This article emphasizes the importance of monitoring remote employee behavior to address cybersecurity challenges, highlighting risks like weak passwords and unsecured Wi-Fi usage. It discusses risky behaviors including falling for phishing scams and improper data sharing, advocating for increased employee awareness and regular data backups. Desktop surveillance software like Insightful is recommended to balance cybersecurity needs with employee privacy. Overall, the article stresses the necessity of a proactive approach to maintain security in remote work settings.
Read time: 5 minutes
The remote work landscape has experienced a meteoric rise, and for good reason – it offers unparalleled flexibility, cost savings, and access to a diverse talent pool.
However, this new way of working also brings unique cybersecurity challenges to the table.
In this post, we'll explore the impact of employee behavior on cybersecurity and how you, as an employer, can tackle these issues head-on and monitor remote employees’ behavior.
Get ready to dive into the world of remote work without compromising your company's security. Let's begin!
Prevent Remote Employee Security Slip-Ups
Did you know that 68% of businesses reported a cybersecurity attack in the past 12 months, according to a 2021 report by CybSafe? And it’s not getting any easier. That's right – over two-thirds of companies are grappling with this issue. And when it comes to remote work, the stakes are even higher.
The reality is that remote working monitoring is crucial, as employees often have more opportunities to engage in risky behavior from the comfort of their homes. Companies monitoring employees working from home are not just being overbearing; they're protecting their assets and sensitive data.
Bad Behavior #1: Weak Passwords
Employees may resort to using simple, easy-to-remember passwords to minimize the mental effort of managing multiple accounts. Unfortunately, this can lead to the use of weak passwords, such as "password123" or "qwerty." These weak passwords can be easily cracked by hackers, leaving your company's sensitive data exposed to potential cyberattacks.
Weak and reused passwords are a hacker's dream, making it all too easy to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Best Practice: Use strong, unique passwords for every account and change them regularly. Encourage employees to use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to create complex passwords. Using phrases and sentences is another good way to go, and easy to remember! Make sure employees are updating their passwords regularly.
To simplify the process, recommend using a password manager to keep track of all their login credentials securely.
Tools: LastPass, 1Password
Bad Behavior #2: Ignoring Software Updates
We've all been there – the pesky software update notification pops up, and we click "remind me later" because we're too busy. Procrastinating on software updates might seem harmless, but it can leave your company's systems vulnerable to security threats.
Hackers are constantly on the lookout for software vulnerabilities that they can exploit to gain unauthorized access to data or spread malware. Delaying updates not only puts your company's information at risk but can also lead to compatibility issues with other software or systems.
Best Practice: Establish a routine for updating all software, including operating systems, applications, and antivirus programs. Make sure your employees are aware of the importance of these updates and set deadlines for them to follow. Regularly remind your team about pending updates and encourage them to prioritize this task.
Tools: ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
Bad Behavior #3: Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
Remote employees may appreciate the flexibility to work from various locations, such as coffee shops or public spaces. However, connecting to public Wi-Fi networks without proper security measures can expose your company's data to hackers. These unsecured networks can expose your company's data to hackers who are lurking. Cybercriminals often use unsecured Wi-Fi networks to intercept sensitive data transmission, perform "man-in-the-middle" attacks, or spread malware to connected devices.
Best Practice: Implement a strict policy regarding Wi-Fi use, requiring employees to connect only to secure, password-protected networks. Provide them with a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure a secure connection when accessing company resources, regardless of their location.
Tools: NordVPN, ExpressVPN
Bad Behavior #4: Falling for Phishing Scams
Phishing scams have evolved over the years, becoming more sophisticated and deceptive. Cybercriminals often impersonate legitimate sources like colleagues, clients, or even company executives to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software. When employees fall for phishing scams, they may unintentionally grant hackers access to company data, financial information, or even control over company systems.
Best Practice: Regularly train employees on how to recognize and respond to phishing attempts. Reinforce the importance of verifying the authenticity of emails, especially those requesting sensitive information or prompting them to click on links or download attachments. Establish a clear reporting procedure for suspected phishing attempts.
Bad Behavior #5: Sharing Company Devices with Family Members
With work and personal life often blending together in a remote work environment, employees may find it convenient to share their work devices with family members or friends either out of convenience or to help with a tech issue. This seemingly innocent act can lead to unintended security risks, such as unauthorized access to company data, accidental deletion or modification of important files, or exposure to malware from unsafe browsing or downloads.
Best Practice: Implement a strict policy prohibiting the sharing of company devices with anyone outside of the organization. Educate employees on the potential risks associated with device sharing and provide them with dedicated work devices if possible.
Tools: Device Management Software like Microsoft Intune
Bad Behavior #6: Neglecting Physical Security
Remote employees might overlook the importance of physical security of their devices. Leaving devices unattended in public places or failing to secure them at home can lead to theft or unauthorized access.
Best Practice: Train employees on the importance of physical security and encourage practices like locking devices when not in use and storing them safely.
Tools: Cable locks, secure storage solutions.
Bad Behavior #7: Improper Data Storage and Sharing
Employees might use unsecured methods to store or share sensitive company data, such as using personal cloud storage or sending files through unencrypted email.
Best Practice: Provide secure company-approved storage and file-sharing solutions and train employees on their proper use.
Tools: Corporate cloud storage solutions like Google Drive for Business or Microsoft OneDrive for Business.
Bad Behavior #8: Using Personal Devices for Work (BYOD Risks)
Using personal devices for work-related activities can expose company networks to unsecured personal applications and data breaches.
Best Practice: Implement a robust Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy with strict security guidelines, or provide company-issued devices.
Tools: Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions.
Bad Behavior #9: Lack of Awareness About Latest Cyber Threats
Employees may not be up-to-date with the latest cyber threats, leaving them vulnerable to new types of attacks.
Best Practice: Regularly update employees with information on the latest cyber threats and prevention strategies.
Tools: Cybersecurity newsletters, regular training sessions.
Bad Behavior #10: Disregarding Backup Procedures
Failing to regularly back up important data can lead to significant losses in the event of a cyberattack or hardware failure.
Best Practice: Establish and enforce regular data backup procedures.
Tools: Automated backup solutions and cloud backup services.
Striking the Right Balance with Desktop Surveillance Software
Monitoring remote employees using desktop surveillance software can be a tricky endeavor. Striking the right balance between ensuring cybersecurity and respecting employee privacy in the workplace is essential.
Tools like Insightful can help you achieve this equilibrium by providing remote working monitoring without invading your employees' personal lives. Insightful offers features such as tracking work-related activities, capturing data on potential security risks, and providing customizable reports to help you make informed decisions about your company's cybersecurity.
By staying proactive and maintaining a secure remote work environment, you'll not only protect your company's valuable data but also foster a culture of trust and responsibility among your employees.
After all, cybersecurity is a team effort, and together, you can conquer the challenges that remote work presents while reaping its many benefits. So, embrace the power of remote work and take charge of your company's cybersecurity – the future of work depends on it.