Devices used at home are not receiving the same degree of protection as one in an office setting. In a professional setting, workers benefit from technical and security support provided by IT admins. But in the home, this specialized expertise is often lacking.
“When you’re working from home, you’re subject to security risks that are less present and more accounted for in business locations,” says Chalan Aras, Vice President of Products at Citrix Systems. “A secure connection and a device that is hardened for outside penetration are important in this case. Normal home devices are not that; they’re not designed to prevent hackers.”
In the race to safely continue business, companies rushed their essential workers home. A recent survey by Malware Bytes shows that 44% of companies have not provided security training for teleworkers.
The transformation has created a number of vulnerabilities, all exasperated when personal devices are used to perform work functions.
Some of the issues are tied to user habits, like responding to phishing. Others are tied to personal devices and residential infrastructure lacking the IT-supported practices that keep everyone protected.
In many ways, teleworkers working from personal devices can be a dream scenario for hackers. Software and anti-virus programs can be out of date, improperly configured VPNs can create access for bad actors, and a use of unsecure networks can spell disaster for a company.
“If you can get into one device, you can sometimes have the keys to the kingdom,” says Chalan. “Many breaches have occurred in many companies because of that.”
Phishing scams and cyberattacks are expected to rise while employees work from home. Companies can protect themselves by finding the right tools to manage remote connections. Software to facilitate remote collaboration and management has become a top pri0rity for IT professionals.
“Businesses are expecting two services to support work from home,” says Aras. “The first is a good experience, but the second is security.”
The focus has largely been on improving remote collaboration and communication, but more than half of IT and security administrators report spending a significantly larger portion of their time managing security threats and developing new security protocols.
With most companies expecting work from home to continue into the foreseeable future, more emphasis will be placed on implementing enterprise-grade protections in residential settings. Some security and compliance risks can be addressed through training and policy, but modern technology, including remote monitoring of connections and devices, will be critical for keeping the user and their organization safe.