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The COVID-19 pandemic has truly left a major impact on American workplaces. After discovering the cost savings and greater efficiencies of both remote and hybrid working arrangements, many organizations are choosing to remain with these setups permanently. But while this may improve their bottom line and operations, this also makes them prone to remote work cybersecurity threats.

 A proactive approach to fraud risk management is necessary to protect your company against phishing, credential theft, or a successful ransomware attack.

Security Challenges Associated with Remote Work

Remote work brings several cybersecurity challenges. Addressing them head-on is essential to reduce the risk or mitigate the impact of a crippling cyberattack.

1: Human error

A simple mistake can lead to costly cyberattacks. In fact, 90% of UK data breaches in 2019 were caused by human error. Your company’s cybersecurity is even more at risk now that your staff is at home, using their own internet connection, and possibly more distracted. Since it’s harder to escape personal concerns at home, employees are less vigilant and become more vulnerable to threats online.

2: Poor cyber hygiene 

With a change in environment and expectations, many remote employees can be lax with cybersecurity. They may reuse passwords, fail to install system updates, or unconsciously download malicious software while browsing. Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain system health remotely. Ensuring that only IT admins can install software, managing privileges to resources, and making use of other similar practices will keep vulnerabilities at bay.

3: Social engineering schemes

A strategy cybercriminals do to hack an organization is psychological manipulation or social engineering schemes. Investing in good technological controls won’t matter if your employees are easily manipulated by hackers to bypass these controls, or if your controls are so lax they can be easily bypassed in this way. To give you a better picture, almost 85% of successful data breaches involve defrauding people rather than hacking technical controls or exploiting codes. 

The good news is, biometric authentication can easily address this issue. A fraudster may trick an employee of yours into sharing their passwords and pins, but they will never be able to steal their biometric data.

4: Unencrypted file sharing

With the shift to remote work, communication between teams is now often done through instant messaging platforms. You or your employees likely send sensitive information via text, email, or messaging apps, but you shouldn’t assume that these platforms are secure. Hackers can intercept sensitive company information from these channels, which can lead to ransomware attacks or theft.

5: Increased cloud breaches 

Remote work has led most organizations to move to or depend on the cloud to store their assets. It’s a great tool in helping facilitate the transition of remote workers. However, cloud components still require management to avoid cloud-based security threats. When your cloud environment lacks monitoring and misconfigured security measures, it can easily invite in hackers.

Steps You Can Take to Ensure Your Company’s Security

There are multiple ways for you to help keep your company, employees, and information secured. Here are some fraud risk management practices your organization can focus on:

1: Improve employee awareness and vigilance through training 

Refresh your team’s cyber awareness by setting up a cybersecurity training program that measures, tracks, and improves their cyber risk culture. Everyone should be informed on effectively preventing, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyberattacks.

The program should also cover new threats, regulations for approved devices and data use, and protocol for suspected cyber incidents.

2: Provide corporate-issued work machines and discourage the use of work devices for personal use

Using personal devices in corporate networks is one of the biggest cybersecurity risks out there. Employees can save and send sensitive information using their smartphones or laptops. Personal devices may not have updated antivirus software or have outdated password protection. Provide your staff with company devices so that cybersecurity risks can be managed by the IT team, making sure that everything is secure. 

Additionally, limit the ability of personal devices to connect to work networks. Corporate VPNs for remote access can allow device flexibility while also protecting your company network.

3: Invest in identity and access management services 

In protecting your company data, you need to ensure that only authorized persons have access to them so that you can prevent cyber threats, infiltration, and fraud. Modern identity management and authentication services help reduce the risk of data exploitation by providing more secure access flows than a simple username and password.

With quality IAM services, your organization can implement multi-factor authentication, access controls, and identity proofing when giving employees admission to company systems. With identity proofing, employees go through a short process to verify their identity. Best in class identity proofing systems utilize biometrics to verify employees against a government issued ID, and allow them to then use that verified ID to authenticate access from then on. 

4: Secure collaboration apps

Hackers can access sensitive company data through the collaboration and messaging apps your team uses. Most of these platforms aren’t secure on an enterprise level, which makes the data sent and stored vulnerable. Your IT team must ensure that the app is fully encrypted by controlling its distribution and use to ensure data security.

5: Monitor system traffic

Monitoring traffic regularly will enable you to identify both subtle discrepancies in your system and larger issues that may merit further inspection. Audits will give you an easy time tracking user behavior and this will help you stay on your toes for suspicious activity.

Protect Your Critical Assets

While your employees feel safe and secure at home with a remote work setup, you must ensure that your organization’s data are too. By identifying the common cybersecurity challenges, you can move forward with a concrete plan in building your company’s cyber defenses.

Take your cybersecurity to the next level by implementing identity and access management. Q5id guarantees that your business is protected through its comprehensive authentication solutions. Check out Q5id and integrate an effective identity management system today! 


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