Brought to you by
Bright full colour logo
Bright was created in 2021 when Thesaurus Software Ltd. and Relate Software Ltd. decided to join...
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Risk assessment for remote workers: 10 signs your business may be at risk

4th Mar 2024
Brought to you by
Bright full colour logo
Bright was created in 2021 when Thesaurus Software Ltd. and Relate Software Ltd. decided to join...
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Remote working has proven benefits - like widening your talent pool, facilitating focus work, and improving work-life balance - but it can also open your firm up to risks and vulnerabilities that wouldn’t exist if you were 100% office-based.  

From sophisticated cyber-attacks to a laptop being forgotten in a coffee shop, it’s important you proactively recognise the risks associated with remote employees to avoid potentially serious consequences - like data breaches, loss of income, or damage to your reputation. To help mitigate the risks, we’ve put together a list of ten signs that your business might be vulnerable to a data security breach.  

1. You’re not focused on cyber security 

If you’ve got a centralised office environment, chances are it’s got robust security measures, too - but remote settings often don’t have the same protections in place. If your team works from home, their networks are unlikely to be as secure as your corporate one - meaning a higher risk of unauthorised access or exposure to malware infections. The first step to protecting yourself against these risks is to take your cyber security infrastructure seriously.  

2. You don’t use a VPN or antivirus tools 

Investing in a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) and antivirus tools are two of the smartest moves you can make when it comes to protecting your data. 

Antivirus tools are your frontline defence in preventing, detecting, and removing malware, while a VPN creates an encrypted ‘tunnel’ between your resources, the people using them, and the public internet, and can safeguard sensitive areas of your network. Because VPNs encrypt data that your firm sends or receives, and make your online presence more anonymous, it makes it harder for cyber-attackers to identify or target you.  

3. You don’t verify your users 

When you’re dealing with remote workers, you should adopt a ‘trust none, verify all’ approach - meaning you verify the identity of all users before granting access to corporate apps or company data.  

You can use methods like dual-factor authentication, where employees verify themselves using a separate device, or single-sign-on, which minimises the amount of credentials used to access work. Because cybercriminals often target usernames and passwords, restricting the amount of login opportunities can reduce that vulnerability. 

4. You wouldn’t recognise a phishing scam  

Phishing scams - where hackers send emails or other communications that trick you into sharing sensitive information - are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to data breaches.  

There are some tell-tale signs of phishing scams, including urgency to take action, incorrect email addresses, unusual greetings, or poor spelling and grammar. However, some phishing emails are harder to identify than others. 

When your team works remotely, they can be more likely to fall for phishing attempts. During the pandemic, research found that 47% of employees who fell for phishing scams did so because they were distracted - suggesting remote working sometimes leads to complacency around best practices.  

5. You share files over email  

Emails are easy to hack - and sharing files without encryption or the need for verification opens you up to a world of potential data breaches. Even without malicious intervention from hackers, simple human error - like attaching the wrong file, or copying in the wrong email address - can result in a GDPR nightmare when it comes to client data.  

Instead of sending attachments over email, use cloud software to store and share your work with others. You’ll get the added benefit of being able to collaborate in real time, too.  

6. You mix personal and work devices  

It can be convenient to mix work and personal devices, but it’s also risky. If a team member does their online shopping on a device they use for accessing client data, for example, there’s a chance of accidentally exposing sensitive company information to security threats. Similarly, if they’re using a personal device to log in to work systems, they won’t have the same security measures in place that your work devices do.  

So that your team can work securely, make sure your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is watertight - and that the above measures are in place, too.  

7. You’re not considering physical safety 

Working in public places like coffee shops, trains, or airports means other people can see what’s on your employees’ screens - which, in a practice known as 'shoulder surfing', could allow them to have unauthorised access to sensitive information.  

There's also a risk of remote workers losing their device or having it stolen or damaged. Again, dual-factor authentication, as well as doing most of your work in the cloud, can be a good way to mitigate the risk of work being lost or accessed inappropriately.  

8. Your passwords aren’t secure 

Most people still use the same password for the majority of their login information - and they make it something easy to remember, too. The problem with passwords that are memorable and used in more than one place is that they’re often easy for hackers to guess, too.  

Using a password manager to generate secure passwords - made up of a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters - is a good way to increase security. Whatever you do, don’t write passwords down - or use the word ‘password’, like 4.9 million people still do.  

9. You’re not training your team  

It might be harder for your IT team to enforce best practice when dealing with remote workers, but, without training, that task becomes almost impossible. If your team isn’t trained, human error or poor judgement could expose your firm to unnecessary vulnerability. 

Make it a priority for your people to be cyber security aware - write it into your policies, make training mandatory, and test them regularly, using methods like fake phishing scams to use as a learning exercise.  

10. You haven’t considered intentional sabotage 

Nobody likes to think of it, but deliberate sabotage by employees can and does happen. Sometimes this takes the form of data theft - like stealing login details to access databases or gain information - and other times you might find unsupervised workers damage your corporate assets in some way.  

One way to mitigate this is to make sure you have varying levels of access - meaning users can only view, edit, or share resources that are necessary for them to be able to do their job.  

11. Secure remote working with Bright 

Cloud software is a great way to protect against many of the above risks, and we’ve developed our entire software suite with security best practices in mind. Our secure cloud software products include:  

To find out more about our Bright software suite, please contact our team - we’d love to hear from you.  

Book a demo