• Kathleen Maxted

Cyber security for new modes of working

Updated: Sep 8, 2020


The current situation in the world has shown how workers can adapt to different working conditions effectively encouraging some organisations, such as Twitter and Fujitsu, to implement a permanent remote workforce. This means it is important for organisations to reflect on their key problems since March in order to ensure they retain their security. We must also consider the implications for the millions of furloughed staff who are gradually returning to work in the UK. Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and taking advantage of the pandemic, it is essential to prepare for the risks associated with returning to work and working from home. Here are key factors which need to be considered for protecting the post-lockdown workforce:

Security awareness

There has been a large increase in phishing focused around the pandemic and more recently targeting those going back to work. It is important not to bring bad security habits back to the office, working from home might have created a more laid-back approach to security awareness. Implementing an effective security awareness training regime which is tailor made for remote and returning workers is important for reducing the potential for successful phishing attacks.

System patching

Returning to work creates another opportunity for criminals where they will be seeking to exploit systems which might be outdated. There have been a lot of high-profile vulnerabilities since the beginning of the pandemic, meaning that subsequent patches have been released. It is important that devices which may not have been used for months are updated, as well as ensuring that devices used for remote working are safe to be back on the corporate network.

Devices

Workers need to ensure their devices are secure, if they are returning to work perhaps updating their passwords is necessary. For remote workers it has become even more important to focus on the physical security of the devices they use for business. If computers are accessible to other members of their household it is important to protect any data, another household member may accidently compromise your security.

Adapting to the new normal

Those working from home will realise that personal life is more likely to overlap with business, so they are less likely to have a structured routine to their day. This means that working hours could be at less regular times, so you need to be able to deal with threats 24/7. Both remote and returning workers will have to adapt to the shift in working.

Updating your security strategy

The likelihood is that the past few months have shown that your organisation might need to change its security priorities and implement a strategy for new modes of working. Providing clarity to users by outlining new steps and policies will help in encouraging them to be secure when working from home. If an organisation is returning to their office, not all staff members will be able to return to work so your cyber security strategy will have to be effective for all users.

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