Strategic Group Blog

Everything you need to know about IT and technology

Written by Strategic Group
on May 22, 2024

The rise of remote work in today's business environment creates unique opportunities, but also significant challenges for business, particularly in cybersecurity.

The convenience and flexibility of remote work come with the heightened risk of cyber threats, which can lead to financial loss, reputational damage and even potentially threaten a business's survival. 

This article provides an overview of the actionable insights from the Strategic Group’s whitepaper on creating a cyber-safe remote work environment for SMEs, highlighting key strategies to mitigate the risks inherent in remote work.

Understanding the Risks 

Remote work amplifies certain cybersecurity risks due to the use of personal devices, unsecured networks, and the tendency to use unapproved software. These practices can compromise company data and infrastructure, making it a priority that all businesses operating with remote workers address these risks proactively. 

For instance, personal devices might not be as secure as company-managed ones, making them easy targets for malware. Similarly, unsecured networks and the use of personal cloud storage for company data can expose sensitive information to opportunistic attackers. 

Foundational Cybersecurity Measures 

To safeguard against these risks, businesses should consider several foundational cybersecurity measures:

1. Antivirus Software and Encryption: Ensuring all devices are equipped with up-to-date antivirus software and encrypting data at rest and in transit have long been cornerstones of cybersecurity and are even more important in a remote operating model.

2. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): VPNs create a secure, encrypted connection for remote work, essential for protecting data transmitted over unsecured networks.

3. Patch and Update Governance: Regular updates and patches for all devices are necessary to protect against vulnerabilities. Remote working models need effective governance around these practices to ensure compliance.

4. Employee Access Management and Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Controlling access through user account management and implementing MFA can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access.

5. Cybersecurity Training and Awareness: Educating employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices is vital. Training should cover phishing, safe internet practices, and proper password hygiene.

6. Corporate Password Management: Providing access to a corporate password manager can help prevent insecure storage and sharing of passwords.

7. Implementation of Zero Trust Principles: Adopting a Zero Trust security model is an extremely effective risk mitigation for many cyber risks, including those associated with remote work. In a Zero Trust model, no entity, either inside or outside the network, is trusted by default. This approach requires verification for every access request, regardless of origin, ensuring that only authenticated and authorised users and devices can access company data and services.

Developing a Comprehensive Remote Work Policy

A secure remote work policy clarifies the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for employers and employees in maintaining cybersecurity. This policy should cover:

• Scope and Applicability: Clearly define who the policy applies to and under what circumstances.

• Security Protocols for Devices: Establish guidelines for company-issued and personal devices, potentially through a BYOD policy.

• Data Management and Privacy: Set protocols for securely handling, storing, and transmitting data.

• Network Security Requirements: Include requirements for securing home networks and mandate VPN use.

• Incident Reporting and Response: Outline procedures for reporting cybersecurity incidents.

The shift towards remote work necessitates a comprehensive and proactive approach to cybersecurity for SMEs. By understanding the unique risks associated with remote work and implementing strategic cybersecurity measures, businesses can protect their data, reputation, and future. Regular training and a robust remote work policy are crucial to fostering a culture of security awareness and preparedness among employees. In doing so, SMEs can navigate the complexities of the modern, digital workplace with confidence and security.


Protect your team today

Contact us today to find out more about safeguarding your team, and business, against phishing attacks.

Let Us Know What You Thought about this Post.

Put your Comment Below.

You may also like:

Tips Security

Building a Phishing-Proof Business

With their alarming simplicity and devastating effectiveness, phishing attacks continue to pose a significant threat to ...


Social Engineering Red Flags - What to look out for

Hackers and scammers are getting more sophisticated, gone are the days of the laughable Prince of Nigeria scams, now sca...

News Tips Security

Optus Customers' Data Impacted by Serious Cyberattack

As you are probably aware, late last week, Optus announced it had been the victim of a cyberattack that exposed customer...