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To which risks are a remote workforce exposed?

remote workforce risk

Organizations across the globe have quickly moved to a fast-digital transformation to allow a remote workforce model due to the global pandemic. That has naturally resulted in a multi-fold rise in the IT attack surface of a company.

That’s why security leaders should consider the added risks carried by the remote workforce as well as their personal devices, which aren’t in the purview of the company’s security measures. This post aims to present you with information about which risks you might be exposed to. Are you ready? Then let’s jump in!

Common Risks of an Attack Surface and Remote Workforce

Accidental exposure throughout the work from home

You will find a higher risk of company’s critical data being exposed incidentally, with most team members working remotely and accessing data outside of the company’s security measures. That includes codes, applications, and customer data, among others.

Enhanced third or fourth risks

Keep in mind your third, and fourth-party vendor risks have enhanced multi-fold because of the spurt in organizations selecting to allow their workforce to work from their home remotely, leading to a raised attack surface.

Not realizing new assets uploaded on the internet during work from home

Many assets went online that today might be open to attack with less time to get ready for the work from home and keep business continuity. The company’s security team needs to learn which assets are publicly visible and online to the world.

Isolated IT assets

Organizations can deal with remote work as long as everybody utilizes a calibrated computer, which the IT team has solidified. The issue is that we would need to go back in time and to get ready for the pandemic ahead of time.

IT cannot access such devices to solidify cybersecurity or standardize settings, with many workers utilizing personal devices often or all the time. Every machine has vulnerabilities, which cannot be managed as well as liabilities, which cannot be understood.

Strained security resources

Remote computers are on their own in the wild, lacking the cybersecurity resources, which the standard enterprise supplies in-house. Each is an isolated endpoint, which should bear the accountability for protecting company’s networks, applications, and data.

That is a lot to ask for a client-based antivirus and consumer firewall software, particularly when protecting against high-volume offensives and novel attacks.

How to Manage the Risks of Remote Workforce

Working from home is a business essential throughout the present coronavirus pandemic. It is not clear if this trend is limited to the present crisis or if the pandemic will usher in a future with more flexibility for remote work.

Some of the measures to mitigate risk because of work from home are the following:

Utilize unified endpoint management platforms (UEM)

Keep in mind that the UEM platforms can streamline the procedure of rolling out security updates and patching assets through different operating systems.

These tools also enable the security department to deal with the native security capabilities, enforce encryption across operating systems, and get higher visibility across the device.

Automate threat detection to lessen the burden on security staff

Wide-ranging remote work has created new problems for the security experts. You see, automated security tools like data encryption, threat prevention, response, and detection help take the burden off the admins. That enables them to concentrate their energy on embracing the new challenges that were caused by remote work.

Support app-focused security

Most workers in the present environment have been obliged to utilize their personal devices to work from their homes. It will help to invest in app-based solutions like VPN or app security, app container, and app virtualization to safeguard company assets, which are being accessed on personal devices. A good example of that is the Zero trust Application Access that allows security experts to de-emphasize device-centric endpoint protection.

Talk about the human factor in remote work security

The typical safeguards of the employee against cyberthreats are down with so many distractions at home. They may utilize their personal devices at work, utilize unsecured Wi-Fi networks, share their work devices, or fall prey to phishing emails, becoming the biggest risk.

On top of that, your data system can be put at great risk through poor documentation retention, the use of unsecured channels to send critical data, or the use of unencrypted USB flash drives. Fundamentally, information security protection measures aren’t there. That will leave your network susceptible to cyberattacks.

Testing the responses and awareness of an employee to cybersecurity is essential before letting employees telecommute. That could be performed through a phishing simulator that enables you to set up emails from the IT team, management, or colleagues of convincing staff to open a link, download an attachment or submit credentials.

The data you receive can be utilized to train staff on cybersecurity tips and best practices to prevent cyberattacks.

Identify possible risks and their possible effects

It is essential to determine possible threats, their possibility of occurrence, and how they would affect the company, which may hit the network apart from considering the technical and human side of remote work security.

It will help you list all potential attack points, which could be exploited by the hackers to access the data or system, especially during the cybersecurity risk assessment. The next phase is to rate the possible effect on the network’s infrastructure as either low, medium and high, based on recoverability and significance.

It will also help if you will assess the control setting that is composed of locating threat prevention, mitigation, and detection. It is time to resolve the possible concerns after discovering where the possible risk could be and have measured a risk rating.

That may include opting to a better email filter, replacing the data backup system, or having a third-party security team. You can then reassess the risk after you update or implement new security controls.

Risk assessment for a remote workforce is a complicated procedure that needs substantial planning and expert knowledge to ensure every person, data, process, and device in the company are covered. That could be worked out with trial and error without professional support.

Read Next: Potential security issues when employees work remotely

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