Before getting into some of the productivity and security technology that makes remote work possible today, it’s important to acknowledge some of the major risk factors associated with remote work.
Open or Public Wi-Fi Networks – Working on an unsecured network is just asking for a hacker to break into your company’s systems. There are two common scenarios where this might happen.
First, your Wi-Fi network at home is not password protected. What many people don’t seem to realize is your home Wi-Fi signal is broadcast outside your house. A powerful enough router could even enable users parked outside your house to access your network (give this a try yourself after you’re finished reading).
Second, you could be working on a public Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop or other similar location. There’s nothing wrong with working from these locations, but the proper precautions must be taken. Using a VPN, either one set up by your IT team or one approved by the company, puts a wall between you and others using the same network.
Fast and Loose Data Storage – When you’re at the office, practices for saving and transmitting files likely aren’t an issue, but people often get lazy with their storage practices at home. Saving files to random USB sticks, using personal cloud storage instead of approved business platforms, and more pose a few distinct risks.
The most obvious is it may be difficult to track where everything is when you need it. This is sure to reduce productivity. Not a cyber risk, per se, but definitely something that could harm the company.
By using disparate storage techniques, you may also be opening yourself and the company up to threats from more angles. It’s best to keep everything in company-approved systems that are protected by official security measures.
High Visibility in Public – The coffee shop scenario also presents a problem that most people aren’t actively thinking about: line of sight. No, a best practice isn’t to drape a blanket over your head and the screen of your laptop, but just be conscious of your surroundings. Consider finding a seat with your back up against a wall instead of open for the entire store.
The bottom line is that none of these potential issues are insurmountable. In fact, a bit of awareness and a few simple process changes are all an employee needs to mitigate most threats.