As businesses prepare for what seems like the post-pandemic world, several newly emerged corporate trends are taking a permanent shape. Enterprise mobility is in full swing as industries mobilize their workforce with the help of digital technology, remote working is being considered as a permanent solution by some enterprises and others are exploring hybrid work models, BYOD management is being widely adopted to support and simplify remote working.
All these factors play a large role in streamlining mobility and helping businesses boost their employee productivity, even in remote environments. However, businesses have identified the crucial factors that can pose challenges in deploying secure remote operations. Many of these challenges are related to corporate data security. There are several cloud-based solutions like MDM software available to help businesses manage, provision and secure their remote devices and the data stored on them.
However, when remote working comes into the picture, a lot depends on the internet. Connectivity, resource sharing, data exchange, etc. are all crucial tasks that are carried out daily using the internet. This brings the limelight to enabling secure internet access to the employees to prevent accidental data breaches.
BYOD: How Does It Amplify the Chances of Encountering Cyber Threats
When your employees are working from diverse locations, be it their homes, hotels, cafes, libraries or any other co-working space, there are high chances that they connect to the public Wi-Fi offered by these places to get their work done. Connecting to insecure, untrusted, open to all or shared Wi-Fi networks can expose an entry point for hackers to connect to your corporate network and access employee details and the corporate data on their devices or networks.
Another major source of potential cybercrimes is when your employees access malicious websites or download untrusted apps from the web. Malware is the most common form of cyber attack. Employees accessing suspicious websites from their company-owned devices or BYO devices that contain sensitive business data can lead to data breaches and major security-related consequences for businesses.
What Are the Various Business Risks Associated With Insecure Internet Access
Businesses can face a number of risks if employees intentionally or unintentionally access the internet insecurely. With the advancements in technology, cyber crimes have also evolved exponentially. While using the internet has a myriad of benefits, improper usage of the same can pose several risks for organizations.
1. Data Loss Due to Malware and Phishing Attacks
The first and the most concerning risk that businesses face due to insecure internet access is the risk of malware infection. With growing cybercrimes, malware has taken several forms. Ransomware holds the corporate data at ransom and paralyzes the functions of the business. Spyware invades the system and covertly monitors all the corporate activities on the device and the network. Adware infects the devices when the user clicks on malicious advertisements and untrusted links. These are all forms of malware, which can be the most common source of corporate data loss.
Another major source of corporate data breaches is phishing attacks. If your employees fail to identify between genuine and malicious emails, they are likely to click on such phishing emails that appear to come from trusted companies or users but end up collecting all your sensitive business data.
2. Financial and Legal Risks
According to a 2021 report, 133 jurisdictions around the world have enacted omnibus data privacy laws. Data loss presents great financial and legal penalties for businesses. The financial loss related to data breaches is the most hard-hitting since it involves several costs such as legal fees, investigational costs, hefty regulatory fines and future security costs. A single attack on an enterprise can drive the company into massive financial losses.
3. Loss of Brand Reputation and Customer Loyalty
A security breach can harm your enterprise beyond just financial losses. It can impact the way your customers look at you. In a highly competitive corporate world, a small mistake can create big repercussions, data loss is one of the biggest mistakes that a business can endure. It is natural for customers to stop doing business with brands that have incidents of data breaches. Loss of reputation and customer trust can damage your brand value and affect your business continuity.
How Can You Mitigate These Challenges?
A simple thing such as accessing the internet can make or break crucial aspects of your business. So what can businesses do, especially in these times of remote working, to ensure secure internet access to the workforce?
1. Configure a VPN
A VPN or Virtual Private Network creates an encrypted connection between your device and the corporate network to enable employees to share and exchange their business information securely. VPNs hide the user’s IP address, browsing activities and data from the WiFi networks, steering clear of any lurking hackers or cyber threats. Configuring a VPN mandatorily on the devices of all your remote employees can go a long way in securing their internet usage.
2. Encrypt Your Data
Data encryption is converting your sensitive business information into codes that need a particular key or verification to be decoded. This acts as a backup plan in case your business data leaks and falls into the wrong hands. There are several data encryption software and platforms that offer easy data encryption which can be used as a protective measure.
3. Regular System Updates
Keeping your organization’s devices updated with the latest OS version, whether they are company-owned or BYO devices, is of prime importance. OS updates do a lot of things from bringing in new features, to repairing security glitches and fixing bugs in the system. Hackers are always on the lookout for system vulnerabilities. Security holes in a system are the easiest way for cybercriminals to hack into a system and eventually into the corporate network. Routine OS upgrades and patch fixes can help your devices perform better and prevent hackers from breaking in.
4. Restrict Access to Suspicious Websites
Enabling a remote work environment is not easy, businesses are constantly required to monitor their employees’ performance and activities. However, this monitoring can be helpful to keep security threats at bay. The latest MDM solutions help organizations build security policies that define a secure usage of the internet. You can allow work-specific websites to be used on the work devices, or block selective untrusted websites to keep malicious agents away from your corporate network.
5. Secure Your Unattended Devices
Several industries use digital kiosks of various types such as self-help kiosks, interactive kiosks, informative kiosks, etc. You may have seen these kiosks at shopping malls, retail outlets, hotels and restaurants. Such devices are always unattended and do not require a dedicated staff to constantly operate them. While this reduces a lot of manual burdens, it also poses a threat of people trying to fidget with these unattended digital devices and changing the settings or accessing malicious websites and apps.
Kiosk software is a tool that helps businesses restrict their digital kiosks to single or multiple selective apps. For example, if your business has Android digital signages deployed at various remote locations, you can leverage the Android Kiosk Mode functionality to ensure limited pre-defined usage of the device and prevent customers from accidentally infecting the device with malware.
6. Educate Your Employees
The last, and the most important effort that businesses can take towards mitigating challenges involved with improper and insecure internet access, is to educate the employees of secure internet usage best practices and also make them aware of the consequences that the enterprise will have to bear in the events of data breaches. As a business, you can take all the security measures you need and enforce all the compliance policies you want, but you can only make your network security fail-proof with the active contribution and a responsible outlook by your employees.
The internet is a tricky thing. It can help your business boost its productivity, execute remote operations, exchange information and achieve operational excellence. But it is also the thing that can hamper your data security and threaten your business revenue and reputation. Taking the right measures to enable secured internet access to all the employees of the organization is of prime importance. Modern-day MDM solutions like Scalefusion, offer extensive network security features that can help your IT admins devise a secure internet access plan for your business.