COVID-19 has had a huge impact on businesses – everywhere from their finances and marketing to their structure and growth plans. Perhaps one of the largest changes affecting organisations is the rise in working remotely. During the first lockdown, 46% of people said that they worked from home, with 86% of that number doing so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is something that is going to have an enormous effect on cybersecurity. Here we take a look at why. 

Remote working likely to become normal

Firstly, it should be noted that remote working is here to stay. Initially thought of simply as a measure to help businesses continue running through lockdown, it has been indicated by many people that they would prefer to integrate a certain level of remote working into their working schedule in the long-term.

Importantly, this means that businesses need to start thinking about the implications of remote working for cybersecurity. If employees working from home is something that is going to be extremely common, this needs to become a feature of cybersecurity policy. 

Re-thinking infrastructure

The first thing that needs to be considered is that IT infrastructure and how cybersecurity support is provided will need to change. For example, your business will need to ensure that it has the capacity to allow for many people to access your server remotely at the same time whilst ensuring that these connections are all secure.

Additionally, you will have the challenge of having many remote workers who will be conducting their own computer maintenance and updates. 

Workers have less protection away from the office

In the office, workers tend to have a great deal more protection from cybercrime. It is not only the protection of the company firewall but also the fact that the protections will have been designed specifically to keep office workers secure. 

If they are going to be working away from the office instead this can put them in a position where they no longer enjoy powerful protections. For example, if individuals are using a greater number of devices such as laptops or even tablets, which may not have the same kind of defences as the desktop they use in the office, they can be at significant risk to the business.

Invest in cybersecurity products and services

Companies have no excuses – the situation has changed and it is now more important than ever to invest properly in cyber defences. Of course, firewalls and antivirus software are still essential but it can be more vital to work with cybersecurity professionals who can recommend a more in-depth range of solutions. 

For example, managed detection and response is a proactive form of cybersecurity that looks for threats as they occur in order to be able to act as swiftly as possible. As long as staff utilise the company services, this can provide an important and critical level of defence.

Importance of endpoint security

Perhaps the most important area for investment is endpoint security. As has been mentioned, remote workers typically make use of a much wider range of endpoints, including mobile phones and laptops. 

Companies should look into solutions that put a focus on strong endpoint security to make sure that every device that workers use is not a potential flaw in the network. 

Provide employee training

It is not just what the company can do to protect workers, but also what workers can do to protect the company. Employees are an important line of defence against cybersecurity and they need to be provided with training to understand how to minimise the risk of attacks and know what to look for. 

This can include not just basic cybersecurity training, but going into detail on specific threats to remote staff. These training sessions should be regularly updated to take into account new threats as they emerge

Final thoughts

If workers are going to be remote for a significant period, or even permanently, it is up to businesses to put a significant investment into their IT services generally as well as their cybersecurity protections specifically. 

This is not something that your organisation can ignore or hope that everything will continue as normal. Remote workers require different systems and services to make sure that they are completely secure. 

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