Your Home Working Team Is At Risk – 4 IT Security Vulnerabilities


Between January and December 2019, around 1.7 million people worked mainly from home, accounting for 5.2% of the workforce. By November 2020, this had ballooned to 30% of the workforce working from home exclusively. This massive and rapid demographic change, brought about by the Covid lockdowns, has left many businesses working from home with insufficient security procedures in place. The result? Thousands of home working teams and small businesses face critical IT security vulnerabilities on a daily basis. Does your business fall into this bracket? Here are four of the most frighteningly common risks to be aware of:

1) Insecure Internet

Business Internet connections normally come with more safeguards than home Wi-Fi because service providers are aware of the greater threat level to businesses than individuals. In addition, on-premises IT assets are often supervised by an IT manager or team. Employees working from home immediately face greater security risks because of generally weaker security protocols for home Internet, which offer cyber criminals an entry point into your company network.

2) Scam Emails and Texts

Scam emails are one of the leading causes of IT security breaches and have massively increased in severity and frequency during the Covid 19 pandemic. Remote working employees are very vulnerable to instinctively clicking on emails or messages that claim to come from HMRC or a bank – an example of criminals feeding on the general anxiety caused by the crisis. If an employee is working on their own device and falls victim to a phishing attack, your business data could be at risk.

3) Weak Passwords

A weak password gives cyber criminals a meal ticket. Many – but not all – businesses now have strong password protocols in the office, but these fall apart when working from home. If a weak password is used by an employee for several applications, a hacker can quickly gain access to multiple business-critical systems, and bring your company to its knees. Weak passwords include words and phrases that employees think are hard to decipher – such as their mother’s maiden name, first school, or the date they got engaged. These facts can frequently be guessed at after a quick scan of a person’s social media profiles.

4) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Not every business has the luxury of equipping staff with an exclusive company laptop and phone, and we understand this. However, there are intrinsic risks of employees using their own phones and computers for work, not least that these devices may already be infected with malware unwittingly. If you have to use BYOD, we recommend setting up a secure company virtual network, with virtual desktops that can be used from any device, protected by a strong firewall.

How Do I Know If My IT Security Has Been Compromised?

Regular antivirus checks and a robust firewall will protect you from many threats, but are not infallible defences. If you or a colleague notice an unusual app that you don’t remember installing, a computer slows down for no apparent reason, pop-up ads appear on your screen, or you lose control of your mouse or keyboard, the device could be infected with malware. Contact an IT security specialist immediately, such as Fuse Collaboration, and find out how we can strengthen your IT security measures for remote working.

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