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The COVID-19 threat means more of us are working from home.
COVID-19 forced businesses to adapt to a remote/hybrid working lifestyle, with over 40% of UK workers now working from home at least part of the time. This shift has had a number of implications, including an increase in the number of data breaches.
According to a recent survey by TransUnion, 8 in 10 UK businesses believe that hybrid working increases the risk of a data breach. This is because remote workers are more likely to use their own devices and networks, which may be less secure than those provided by their employer. Additionally, remote workers may be more likely to click on phishing links or open malicious attachments, as they may not be as vigilant when working from home.
The UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 found that 39% of businesses reported having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. This suggests that the risk of data breaches is already high and is likely to increase further as more businesses adopt hybrid working models.
What does your business need to know?
Equipment and External Factors
If you choose to make your employees work from home, there may be equipment they need to do so. Some employees may have a computer at home they can use for work, but others may not. Making sure all needed work can be accessed from a suitable device is imperative.
No work can be done if it cannot be accessed. Communicate with your employees on how they plan to work from home. Make sure their set up is suitable for what you require from them.
Factors to consider are:
- Laptops or desktops – do they have one? Does it have security measures to keep company data safe? Does it have the necessary features to complete the work required?
- Wi-Fi connection (if applicable) – if work is to be accessed online, does the employee have the connection to do so?
- Attachment devices (if applicable) – does your employee need anything else, e.g a writing/drawing tablet, to complete their work?
- Communication applications – how will your employees keep in contact with each other while at home? Microsoft Teams is a popular option. Learn more from our partners at pure technology group.
Advise your staff
Although you cannot be aware of what your employees will be doing at home at all times, it is important to keep in contact with them as much as possible. Set up weekly meetings online via video or audio chat to inform them on any news, especially on when they can return to work.
Furthermore, it is important that your staff follow government recommendations while working from home. Although they are away from the office, the hygiene practices you have set in place at work should still be carried out to ensure employees (and their friends and families) avoid contracting the virus. Hand washing for 20 seconds, remaining off public transport and keeping social distances is just as important when at home. Make sure your employees are aware.
When at work we are protected from malware and viruses due to firewalls, password protection and other protective measures. We are also much more cautious of our emails, fearing we may leak company data to unknown users. However, we tend not to think about these measures when on personal devices, we may not even have any anti-virus software on our personal laptops and phones.
Ensure your employees follow these guidelines:
- Only access company data from trusted and known sources.
- Use an encrypted Wi-Fi connection or VPN.
- Do not work in areas where people may see your screen.
- Do not answer unexpected emails.
- Install the latest software updates
- Password protect your personal devices, in case of theft.
- Report all data breaches to your company IT department.
By implementing this advice, your device security should be protected from any major threats.