After millions of Australians were forced to work from home during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the era of remote work looks like it’s here to stay. Some companies have even chosen to switch over to work from home arrangements for good.

If you are keeping work from home arrangements for your business, it’s important to be aware of the increased cyber risks. Remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach by $137,000 and remote workers will continue to be a growing target for cybercriminals.

What Are the Top Cyber Risks for Remote Workers?

The biggest cyber risks when working from home are:

  1. Encrypted file sharing
  2. Insecure networks
  3. Phishing schemes
  4. Human error

Let’s take a look at what these risks are and how to mitigate them.

1. File Sharing

Working from home increases the amount of online file sharing and information exchange. This exposes your business to a greater risk of theft, ransomware attacks, leaked information and identify fraud by hackers who prey on remote workers.

To minimise file sharing risks, important or sensitive files should be encrypted before sending via email. This means that only a recipient with the key can open and view a file. You can send encrypted files using tools such as Paubox Email Suite, Avanan Cloud Email Security, Spike and Proofpoint Email Encryption. You should also set system permissions and use strong passwords.

2. Insecure Networks

Home and public internet networks are often insecure and have higher security risks than the networks in your business premises. It’s all too easy to forget about security updates for your home router or computer software which leaves you vulnerable to cyber attacks. In addition, some people don’t have an internet firewall on their personal computers to filter and block certain types of traffic and activities.

Make sure you educate your employees about home internet networks and remind them to check for updates. You can also request for employees to activate network encryption and use a strong network administrator password.

3. Phishing Schemes

A phishing scheme is when a cybercriminal poses as a legitimate entity via email and coaxes you into clicking on a link or sharing your personal or sensitive information. They then use this information to hack accounts, commit identity fraud, steal more sensitive data and more. Phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it’s very easy to overlook them as one of the many emails that land in your inbox.

You can mitigate this risk by educating your employees on phishing emails and what to look out for. Send regular reminder emails to keep awareness high and conduct periodic phishing tests.

4. Human Error

95% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error. This is why it’s imperative to train staff on cyber security best practices and how to adopt good habits including:

  • Use strong passwords and a password management app
  • Instal antivirus software and firewalls
  • Backup important data regularly
  • Use two-factor authentication for added security
  • Secure all mobile devices

As well as being aware of risks, educating your employees and implementing good habits, you should consider taking out a cyber insurance policy. Cyber insurance can cover business owners from financial costs relating to cyber attacks such as data theft, ransomware and computer hacking. Depending on the type and severity of an attack, you may need to pay for an IT expert to unlock your systems, pay ransoms or cover any losses encountered by your staff, customers or clients.

To learn more about cyber insurance and how it can protect your business, get in touch with our brokers on 1300 815 344.