Navigating the cybersecurity implications of remote work – Crain’s Cleveland Business

Navigating the cybersecurity implications of remote work – Crain’s Cleveland Business

Movies and other entertainment media have popularized the myth of “hackers” forcing their way into secure computer networks purely through malicious code. The reality is that most security breaches are only possible due to credentials being stolen or otherwise obtained by opportunistic intruders.

Cyberattackers have various methods for gaining access to network credentials, including phishing scams. Phishing typically involves false emails sent to employees who may be convinced to click on a link that unleashes viruses, keylogging programs and other malware.

Scams like phishing emails rely on a technique known as social engineering, which is the process of creating emails and other communications that appear legitimate. This, in turn, convinces employees to respond, which creates network vulnerabilities that can be exploited by the phisher.

Companies attempting to maintain high standards of data security must take these employee-centric network threats seriously by training staff accordingly.

The following are a few best practices that can prepare your employees to spot and avoid potential phishing scams and other security breaches.

  • UPDATE YOUR EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK: Network security and the responsible use of equipment must be baked into your enterprise’s day-to-day operations. This includes the rules and guidelines on which your employees are trained. Take a comprehensive look at the regulations governing employee computer and internet use and update them as needed. Popular precautions include restrictions on certain applications or software, what to look for in suspicious emails, how to browse the internet responsibly using company-issued equipment and more.
  • DON’T BE PREDICTABLE WITH YOUR PASSWORDS: Easily guessed or otherwise weak passwords are a common cause of stolen credentials and compromised data. Reduce the risk of password breaches with a robust standard for employee passwords that are difficult to crack and change often. Consider requiring your employees to set passwords with a variety of letters, numbers and special characters, while also requiring they change their passwords on a regular basis.
  • HOLD ONGOING TRAINING SESSIONS: Cybersecurity is a constantly changing discipline, and your company’s best practices must keep up. Stay up to date on the threat landscape by inviting outside specialists and consultants to train your employees and bolster your network’s defenses.