Remote Working is Everyday Working
Remote working is any work that's done outside of a physical office. This is also referred to as telecommuting or working from home. The benefits of remote working include; allowing us to achieve work on daily tasks without needing to commute to an office each day.
Whilst various levels of remote employment existed before the pandemic, many workplaces were forced into adapting to this change when lockdown rules were in effect. As well as fully remote workers, many businesses have staff who have flexible working environments, such as office workers who want to ensure they still have personal connections with their colleagues and client via the traditional office environment.
Flexible working has long also been everyday working for workers who may not have the capacity to work from home on a full-time basis. This includes a whole host of roles, including building contractors, field sales and photographers.
What are the risks of Remote Working?
It's a common misconception that cybercriminals only target people who work in HR departments, as their job involves opening and managing multiple 'official' documents - often coming from unknown sources e.g CV's, application forms and invoices. With the continued rise of the number of freelances, cybercriminals are shifting their focus and are now targeting those who work remotely.
Click on the buttons below to learn more about each identified risk.
Weak security or unsupported devices can leave the door open to threats like ‘Ransomware’, which allows a hacker to break into your network, encrypt your files, then demand payment before you can get them back.
Risk Scenario's - Who is at risk?
To help explain where a remote worker may be at risk, we have collated a few scenario's and solutions to show what threats some job roles may face and how they can become more secure. Click on the slider arrows to view all slides.
Andy: Editorial Freelancer (Scenario)
Andy is an editorial freelancer who offers copywriting services, has a home office and works remotely five days a week. Andy enjoys connecting with clients and supporting his local community at some of the local cafes most Friday afternoons.
Andy sends invoices, project plans and contact details of his clients via email without any encryption.
Andy uses his mobile phone and tablet that contain unsecured applications, personal accounts and files which hold personal data.
Andy often prefers to use his personal email account when replying to clients outside of his working hours.
Andy supports local coffee shops when having online meetings with clients - there he takes advantage of the unsecured public wi-fi network.
How to become more secure
Working from home can leave individuals and their businesses in a vulnerable position, making them vulnerable to cyber criminals.
According to IBM Security's 'Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021', the average cost of a data breach for business with 81% plus of their workforce working remotely was $5.54m. With a recent rise in device and cloud service usage to perform work-relate tasks, cyber criminals have capitalised on this increase, leaving more and more people susceptible to cybercrime.
Even though there are many ways a cybercriminal could take advantage of your remote working environment, there are many ways you can protect your workspace and therefore mitigating against some of these threats.
Anti-virus and Firewalls
Ensuring firewalls are enabled is also another first step in protecting you against cyber-criminal activities. A firewall works by blocking or filtering network traffic, to ensure your devices are protected against malicious software.
A firewall will only allow sources that meet particular criteria set in the firewall settings and restrict access to anything that does not meet these requirements.
Similarly to anti-virus software, firewalls may already be readily available on your device, yet there are other options available that offer different security and protection levels.