Career Advice

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks When it Comes to Remote Working?

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Remote working is more prevalent than ever in the post-pandemic world. 

Globally, more than 62% of employees have at least occasionally performed remote jobs. 

Over 16% of all companies are 100% remote in 2022.

Irrespective of how we feel about it, remote jobs are here to stay. 

Remote work has both advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to productivity, the debate is still not settled. Companies save resources by choosing remote work and also have access to a wider talent pool. However, many businesses have stayed away from remote work for one primary concern – security.

Cyber security is a concern for both businesses and individuals. But at an enterprise level, mitigating the dangers is more complicated. Managing network-wide cyber security is easier when all the devices and those working on them are in the same office space. 

In this article, we will look at ways to prevent cyber-attacks while working remotely and keep your business safe. 

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How to prevent cyber attacks when it comes to remote working

Preventing cyber attacks involves both simple and difficult steps. If you do not have an in-house cybersecurity team, it’s advisable to get third-party assistance. A large part of it is also following basic cybersecurity principles.

Let’s find out more. 

1. Control access to websites and apps

Unless your employees are working on their personal machines, you can restrict which websites and apps they can access. Securing the devices is the first step to preventing cyber attacks. 

Here are a few things to do in terms of restricting access to your devices:

  • Restrict access to the USB drives
  • Restrict access to all high-risk websites
  • Allow installation of necessary apps only

In case your employees are using their personal devices, you can use certain tools to remotely monitor their activities. However, you have to keep employees’ privacy in mind if using any such tools. 

Restricting access to websites and apps does not provide all-around security for your devices. Nonetheless, it is a good place to start if you have not done anything regarding cybersecurity in the past. 

2. Approve specific cloud services

Cloud-based applications have come a long way in 2022. Cloud storage is now only one of the many cloud-based utilities that we regularly use.

Using any cloud-based service has risks. Keeping that in mind, you should carefully choose which cloud-based services your company and employees can use.

Here are some of the things to keep in mind while choosing your cloud-based services:

  • Check for certifications and licenses from relevant governing bodies
  • Make sure they comply with standards such as ISO 27000
  • Look at their roadmap – how do they plan to grow and improve in the future?
  • Evaluate the need for recoding or customization to suit your requirements
  • Cost: Choose a service that offers the features you need to avoid overpaying for irrelevant features

Cloud-based apps and tools offer tonnes of benefits in terms of communication, coordination, and productivity. But using the right tools is essential to ensure security. 

3. Avoid DDoS attacks

DDoS ( Distributed Denial of Service) attacks can bring all your operations to a standstill. The scary part here is that DDoS attacks are very common. For example, 2021 records the highest number of DDoS attacks in history. 

To put it in simple words, your servers get flooded with traffic and as a result, have to shut down completely. DDoS attacks primarily use botnets to overwhelm a specific server. Botnets can be easily installed on any device.

There are several motivations behind DDoS attacks. Many white hat hackers would also use DDoS attacks as a way of pointing out the loopholes in the defense systems of companies. Some hackers use DDoS attacks to make a statement or voice their protest. Some hackers even use it as a learning tool to get into more advanced hacking. 

However, the most dangerous form of DDoS attack involves installing ransomware. Ransomeware will restrict access to important files and you will not be able to carry out any operations. The attackers would deactivate the ransomware only after you pay the ransom, typically in cryptocurrencies.

As you can guess, a single DDoS attack can upset a company’s balance sheets beyond recovery. Keeping the dangers in mind, you cannot undermine the threats of DDoS attacks.

It’s recommended to use a fraud & bot management tool to keep your business safe from DDoS attacks. To know more about preventing DDoS attacks, read more on this article by DataDome

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4. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Investing in a Virtual Private Network is one of the best things you can do to make remote work safer. However, this isn’t something that employees can do in their personal capacity. 

Companies have to use Remote VPN services to allow their employees to work safely from anywhere. With a remote VPN, you can have your employees working from anywhere and still log into your private network. They can do this even while using public wifi networks such as in coffee shops. 

There are multiple benefits of using a VPN. First, it lets you restrict access remotely. For instance, you can control access for individual employees. If you want to give different levels of access to your developers and marketers, a VPN will let you do that.

VPNs are also much safer from a cybersecurity perspective. Using public networks is very unsafe, especially when working with sensitive data. However, many remote workers depend on public networks such as those in coworking spaces and cafes. If you want your employees to safely use public networks, having a remote VPN is essential.

Remote VPNs work regardless of where your employees are logging in from. It comes in handy when you have overseas employees. Even if you do not have overseas employees, using a private remote VPN is one of the smartest things to do to keep your network and data safe. 

Investing in a remote VPN will pay off in a very short time. The safety and peace of mind it provides are well worth the expenses. 

Cyber security is a concern for both businesses and individuals. Mitigating the dangers is more complicated. Managing network-wide cyber security is easier when all the devices and those working on them are in the same office space. Click To Tweet

5. Use two-factor authentication

Simple passwords may not be enough when you are talking about enterprise-grade security. Passwords no longer hold the power they used to. After several password breaches and advanced algorithms, hackers can successfully guess the kind of passwords someone is likely to use. 

To solve this problem, developers have come up with two-factor authentication. Not only does it provide an additional layer of security, but it also keeps you protected from password breaches. 

If you enable two-factor authentication, you cannot log in using your password alone, You would have to use a second authentication code that can be generated by an authenticator or delivered as a One-time Password (OTP).

We use two-factor authentication in our day-to-day tools and services as well. Commonly used services like Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. also offer two-factor authentication. It’s a rather simple step that can be very useful for preventing cyber attacks. 

6. Train employees in basic cybersecurity principles

Most cyberattacks involve human negligence at some stage. Even if you have a full-proof network and ecosystem, negligence and mistakes from a single employee can leave your business vulnerable. Employee training in cybersecurity practices is something you should look into.

Depending on the average tech competence of your employees, you may need anything from a course to a workshop to make them aware of cyber threats. We often ignore even the most common principles like not using the same password in multiple places and leaving our work laptops open in public spaces.

But cybersecurity training is not only about the basics. It also teaches your employees what to do in case you face a cyberattack, like a DDoS attack. It also makes employees more aware of cyberattack strategies and suspicious activities.

7. Use a third-party cybersecurity solution

It’s difficult for small businesses to manage everything cybersecurity-related on their own. First, having an in-house cybersecurity team is expensive. Even if you have the budget, finding legitimate cybersecurity experts is no easy feat. 

Instead of depending on your employees to keep your business safe, you can sign up for a comprehensive cybersecurity tool. There are several cybersecurity products that you can use at very affordable yearly or monthly fees. More importantly, these tools give you the benefits of automated cybersecurity.

If you look for cybersecurity tools on the internet, you would be spoilt for choices. There are many tools and apps available, but not all of them offer the same level of protection.

You should also keep your requirements in mind when choosing a SaaS cybersecurity tool. Most of these tools are scalable, so you do not have to worry about starting with a restricted plan. You can always upgrade and get more features as and when you need them.

Conclusion

Cyberattacks were and continue to be a threat to businesses. Globally, businesses lose millions in cyberattacks. 

A company facing cyber threats also suffers a loss in reputation. 

We hope this guide will help you adopt strategies to protect your business and remote employees from cyberattacks.

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