Is remote working threatening your business?

3 min read 01 June 2020

Santam, South Africa’s largest short-term insurer, has warned that, with remote work and work from home taking off as the new norm, companies need to be extra vigilant to ensure they are not vulnerable to disastrous data breaches or other cyber security incidents. Cyber threat actors pose a massive cyber security threat, so protective measures must be taken to maintain information security and privacy on all sides. 

Grant Durr, Group Information Security Manager at Santam says, “When working from an office, most companies have a dedicated IT department to maintain cyber security through appropriate hardware and software controls. That simply isn’t possible at home.”

Durr provides some guidelines on how to protect teams at home from various cyber-threats.

Change the plan

Now is the time for organisations to meet with their IT departments and reprioritise their cyber security strategies.

Secure internet access

Unsecured home networks and devices pose the main cyber threat for people working from home. “This is the single biggest threat in the home environment. The company IT department can’t control the devices in the home, and therefore can’t secure devices that are used to connect to the internet, and how internet connections are established,” says Durr.

Unsecure WiFi allows hackers to connect to home networks, and by implication allows for the possibility of viewing important information that is stored on all the computers and other devices that are connected to the same network. Even more disturbingly, they can access cameras, or other IoT (Internet of Things) devices without anyone’s knowledge. Maintaining a protected internet connection at home might be tedious, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few steps one can take now:

Safe virtual meetings

Online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are experiencing a surge of traffic. Depending on the type of service a company uses, these virtual meetings can be another way that hackers are able to record your online conversations and access important information shared in presentations and emails. It is also a potential gateway to information such as passwords, sensitive client information, and personal details.

“Every online meeting – from an internal team meeting to a personal chat with your family – should include some security aspect to it. Hackers just need one unsecure point during a virtual call to gain access to the information of everyone in the call,” warns Durr.

Here are a few quick steps to keep your calls safe:

Without proper protection, an organisation is at risk of sensitive information being compromised. Although disruption can vary, the intentions remain the same – to disrupt work and find any valuable information that can be exploited for monetary gain. Contact your broker to discuss ways to ensure comprehensive coverage for cyber threats.