The days of the classic office structure may well be coming to an end. Sure, some companies will abandon remote working as soon as it’s safe and practical to do so (perhaps they need close communication or they want to monitor their employees), but most have now accepted that there is very little reason to require everyone to share a common office space when the work still has been accomplished working from home.
Working remotely is simply more convenient in various ways. It does away with tedious commutes, saving employees time, money, and fuel. Working from home allows employees to shape their schedules and working habits to suit their preferences instead of needing to conform to the rigid 8am to 5pm grind. It frees them up to work from wherever they want, meaning that they can travel (when circumstances allow) without needing to take any vacation time.
With the convenience of working remotely comes some challenges. Most notably, there’s the matter of cybersecurity. The old way of doing things conferred physical security (for those using local networks, at least). Systems could be locationally isolated, with the entirety of a company’s files and communication methods being restricted to use within its private office space. Working remotely requires the use of remote tools and routing everything through the internet.
What remote tools threaten the security of your business? Has the shift to remote working led you into a possible nightmare, or is the risk of online operations overblown?
The Security Quality of Remote Tools
There’s no set level of security quality in any regard for remote tools. Let’s talk about VPNs or Virtual Private Networks that route internet traffic through an intermediary, thereby masking the identity and location of the system on which it’s running. You might think that every VPN would have the same standards for security. This isn’t the case at all since VPN’s serve a different purpose for different users.
One person might use a VPN for torrenting, and the best VPN for torrenting will be the fastest but not necessarily the most secure while transferring data. While torrenting is generally used for peer-to-peer file sharing such as movies or songs, VPN for business focuses heavily on data protection. Speed can be an issue, but you don’t need vast bandwidth to exchange documents and handle the occasional short-lived video calls.
VoIP Phone Service
Similar points can be made about VoIP communication tools, task management systems, payment processing solutions, and password managers. In short, remote tools aren’t inherently insecure. If you invest in software systems developed specifically for business purposes, you won’t need to worry about core design flaws. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have any security issues to worry about.
User Error Concerns
No matter how secure you make a remote access tool, it’ll never be foolproof. Why? Because your network needs to be accessible for regular use, and that inevitably introduces security weaknesses. As an example, you can invest in a safe that can’t be cracked, but that won’t keep your belongings in the safe out of the hands of others if you keep the safe lock combination written on a post-it note visible through a window near your safe.
Despite the problems it introduces, even enterprise-level software needs to be simple enough that people lacking technical skills can use it — and however many times you tell your employees to memorize their passwords, there’s an excellent chance that they’ll forget them semi-regularly and need to reset them, meaning they’ll need to have password-recovery steps.
Many people are manipulated into exposing their private information through email phishing scams. It is even possible for fraudsters to pose as someone trustworthy and get someone to reveal answers to possible security questions. Armed with that information, they can reset the person’s password and gain access to their account and your network. That leaves your entire system compromised.
Choose your software carefully and invest in regular training. Ensure that you use remote tools that are rated highly for business security. Commit to showing your employees how to remote access tools safely and protect their data and yours.
If you can follow through with those two actions, your business will be no less secure than if it didn’t rely on remote tools. Take action today to create an excellent cybersecurity foundation, and you’ll likely never run into any significant security issues.