The modern era has witnessed a transformative shift in businesses’ operations, with remote work becoming increasingly prevalent. The freedom and flexibility it offers have reformed the traditional office setting, allowing employees to work from anywhere worldwide.
However, as remote teams become the new norm, organisations must confront the lurking cybersecurity risks that come hand-in-hand with this paradigm shift. Based on the information provided by CyberTalk, it has been observed that 20% of companies encountered a security breach due to a remote employee, leading to additional expenses for the organisation.
Furthermore, IBM’s findings suggest that whenever remote work was a contributing factor, the average cost of a data breach rose by more than $1 million. These statistics reveal the urgency of understanding and mitigating the risks associated with remote teams and engaging in remote IT support services.
This article highlights the biggest risks and dangers of working with a remote team. It will also unravel the practical strategies and preventive measures to help businesses fortify their remote work environment against these risks.
Potential Dangers Of Working With Remote Teams
Working with a remote team might be a good decision for your business, but first, you must be aware of these big risks.
Unsecure Network Connections
One of the primary concerns when working with remote teams is the security of network connections. With employees accessing company systems and sensitive data through various networks, such as public Wi-Fi or home networks, the chances of falling victim to cyberattacks increase significantly.
Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in these connections, intercepting data and gaining unauthorised access to the business network and platforms.
Weak Passwords And Authentication
One frustrating thing about remote workers is their careless neglect of password security, putting both their personal accounts and company systems at risk. Using weak or easy-to-guess passwords or reusing passwords across multiple platforms makes it easier for cybercriminals to guess or steal to gain unauthorised access to carry out phishing attacks or BEC scams, install malware, and other cyber-attacks.
Reduced Oversight by Security Staff
With employees scattered across various locations, it becomes challenging for security teams to monitor and supervise their activities in real-time. This lack of physical presence can create blindspots in identifying potential security threats and responding promptly to incidents.
Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks
Remote work introduces potential security risks and data protection concerns. Using personal devices and working from different locations may increase vulnerability to cybersecurity threats, such as phishing attacks.
Phishing attacks continue to be a prevalent threat, and remote workers are not exempt from falling victim to them. Since remote workers are more susceptible to cyber-attacks than in-house employees, the risks of phishing and other social engineering cyber-attacks are high. Cybercriminals exploit the trust and vulnerability of remote teams through deceptive emails, messages, or phone calls.
While remote work offers numerous benefits, it also introduces the challenge of monitoring employee activities and detecting insider threats. Remote team members may intentionally or inadvertently misuse their access privileges, leading to data breaches, intellectual property theft, or unauthorised sharing of confidential information.
Inadequate Endpoint Security
Endpoint devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets used by remote workers can become vulnerable entry points for cyber attacks. This is because these devices might not be equipped with the latest cybersecurity solution, leaving the devices vulnerable and open to cyber-attacks. These vulnerabilities are things that cybercriminals exploit to steal sensitive company data.
Lack of Security Awareness And Training
Remote workers might not receive the same level of cybersecurity training and awareness programs as their in-office counterparts. This knowledge gap can make them more susceptible to cyber threats.
Challenges in Communication and Collaboration
One of the primary dangers of working with remote teams is the potential for communication and collaboration barriers. Physical distance, time zone differences, and reliance on digital tools can hinder effective communication, leading to misunderstandings, delays, and a breakdown in teamwork. Also, assessing people’s emotions, overall demeanor, and energy levels through online channels, for instance, can prove to be arduous.
Steps To Preventing the Big Risks of Remote Work Teams
If working with a remote team is inevitable, you need to put these preventive measures in place to ensure the safety of your data and organisation.
- Establish Clear Security Policies
Develop comprehensive security policies that will cover acceptable use of personal devices and networks, password requirements, data handling and storage guidelines, and reporting procedures for security incidents.
- Educate and Train Remote Employees
Provide the same level of regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs as you would your in-house employees to your remote teams to educate them about common threats like phishing attacks, social engineering, and the importance of secure online practice. You can get IT experts to virtually train them and provide reading resources to help them identify and report any suspicious activities or potential security breaches
- Strengthen Endpoint Security
Install security software like antivirus and anti-malware that are up–to–date on all remote devices (Laptops, Smartphones, tablets, etc.)
- Implement User Behaviour Analytics (UBA)
User Behaviour Analytics is a vital element of zero-trust security. It leverages machine learning and data science to recognise and comprehend a user’s regular patterns of accessing corporate systems. It detects abnormal activities that may suggest compromised credentials, enabling timely detection and response to potential security threats.
- Regularly Update Security Measures
Ensure all security measures are up to date by applying patches and updates to operating systems, software applications, and security tools. Regularly review and improve security configurations based on emerging threats and best practices.
- Enforce the Use of Strong Passwords
Enforce the use of strong password policies, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and password managers. This can significantly enhance security and reduce the risk of stolen passwords. Also, in place of passwords, passwordless options or passkeys can be introduced to further heighten security posture.
Reduce the Risk of Working with Remote Teams
The number of risks associated with remote working can be reduced, and having a reliable IT expert responsible for the process is essential. Connected Platforms has the expertise to help your Brisbane area business strengthen its remote team security posture.
Contact us today to get started.