Do Remote Workers Increase Your Chance of a Data Breach?
As we approach the end of 2018, cyber risks remain the most-pressing threat to businesses of all sizes, in all industries. During the first half of 2018 there was a 133 percent increase in data breaches compared to the same time period in 2017. These breaches exposed a staggering 4.5 billion records. And, research shows that more than 40 percent of security breaches are caused by employee negligence.
This compounded with the lack of control due to the devices, apps, and networks employees use has raised eyebrows among both cybersecurity professionals and the C-suite. In fact, according to Shred-it’s 2018 State of the Industry Report, 86 percent of senior leadership teams said that data breaches are more likely to occur when employees are working out of the office. Furthermore, an iPass survey called 2018 Mobile Security Report found that 57 percent of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) suspect their mobile workers had been hacked in the past 12 months.
But what can be done?
Let’s first take a look at the remote work environment.
The Pros & Cons of Remote Work
Whether it’s from a home office or within a coworking space, employees are able to work from outside of the corporate office’s four walls at any time. In fact, according to a survey of 18,000 professionals across 96 international companies, 70 percent of people work remote at least one day a week. This trend has afforded the flexibility employees need when they have a long commute or scheduling conflicts that require a remote option. It has also allowed companies to expand their recruiting capabilities. However, there are downsides to telecommuting that have caused some organizations to reevaluate remote working policies.
For large corporations especially, communication and collaboration can be difficult when some team members aren’t present in the office. A survey by Cyberlink reported that 41 percent of workers said misinterpreting electronic communications was a major concern of remote work. And, when key information and decisions get missed out on, productivity, morale, and profitability suffer.
Corporations like Yahoo, Bank of America, Aetna, and IBM have placed an emphasis on facetime and in-person teamwork by reducing or even terminating their telecommuting programs.
Off-site Workers, Online Risk
No matter where the office space is located or the devices being used to engage with work, the amount of data being transmitted across the web is overwhelming. From laptops to mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, and beyond, every connected device that people use to work presents a potential new vulnerability. And, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be more than three-times the global population by 2021.
Mobile devices and applications are a particular source of concern. Hackers often prey upon people who blindly trust the apps they download from the app stores, giving them access to PII and the ability to infiltrate the corporate networks. And, Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report found that threats from mobile devices are the hardest to defend against.
As a result, the volume and velocity of cyberattacks have spurred IT and InfoSec professionals to seek new ways to mitigate the risks that may expose sensitive corporate data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Our Chief Information Security Officer, Steve Turner, explains what steps employers can take to help avoid a data breach in his latest blog: 5 Training Keys for Cyberattack Defense to Help Protect Your Employees.
For additional information on risk management, here’s an insightful blog from our Chief Operating Officer, Angela Murphy: Everyone Benefits from Cybersecurity Safety in the Workplace.
Mitigate the Threat with ID Theft Protection for Your Employees
Not only are data breaches expensive, they are embarrassing and jeopardize the identity of employees, customers, and partners. It takes just two pieces of PII for fraudsters to commit synthetic identity theft – the fastest growing type of ID fraud. And, no organization can fully defend against cybercrime.
What they can do is be proactive about protecting their workforce with a high-value benefit that resonates with current and prospective employees. Identity theft protection is expected to be offered by 63 percent of employers by 2021.
I encourage you to try IdentityForce’s top-rated identity theft protection to learn more about how it can benefit your employees and ensure further protection of both confidential personal and business information. Get started with a Free Business Trial today.
Additionally, if you’d like to prepare now in case there is a future security incident within your organization, I recommend our Rapid Response Breach Program.