The remote work question still lingers. Is it better to be in the office? Is it better to work from home? No one knows the true answer, so companies are making adjustments. That’s how hybrid work came about, where employees can work from home or the office.
But taking the company laptop and bringing it home or to a beach in Bali is a security threat. Hackers love remote workers because they’re the easiest to target. They connect to public hotspots, download games and shows on corporate laptops, and leak information. Remote workers are the perfect gateway to a company’s secrets.
That’s why remote workers need to become best friends with VPNs. Virtual private networks encrypt all communications from devices and mask IP addresses. Both of these things enhance cybersecurity, and here are three major benefits. Read on to learn the importance of VPNs for hybrid workforces.
Public Wi-Fi Is No Longer Dangerous
If you’re a small restaurant owner in Paris and know that loads of tourists will stroll nearby, you’ll make your internet free. Everyone who passes by will stop to get a drink or a warm meal while they talk to their friends and family. Sometimes, remote workers will come in and stay for the entire day. It’s an easy marketing win.
This is the mindset that loads of coffee shops and hotels have. Airports, museums, and landmark locations have free Wi-Fi, too, because it’s easier to make it free than to put stickers with the password written everywhere. But getting something for free comes with a price.
Hackers can disguise themselves as these businesses or connect to the network and wait for unsuspecting victims. If you use a device without a VPN, they can launch a MITM attack and control your device.
In some cases, hackers can plant malware on your computer if you’ve enabled file-sharing. A VPN for hybrid workers is a must because most people are either negligent or unaware that public networks are a threat to cybersecurity.
You Can Work From Home Carefree
The hybrid infrastructure is a gold rush for cyber attackers. Instead of trying to break into secure office networks, everyone took the devices out. Many people have IoT devices at home. It can be a printer, a camera, a smart lock, or a smart garage door. These devices aren’t protected as they should be. For example, one experiment by the NCC Group and Global Cyber Alliance checked to see how many times a smart device would be attacked. They expected a large number, but they didn’t expect close to 13000 attacks in a week. The main culprit in their experiment was a printer.
With a VPN, however, you can protect the main network, and every other device would be secure too. Or, you can install the software on every phone, laptop, and computer in the house. That way, you’re in safe mode. The virtual private network will keep your personal and professional data out of the hands of cybercriminals.
No Risk For The Company
Most companies don’t have a cybersecurity protocol. Instead, they just hope for the best and suppose their data is protected. But giving your employee a work laptop to carry home is an inherent risk for the company if they don’t have a VPN and an antivirus.
So many remote workers use their company laptops to download games, personal files, or TV shows. When employees use corporate computers for entertainment, hackers rub their hands. That’s because hackers know it’s going to be an easy day in the office for them.
When a new episode drops or a movie hits the theaters, users download torrents. Unsurprisingly, that’s the best way to plant Trojan viruses, keyloggers, backdoors, and spyware. When such malware gets onto a corporate computer, the entire company becomes exposed.
In such cases, the VPN secures the connection, but the malware passes through security defenses. Employees need an antivirus to protect the device and block viruses.
What Should Hybrid Workers Watch Out For?
The biggest threat to personal and corporate devices comes disguised as something normal. A phishing email.
Often, hackers will try to breach a company by targeting employees with phishing emails. That ranges anywhere from sending discount codes, fake urgency emails, or requests for money pretending to be the CEO.
As a general rule, never click on emails when you haven’t asked the person sending it whether the link is safe. The same thing applies to email attachments. Never download files without asking whether they’re secure. Hackers know how to plant viruses in pretty much every file. You might think HR mistakenly sent you the pay report for this year. That could be a hacker in disguise because they know you’ll open it.