The Cyber Security Risk of Working from Home & How to Address Them

cyber security working from home
Headshot of Kristin Sperring

The trend of remote work has gained momentum in recent years, primarily due to its numerous benefits. This mode of work offers increased flexibility, convenience, and higher productivity levels, among many other advantages. Additionally, it provides cost-saving benefits to companies since they don’t have to invest in office spaces or other related expenses. As such, remote work has become a viable option for both employees and employers alike. While remote and hybrid work offer flexibility and convenience, there are potential downsides to consider. One critical aspect to keep in mind is cyber security risks of working from home.


Maintaining device and network security can be more challenging outside the office. Shockingly, data breaches have affected around 63% of businesses with remote employees. Therefore, it is essential to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions.


If you’re considering remote work, don’t think you have to sacrifice security. Instead, find a balance. To do this, it’s important to understand the cyber security risks and take steps to mitigate them.


In this article, we’ll explore the top risks associated with remote work and offer practical solutions for both employees and employers.


Risk Mitigation: Cyber Security of Working from Home 


1. Weak Passwords and Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication


If you use weak passwords or reuse them across multiple accounts, you are putting your online security at risk. This is especially true for remote workers who access sensitive company information from different devices.


To avoid potential breaches, it’s important to create strong and unique passwords for each account. Using a password manager, like our partner Keeper Security, to simplify this process by suggesting unique strong password and storing the in a central but secure location.


In addition, adding multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another effective way to enhance your security. Using your phone, email or a password manager provides a secondary level of protection should your password become at risk.


2. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

When working remotely, it’s common to connect to various Wi-Fi networks, including public hotspots and home networks that may not be secure. However, these unsecured networks can put your sensitive data at risk of being hacked. To safeguard company data, we recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).


By activating the VPN when connecting to public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks, your internet traffic will be encrypted, ensuring that your data stays secure even on untrusted networks.


3. Phishing Attacks

Remote workers are at increased risk of falling victim to phishing attacks, which continue to pose a significant threat. Cybercriminals often use deceptive emails or messages to trick users into divulging their login credentials or downloading harmful attachments.


To safeguard against such attacks, it is important to exercise caution when opening emails, particularly those from unknown sources. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and always verify the sender’s email address.


Additionally, remain vigilant of any requests for sensitive information and seek confirmation from your IT support team if you are unsure about the legitimacy of a communication.


4. Insecure Home Network Devices

For remote workers, relying on Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart speakers, home security systems, and thermostats can be risky if not properly secured.


To mitigate this risk, it is important to change default passwords and keep devices updated with the latest firmware. Another helpful step is to create a separate network for IoT devices, such as a “guest” network, to isolate them from work devices and data.


Employers can also enhance security for remote teams by utilizing endpoint device managers like Microsoft Intune or similar solutions, which can simplify security management across multiple employee devices.


 Lack of Security Updates

Maintaining strong cyber security requires regular device and software updates. However, remote workers may overlook these updates due to busy schedules or lack of awareness, leaving their systems vulnerable to cybercriminals. Outdated software often contains vulnerabilities that cybercriminals use to gain unauthorized access.


To reduce this risk, it is essential to enable automatic updates on devices and software. Additionally, it is important to check for updates regularly and install them promptly to ensure the latest security patches are in place.


6. Data Backup and Recovery


As remote workers deal with a substantial amount of data, it’s crucial to safeguard it against loss or corruption. To achieve this, it’s essential to have a robust data backup and recovery plan in place.


You can secure your important files by storing them in a cloud storage service or an external hard drive. With this, you can ensure that even if a hacker breaches your device, your data remains secure and can be quickly restored.


7. Insufficient Employee Training


To ensure the safety of remote workers, it is crucial that companies prioritize cyber security training. Without proper training, employees may be unaware of the various security risks they face. To address this issue, organizations should provide comprehensive training that covers topics such as:


  • Identifying phishing emails
  • Creating strong passwords
  • Recognizing suspicious online behaviour
  • Be aware of new forms of phishing like SMS-based “smishing”


By doing so, companies can empower their remote workers with the knowledge and skills they need to stay secure in a digital workspace.


Get Help Improving the Cyber Security of Working From Home

Remote work offers many benefits. But it’s important to remain vigilant about the associated cyber security risks. Address these risks head-on and put in place the suggested measures. If you’d like some help, just let us know.


Give us a call on 01252 933633 or drop us an email on today to schedule a chat.