Four risks that come with a mobile workforce

Four risks that come with a mobile workforce

Your business may be one of thousands that allow employees to work remotely. This “mobile workforce” makes businesses agile and flexible, because your staff can quickly make changes and meet adjusted deadlines no matter where they are. But this setup also has drawbacks, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

Below are four ways your system security can be compromised during remote work.

1. Data exchanged through unsecured hotspots can be intercepted

Out-of-the-office environments like coffee shops or airports do not have the same high-end security as your in-house infrastructure. Connecting to open WiFi networks may be convenient, but unsecured hotspots have virtually no protection from “man-in-the-middle” attacks, or the interception of data being passed between a user’s mobile device and your company’s server. Hijacked data may include login credentials, intellectual property, or confidential files uploaded from or downloaded onto the mobile device.

To avoid such security threats, use a corporate virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts all data being exchanged from your server to a user’s device. Encrypted data is indecipherable, so even if your data is intercepted, hackers won’t be able to use it for anything.

2. Employees untrained in cybersecurity can unknowingly cause leaks to happen

It’s a given that there is little to no security in a remote work setting, but careless employees can make things worse. They may connect to a “honeypot” or a fake hotspot that mimics the name and logo of the establishment and baits unsuspecting users to connect to it so it can intercept information. Users may also use weak and easy-to-crack passwords. If you want to keep your business information safe, it’s important to raise your employees’ security awareness by formally educating them about mobile device security.

3. Unmanaged mobile devices make it easy to infiltrate your network

Sometimes, the weakest link in cybersecurity is the very mobile device your staff is using. Remote work allows staff to use their own or company-issued devices — devices that might have outdated software and weak passcodes. If malware finds gaps in mobile security due to out-of-date software, or if a device gets lost, your precious business data can end up in the hands of someone who will steal or sell them.

Avoid falling into these nasty situations by employing a mobile device management (MDM) service that centralizes management of all work-related mobile devices while providing options to track user sessions and remotely delete the contents of lost or stolen devices. Coupled with employee training, MDM should make your cybersecurity more robust and harder to crack.

4. Lack of comprehensive access management systems

There is a tricky line between making user access comfortable and preventing hackers from getting into your system. A user must set a strong password to keep data secured, but the password should also be easy enough to remember. If the password is too easy, then you’re sure to experience data phishing or malware attacks. If it’s too complex or too difficult to remember, it causes downtime. Every single one of your employees should have perfectly configured cloud privileges, and that’s just too much work.

Luckily, managed IT services providers (MSPs) can configure strong passwords and install multifactor authentication (MFA). They will also set up user access based on the principle of least privilege, a system that enables remote workers to have access to the data — and only the data — that they need.

Having a mobile workforce brings many benefits to your company, but it also poses several risks of exposure to malware and cyberattacks. Unsecured network hotspots, untrained staff, unmanaged mobile devices, and misconfigured privileges can all contribute to the actualization of these threats, but utilizing cutting-edge mobile device management tools and working with a world-class MSP will mitigate the risks of working off-site.

We at Founders Technology Group are committed to helping businesses around New England manage their IT security, so that business owners like you can have peace of mind. Call us today, and we’ll show you how your remote work can be secure, effortless, and affordable.