Remote Work Creates Security Risks for Companies
It should come as no surprise that having employees work from home exposes a company to a host of security issues not present when employees work in commercial offices.
When working in a commercial office, employees generally use computers and other communication devices that are issued by the company and are protected by company installed security measures. The same cannot be said when employees work from home.
A recent report backs this up. The Cybersecurity Pandora’s Box report by identity management company SailPoint illustrates the cybersecurity threats companies face when employees work at home. To tabulate the results, SailPoint interviewed 9,000 employees in the U.S., France, Germany, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
In the U.S., 36 percent of respondents reported they had started to work from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 79 percent reporting they worked full-time from home. Respondents in the other countries reported even higher numbers working from home.
Common Security Threats
The most serious threats identified in the study include email phishing threats, sharing passwords with others, using unsecured personal devices for work or using company issued devices for personal use.
Nearly half of U.S. respondents reported they had received phishing emails in the first six months since working remotely and another nine percent reported they received weekly phishing attacks. Respondents in other countries reported numbers that were about the same or slightly higher.
The phishing emails expose the employees and their employers to malicious software that can allow hackers to access important business data and other assets.
Another security risk occurs when employees share their work passwords with others. In the U.S., 23 percent of respondents said they shared their passwords with others. The numbers were about the same, or a bit higher, in other countries.
A related risk is not changing passwords regularly. In the U.S., 20 percent of respondents reported changing their passwords in the past month. Another 14 percent said they had not changed their passwords within the past six months. An alarming 18 percent said their computers weren’t password protected at all.
One-third of respondents reported that their employers provide cybersecurity training and encouraged regular password resets.
Separating Personal from Professional
The number of employees who use company provided or personal computers to conduct work varies from country to country. In the U.S., only 17 percent of respondents reported they used company supplied computers. In other countries, nearly half of those contacted reported they used a company supplied computer.
Respondents in all countries reported that in addition to using their personal and company computers for work, they also used them for personal needs such as checking personal email, online shopping and checking social media.
SailPoint suggests the following cybersecurity recommendations.
- Do not share passwords with others and change them often. How often a password should be changed depends on who you talk to. Business Insider offers some password suggestions.
- Do not log into unsecured networks or Wi-Fi connections. More than half of the survey respondents reported using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
- Use and follow the security tools and protocols companies implement. These include using virtual private networks (VPN), multifactor authentication and take advantage of security training.
We are Building for the Future
At Miller’s Landing in Castle Rock, CO, we’re preparing for a secure digital future. Miller’s Landing is a new multi-use commercial development that includes a dynamic town center complete with restaurants and retail options, modern offices, a resort hotel and spa, conference and meeting facilities and easy access to some of the area’s best outdoor recreation.
Castle Rock is a popular and growing community in the south Denver metropolitan area on the I-25 corridor. The town offers easy access to Denver to the north and Colorado Springs to the south.
Miller’s Landing will include a multi-carrier, robust and redundant converged digital network that will offer tenants and visitors an elevated experience that leverages smart city and smart building technology.
We’re designing a technology ecosystem that takes advantage of the virtually endless possibilities for technology to enhance user experiences. Our approach to design considers how technology can be applied across a number of dimensions – mobility, sustainability, safety and security, and community.
At Miller’s Landing, we’re building for the future. Join us.