remote work security risks & best practices
Cyber Insurance

Cybersecurity Challenges in Remote Work Environments

Remote work environments have become commonplace today with many companies offering work from home opportunities. However, cybersecurity concerns are equally prevalent. Investing in cybersecurity insurance is the best approach to tackle the online threats. Additionally, you need to identify the various challenges associated with remote working and take precautionary steps to avoid them. Read on to discover the various cybersecurity challenges in remote work environments and the best practices to overcome them.

Common security risks of remote working

The typical security issues in remote work environments include the following:

  • Vulnerable networks

    Employees generally use their home wireless networks to access corporate accounts. But in certain scenarios, when they are on the go, they might connect to public Wi-Fi systems, which are susceptible to cyberattacks. Since many people use public networks it becomes easier for hackers to steal data.

  • Cloud misconfigurations

    Most remote workers rely on cloud technology that allows them to access company data from various locations. While the cloud infrastructure is essential, it also poses risks of misconfiguration, which occurs when settings and security measures are set up incorrectly. This essentially makes remote workers vulnerable to cyberthreats.

  • Widened attack surface

    One of the most prominent remote work cybersecurity risks is the widened attack surface. As multiple employees use different devices and networks in remote workspaces, the number of entry points for cyber attackers increases. Such an expanded attack surface presents more opportunities for hackers to find weak spots and steal data.

  • Increased susceptibility to phishing attacks

    Working from anywhere outside the office premises can attract social engineering scams. These scams are targeted towards individuals distracted by external forces and not directly supervised through individual data security from their companies. Through phishing attacks, scammers send SMS/emails posing as a member of the company.

  • Unpatched software

  • Laptops come with a feature to update software periodically. When employees miss out on running regular updates, the device can become vulnerable to security threats. Moreover, in remote work setups, employees may tend to use their own devices at times to share files or communicate. If the software on those devices is unprotected, it can become a cybersecurity challenge.

  • Unencrypted communications

  • When employees work from the office, the information stored on the network is encrypted. The same goes for company details and documents shared on the cloud. However, while working remotely, employees may sometimes download files on their local device, which may or may not be encrypted. Such communication exposes the data to cyberthreats.

Cybersecurity best practices for remote work

As an organisation, you can implement the following practices to combat remote work privacy concerns and security threats:

  • Extend internal VPN

    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps tackle cybersecurity challenges in remote work setups by providing secure access, encrypted data transmission, and access control. An internally regulated VPN for organisations also helps monitor suspicious activity efficiently. With a VPN, the data remains protected even if employees use public Wi-Fi as the connection is masked.

  • Use strong passwords

    Every user account in the workplace should have a unique password specific to every employee. It should be a long password containing complex characters, letters, and numbers. Employees can also use a password manager that helps them use secure passwords for different work-related accounts without having to remember them.

  • Strengthen endpoint security

    Security at the endpoint level lets you know where your digital information is stored at all times. You can employ system administrators to enhance endpoint security and build a strong data protection program. Through well-regulated endpoint security, data leakage, malware attacks, and other security threats can be detected at the source and defused before the situation escalates.

  • Develop a centralised storage location

    If all the sensitive company data is stored in a single location, it is less likely to get into the wrong hands. Thus, you can develop a centralised system where all the remote workers can store company data, like passwords, documents, and client information. Besides, the centralised location makes it easy to monitor data security through a single terminal.

  • Install antivirus on every device

    All the devices circulated among the employees must have trustworthy antivirus software installed. Antivirus is a preventive measure that protects the system from malware, viruses, and other cyberthreats. Antivirus and firewalls not only protect the devices used by remote workers from varied locations but also provide warnings of attacks being attempted.

  • Keep work devices updated

    A basic security requirement for devices used by remote workers is regular software updates. When devices are updated periodically, they get the latest patches and security controls from the manufacturer. Thus, the device stays bug-free and is better equipped to detect threats. On a company-wide basis, you can ensure the updates are carried out regularly by conducting periodic check-ups.

  • Prioritise email security

    In most workplaces, emails are the main carriers of all the confidential files and communication. Hence, it is important to focus on protecting the emails sent by employees to colleagues, clients, and partners while working remotely. Such security measures include configuring users’ connections, devices, and the data in transit with strong security controls.

  • Create a company security policy

    Despite all the other measures you may take, your company cannot fully control how employees use their devices and software. The only way to ensure that all the security measures are implemented successfully is to take all the employees under confidence. On an organisational level, you can create a security policy that all remote workers are obligated to follow.

Stay protected with cybersecurity insurance

While you may measures to tackle all kinds of cybersecurity challenges in remote work areas, you can never truly be prepared for cyberattacks or the impact of cybercrimes on society until you invest in a cyber insurance policy. This policy combines all the measures, while ensuring your peace of mind in the event of cyber threats like phishing scams, malware, ransomware, spyware, and other similar cybercrimes. In case of a cyberattack, your insurance provider offers legal and financial protection against a various cyber-related attack including hacking, data destruction, data extortion, data theft, and more.


How does cybersecurity differ for remote work environments and traditional office setups?

Cybersecurity for remote work involves securing various devices and networks outside of the central office. It involves protecting individual devices separately. Contrarily, traditional office setups focus on securing centralised systems within a controlled environment.

What role do employees play in remote work cybersecurity?

Employees play a critical role in remote work cybersecurity. They must enable two-factor authentication, keep their devices updated, and stay cautious of suspicious emails, links, and downloads.

How can employees identify and handle suspicious emails or messages?

To identify and handle suspicious emails or messages, employees should check for spelling errors, generic greetings, and unfamiliar senders.

How does remote work affect the monitoring and detection of cyberthreats?

Remote work makes monitoring and detecting cyber threats more challenging due to dispersed locations and devices. However, companies can use centralised monitoring systems and real-time threat detection tools to overcome the challenges.

How to create cybersecurity awareness among remote workers?

To create cybersecurity awareness among remote workers, companies can hold regular training sessions covering topics like phishing, secure password practices, and device security. You can also send out informative emails, posters, and short videos to reinforce the key concepts.

Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding.

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