Cybersecurity & COVID-19: Your Biggest Remote Work Problems and How to Fix Them

Working from home using our personal computers certainly invites security risks and challenges. But given our situation with the coronavirus pandemic, this is perhaps the most practical option to keep our employees safe while somehow keeping our business afloat.

While doing their part to flatten the curve, your whole organization should also be mindful of the security risks associated with this new setup.

Here are your biggest remote work problems and how you can limit the damage they can do:

  • Poor cyber hygiene. We’re in the middle of one of the most stressful and uncertain periods of modern humanity. It is understandable if a number of your employees are not in tiptop mental shape during this crisis.

A significant portion of them might be in their most vulnerable state. Brain fog can set in, and a critical cybersecurity mistake can happen.

You can mitigate this by doing the following:

    • Make sure that your employees’ firewalls and antivirus programs are regularly updated.
    • Let them use multifactor authentication in both their work and personal accounts.
    • Email them regular cybersecurity tips and reminders, like how to spot phishing attacks.
    • Encourage each member to share their best practices during your weekly Google Meet or Skype conferences.
  • Skills Gap. In a recent study conducted by Help Net Security, 65% of the organizations they tracked reported a shortage of cybersecurity staff. While 36% among cybersecurity professionals are deemed to lack proper skills or experience.

Different kinds of industries have encountered damaging cybersecurity skill gaps in their in-house IT staff. Their existing IT employees simply aren’t adept in the latest security know-how, and job vacancies are left unfilled. 

Like medical frontliners in overwhelmed hospitals, this means that current IT teams are now overstretched in the current work-from-home setup due to the COVID-19 quarantine. 

Time is of the essence. If one of your employees needs swift assistance for a complex issue while still in quarantine, a smart alternative would be to partner with managed service providers (MSPs) as soon as possible. 

Truly skilled IT professionals are a rarity, so make sure to only entrust your company’s computer networks to MSPs with well-trained experts prepared to keep your system away from catastrophic ransomware attacks.

  • Lack of transparency and communication. Tracking the activities of your members gets even more difficult while they’re working from home. While you may have no intention to micromanage them, you want to ensure that they’re not doing anything that can compromise your business. And if an employee makes a cybersecurity mistake, he or she must feel that it’s safe to come forward.

You don’t want your employees to keep secrets, especially ones that can cost your business if not remedied immediately.

Reminding your employees about the do’s and don’ts to avoid security problems certainly helps. But you should also assure them that they have a safe space when they make an honest mistake.

If an employee falls victim to a phishing email, you’d definitely want him or her to report it immediately. So he or she should know that it’s okay to come forward.

Having the majority of your organization work remotely entails trust. And trust should be a two-way street. Your members trust you to look out for their livelihood and safety, as you trust them to hold their end of the bargain and deliver. 

Your employees should not be a part of your cybersecurity problems. They should be part of the solution.

While you make sure to keep your employees connected and engaged during these trying times, you should also make sure that they follow proper cyber etiquette to keep your company from vulnerabilities.

Nobody can really say they are 100% prepared to tackle this crisis, but we can take steps to prevent another wave of problems. 


Know more about rising cyber challenges and how to combat them.