It will remain no secret that since the COVID-19 pandemic, the era of the old office work format has cracked. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 60 percent of U.S. workers surveyed read that it’s okay to work from home. Forbes, on the other hand, says that working from home has become an unrelenting legacy of three years of COVID. And even though corporations are tending to bring workers back to the office this year, the situation is still not going to go back to the way it was before. Because the epidemy has “reshaped” the economy and especially the IT services industry.
But what are the cybersecurity risks of Remote Work?
CQR‘s specialists were interested in this issue and prepared a special research on this topic. As you know, a lot of companies have suffered before because of hackers, social engineers and other digital cybercriminals. As you know, most attackers rely on the “human factor” of ordinary workers to gain access to the desired information. Even giants such as Google and Facebook, FACC, Microsoft 365, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Merseyrail, Sharepoint and many others have struggled because of these issues.
But how does the situation change when working from home?
Based on data provided by cybersecurity experts, the situation has become even more unstable. The problem is that most people working from home are accustomed to being left alone and do not always have a supervisor looking over their shoulder. This makes it easier for attackers to gain access to the desired information. Cloud technology suffers the most: it has become the most popular area of hacker attacks in 2022. With the use of cloud services, hackers can easily get hold of sensitive information. Data security experts recommend that companies introduce a separate policy for working from home and make sure all employees are aware of it.
The financial sector is under pressure to upgrade their remote access capacities quickly, which leaves IT departments little time to conduct thorough security tests. Vulnerabilities in the remote access infrastructure and access protocols can remain undetected and exploited in cyberattacks. Attacks leading to other types of data loss are most commonly associated with weak authentication, insecure endpoints and unsecured networks. Examples of insecure endpoints are notebooks or other mobile devices without the latest security patches installed.While password based authentication without a second factor is considered weak in the context of remote access, it remains an important issue to be addressed due to its widespread use.
So how can cybersecurity services help?
In addition to simple tips — two-factor authentication for each employee, remote control of access only during certain “working” hours, a ban on working from home for critical sector employees, training and periodic call-ins — cybersecurity experts can provide ready-made solutions to protection problems without increasing staff and the associated risks.
Among them, there are extremely necessary:
Authorities, businesses and organizations should improve the remote access to their services and systems. Technical standards and good practices are available on how to make remote access secure, which could be implemented quickly. Compliance with certificates such as NIST, ISO, PCI DSS, GDPR or SOX this year is a required attribute for business.
Hosts should control access to the physical systems, networks, and devices, which are under their control. Controls over configurations at both ends of the remote connection should be implemented to prevent potential malicious use.
Regular security test and assessments. Organizations should have a process in place to regularly test their systems, applications and services for vulnerabilities. They should also perform regular security assessments and penetration tests to ensure that their systems are secure against attacks.
Also, most cybersecurity companies provide just convenient solutions that can help:
SOC — Security Operations Center: it is a central hub for monitoring, analyzing infrastructure and responding to every incident. It brings together security experts from different areas of the organization in one location. The SOC can be managed by an external provider or it can be operated in-house.
NOC — Network Operations Center: it is a cybersec team with narrower focus on cybersecurity. They’re monitoring entire network servers, applications, accesses, databases and it’s connections 24/7.
Risk Assessment: The Risk Assessment includes a complete and professional checking of your system by ethical hackers. This will test for all kinds of security threats and vulnerabilities, identifying the possible causes of loss.
DevSecOps: this service is more for software developers, where cybersecurity engineers follow software development in order to speed up the release and operation of applications. DevSecOps specialists get into the development process from the very first stage and test it to rule out bugs or exploits.
In conclusion, with the increasing popularity of remote work and telecommuting, hacking has become a more serious threat than ever before. Companies and individuals should prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect themselves against potential threats.
At CQR, we help our clients navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and stay secure. As we enter 2023, let us extend our well wishes to everyone — and remind them of the importance of keeping themselves and their data safe.