices can lead to ransomware attacks where hackers will lock you out of your sensitive information and ask for money in return.
If you use common sense, good BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices, and premium cybersecurity tools such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and antivirus/antimalware software, you and your company will certainly be much better off.