The rapid shift to remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and interact online. While remote work has provided many benefits, it has also exposed a significant vulnerability. Over 75% of Remote Workers Don’t Use a VPN creating risk in the form of cybersecurity.
In a recent survey highlighted by TechRadar, it was found that a staggering 88% of remote workers do not use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while carrying out their work tasks. This alarming statistic raises concerns about the potential heat wave of cyber threats that may hit this summer.
In this article, we will delve into the importance of VPNs, the risks associated with remote work without one, and practical steps to ensure a secure work environment.
Understanding VPNs and their Importance
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Remote WorkForce creates an encrypted connection between a user’s device and the internet, providing a secure pathway for data transmission. By routing internet traffic through a remote server, VPNs shield online activities from prying eyes and potential cyber threats.
This encryption technology safeguards sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, and proprietary company information, from falling into the wrong hands.
Remote WorkForce VPN automatically routes the request directly to the requested resource, regardless of where it is located, via a secure tunnel established for that user.
The Risks of Remote Work
Without the protection of a VPN like Remote WorkForce, remote workers are more susceptible to various cyber threats. Here are some of the risks they face:
- Data Interception: Public WiFi networks, commonly used in cafes, airports, or hotels, are notorious for their lack of security. Hackers can easily intercept data transmitted over these networks, potentially gaining access to usernames, passwords, and other confidential information.
- Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: In a man-in-the-middle attack, an attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties. This enables them to intercept sensitive information exchanged between remote workers and their company’s servers, posing a serious threat to data integrity and confidentiality.
- Phishing Attacks: Phishing emails and websites are a common method used by cybercriminals to trick users into revealing sensitive information. Without a VPN, remote workers are more susceptible to falling victim to these attacks, which can result in identity theft, financial loss, or unauthorized access to company systems.
- Malware Infections: Remote workers who connect directly to the internet without the protection of a VPN like Remote WorkForce are at a higher risk of downloading malware. Malicious software can compromise the security of both personal and company devices, leading to data breaches and system malfunctions.
Ensuring a Secure Work Environment
To mitigate the risks associated with remote work, it is crucial for organizations and individuals to adopt secure practices. Here are some practical steps to establish a secure work environment:
- Educate and Raise Awareness: Organizations should provide comprehensive training on cybersecurity best practices to remote workers. This includes the importance of using a VPN like Remote WorkForce, recognizing phishing attempts, and following secure password protocols. Regular reminders and updates can help employees stay vigilant and informed.
- Implement a VPN Policy: Companies should establish a clear policy mandating the use of VPNs for all remote workers. This policy should outline the consequences of non-compliance and provide guidelines for selecting and configuring VPN software.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforcing the use of MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of authentication, such as a password and a unique code sent to their mobile device. This greatly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even if passwords are compromised.
- Secure Remote Access: Remote workers should ensure that their home WiFi network is encrypted and password protected. Regularly updating router firmware and changing default login credentials is crucial to prevent unauthorized access to their network.
- Regular Software Updates: Keeping devices and software up to date is vital for security. Remote workers should regularly install updates and patches for their operating systems, applications, and antivirus software to stay protected against the latest vulnerabilities.
Use a VPN Like Remote WorkForce to Stay Safe
The TechRadar survey revealing that 88% of remote workers do not use a VPN highlights the urgent need to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the remote work environment. As the summer months approach, the risks of cyber threats loom large.
By understanding the importance of VPNs, recognizing the risks of remote work without one, and implementing secure practices, both organizations and remote workers can take proactive steps to safeguard sensitive information and maintain a secure work environment.
Some SMBs need an even more robust solution, so we developed Remote WorkForce ZTN. In addition to providing VPN capabilities, Remote WorkForce ZTN provides end-to-end encryption for all IT resources, without requiring back-hauls through the LAN for resources in the cloud. Routing to the appropriate network is handled automatically, simplifying access for users. Remote WorkForce ZTN provides a true Zero Trust layer on top of our VPN. Employees only have access to IT resources that they are specifically authorized to use. Other corporate resources are not even visible and any unauthorized attempts to access them are blocked.
Let’s embrace the benefits of remote work while staying vigilant against the rising tide of cyber threats by using a VPN/ZTN solution like Remote WorkForce.