Cyber security & remote working

Written by:
Amelia Craig
Date Posted:
19 August 2019

Only as strong as your weakest link

People are the weakest link
Security and remote working can be a headache for employers. Whilst working remotely offers a great deal of flexibility and benefits for staff, it also exposes new risks that need to be managed correctly.

To ensure the security and safety of your business, staff must receive proper cyber security training. Within any organisation, statistically, people are the weakest link in the security chain. The importance of cyber security training is often overlooked and rarely invested in, which automatically puts the business at risk. 

Working from home
83% of small businesses give their employees the option to work remotely, which gives employee’s greater flexibility and increases productivity. However, despite the benefits that working from home offers, it can lead to increased security risks if staff are not properly trained in cyber security and about secure methods of accessing sensitive business data. 

Nationwide Insurance carries out an annual survey of small business owners. Their most recent findings show that one-fifth of small businesses have not invested in cyber security training for their staff. The study also found that only 50% of small businesses have updated their remote working policies within the last year. 

Allowing staff to work remotely without a heavily embedded culture of cyber security is one of the largest threats to a company’s security. Businesses do not have any control over the security that is in place when their employees work remotely. This is also the case when employees work in a public space or use an unsecured network to access their work. 

Hyve’s tips for remote working
Working remotely does not have to be synonymous with danger. We’ve put together several tips from Hyve’s security team on how employees can stay secure when working remotely. 

  • Antivirus
    Ensure all staff use and update antivirus and antispyware software on their home computers. Most software can be set to download and install the updates automatically.
  • Firewalls
    Ensure all employees secure their networks with a firewall to prevent malicious packets of information coming through. Also, ensure all information stored and transferred is encrypted.
  • VPN
    Encourage employees to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their laptop or desktop. This enables users to send and receive data across a public network as if their devices were connected to a private network.
  • Policies
    Set policies for how employees should store and protect sensitive information. For example, do not allow employees to write down passwords. Ensure that all staff follow policies for not opening attachments in emails, detecting Malware etc. 
  • Training
    Invest time and money in educating employees about cyber threats. All staff should know how to browse the internet safely and how to identify and avoid phishing emails. Require them to generate strong passwords, and update them often, ideally with multi-factor authentication where possible. Enforce upon them the importance of logging out of user accounts when they are not in front of their desktops.
  • Virtual desktop
    When working remotely, make sure employees have access to a virtual desktop. This will prevent them from downloading and storing sensitive data on their own computer or laptop. 
  • No public networks
    Do not let staff use public wi-fi or shared computers. Hackers may be able to break into a worker’s computer and steal sensitive data on public networks.    

65% of businesses surveyed by Nationwide Insurance said they had been a victim of cyber attacks. Ensure cyber security is firmly ingrained in your company’s culture and in turn, protect your business.

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