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Is Work From Home Safe? Why Your Company Data May be at Risk

Remote work. Business continuity plan. PIVOT.

If only we had a dollar for every time we heard each of these terms over the past several months.

Virtually every company, in every industry on Earth, has been impacted in some way by the pandemic. For many of us, it has meant that we’ve had to transform our dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and verandahs into home offices. Our new reality is that organisations, their employees, contractors, business partners, vendors, among others are now using enterprise telework or remote access technologies to clock in and work from external locations. As the workforce logs on from different access points, the risk of potential breaches of networks and unauthorized access to company information increases. With this in mind, all components of work technologies, including organisation-issued and ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) devices, should be secured against expected threats.

For this reason, Symptai consulting has designed a Work From Home: Risk Assessment Tool so business owners can take a responsible and comprehensive approach to managing their organisational risks while employees WFH (work from home). The tool comes equipped with a detailed survey which allows businesses to provide information on security considerations for several types of remote access solutions and then makes recommendations for securing a variety of telework, remote access, and BYOD technologies. Symptai consultants use similar methods of analysis to advise business owners on creating related security policies.

Work From Home Risk Assessment Tool! Download

The survey goes in detail, categorising company information into 7 sections. Each of these sections includes questions geared towards gaining an understanding of your organisation and will assist in determining your risk profile.

But why take these measures? With companies around the world adapting to a remote workforce in an expedient manner, it’s important to understand any inherent and unconsidered risks posed to your organisation due to the home environment. One major concern is Data Theft.

Data Theft

With unsupervised, enhanced access to systems and files, employees working remotely could more easily steal company data. Breaches of customer data or proprietary secrets could lead to lost funds, legal issues, lost customers or reputation damage. Employers who work with especially sensitive data, such as healthcare and financial services, should be especially careful when allowing employees to work from home.

Be mindful that employees aren’t the only ones who could commit data theft. Their partners, roommates, other family members and visitors pose a risk to your company’s sensitive information. Even if devices and files are password-protected there are many ways individuals who share a space with your employee could gain access. Employees working remotely from unsecured networks (such as at coffee shops or public libraries) also make your data more vulnerable to cybercrime. Want to learn more about the risks that unsecured networks pose to your data? Symptai’s Work-From-Home Risk Assessment Tool can give you the tools to minimize the threats. Keep reading to find out how you can download the tool for free! Also, check out our previous blog posts on home networks and network security.

Here are other aspects to consider:

  • Your employees’ personally owned devices used for WFH could lack solid security controls.

  • Their devices may be shared among family members, including schoolchildren.

  • Working from home can bring a world of distractions. With your team members attention divided between personal and work-related online activity, there could be heightened vulnerability to social engineering attacks, such as phishing.

  • WFH arrangement may require you to make access control changes, including reduced network perimeter protections, leaving your business information exposed.

  • Because employees are working from home you might have to grant increased privileged access to users or administrators and new forms of privileged access to those who didn’t have access prior to the need for WFH.

Indeed one of the easiest ways to reduce the occurrence of any one of these breaches is to keep employees informed and hold them accountable. A strong fraud policy with descriptions of “right” and “wrong” behaviour could go a long way. Especially if coupled with consequences for violating these policies. But why risk it all on chance? Take the necessary steps to ensure your company is safe and secure. Download and start using our Work From Home: Risk Assessment Tool. It’s free, easy to use and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re taking that extra step for your business.

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