Remote working has offered millions of workers the opportunity to work in multiple business areas, and this modality has brought many benefits to workers such as flexibility, improved performance and productivity. Even before the health crisis caused by the COVID-19, remote working practices were already in existence, and remote working was considered to be a common practice for many industries around the world. However, it has also brought a number of cybersecurity oriented threats. OpenVPN conducted a study which reflected that “90% of participants believe that remote workers represent an overall security risk, and more than half (54%) believe that remote employees represent a greater security risk than employees onsite”. So in this article we will look at the importance of security in remote working, as well as the importance of security policies and vulnerabilities in remote working and how to avoid them.
Why is the implementation of computer security in remote work important?
When an incident occurs, whether internal such as a cyber attack or external such as damage to the devices that store this information, it can be very difficult for the company to recover and remain competitive, not to mention the loss of capital. For this reason, it is extremely important that security policies are implemented and that these measures are regularly monitored. Because the success of companies will depend in part on the quality of the information being managed.
Importance of IT security policies for remote work
Computer security policies vary depending on the organizations in which they are applied. However, they consist of a document that includes an explanation of the reasons for the policy, a description of the people to whom the policy is directed, a history of the changes made, a few definitions of special terms and specific management instructions on how to deal with the policy. These policies are mandatory and could be considered as an organization’s own law.
Now in the remote work mode it is important that companies implement security policies to protect the information of the same. When designing security policies, business vulnerabilities and threats must be identified. In order to achieve highly positive results in business continuity, these policies must take into account the profile of the teleworker, the place where he/she works, the access to the system and the types of access permissions to it, the restrictions that the equipment used will have and the rules for the proper use of all electronic media.
Vulnerabilities of remote work and how to avoid them
In computing, vulnerabilities are software weaknesses that allow an attacker to compromise the integrity, availability or confidentiality of the software. Some of the more severe vulnerabilities allow attackers to execute arbitrary code, called security vulnerabilities, on a compromised system, causing malicious code to be executed without worker’s knowledge. The vulnerabilities might be the result of flaws in system design. However, they can also be the result of technological limitations themselves, because, in many cases, there is no such thing as a 100% secure system. Therefore, there are theoretical vulnerabilities and real vulnerabilities.
According to the previous study, it established a series of three steps that help eliminate the vulnerabilities of remote jobs, which are:
Get rid of the “set it and forget it” approach: organizations tend to develop a security policy, but often make the mistake of not following up and checking for compliance with these policies, so the cybersecurity space becomes increasingly risky. In fact, almost a quarter of organizations (24%) have not updated their remote work security policy in over a year. It is therefore necessary to monitor these policies periodically in order to continuously improve IT security.
Focus on enforcing your policy: Almost half (49%) of IT leaders say they only agree that remote employees should stick to remote work policies. Any alteration of policy puts the organization at risk, so it’s impossible for your remote workers to avoid security policy by using features such as VPN. As new measures are implemented, technology industry representatives must hold live meetings with remote workers to illustrate how they can meet the requirements.
Let the technology information team lead: 44% of organizations don’t allow technology information teams take the lead in developing remote worker security policy; no one approaches things from a truly priority perspective like security. So if security is the main focus of an initiative, as it is with a remote work security strategy, the infosec team should lead the effort.