While companies may think their corporate computer systems are secured, threats could be closer to home—literally. The trend of employees logging into work from the comfort of their house is rapidly picking up at companies across the U.S. Almost 1 in 4 workers in the U.S. said they telecommute at least part of the week in 2014, according to an infographic by Intuit. With more devices connected to the Internet, companies should be aware of the threats that lurk as employees work remotely and should safeguard their systems accordingly.
Here are three reasons to improve security for telecommuting workers:
1. Internet of Things Devices Could Result in 'Cross Contamination'
A report by IT security firm Tripwire found less than half of IT professionals believed that Internet of Things devices were properly secured, Infosecurity Magazine reported. IoT technology found at offsite places could cross contaminate corporate networks, resulting in attacks on company infrastructure.
While there are plenty of advantages for companies to allow employees to work from home—including greater flexibility and increased productivity—firms should have security precautions in place for these workers to prevent data breaches.
2. Risk of Insider Threats Growing
Workers who telecommute could become insider threats to the organization as they could infiltrate systems using permissions already granted to them. The vast majority (93 percent) of IT professionals in the U.S. believe insider threats pose a risk to their organizations, according to a 2015 study by Vormetric.
Of these threats, 59 percent of respondents feel privileged users were more likely to be a security hazard at the company as they could access sensitive corporate or customer information. It could be difficult to detect initial wrongdoing if these users already had permissions to view confidential data.
3. Prevent Data Theft with Layered Protections
The study revealed IT decision makers had different responses to how they would protect their information, whether through encryption or another data protection method. Companies need to consider the level of risk associated with data breaches or cyberattacks that could jeopardize important information.
"The results indicate there is still disagreement about where corporate data which is most at risk actually resides," Vormetric CEO Alan Kessler said in a statement. "Our experience, observations and conversations with customers have taught us that even if the situation isn't entirely black and white, organizations' use of encryption, access controls and data access monitoring greatly reduce their risk and exposure."
The Vormetric study recommended companies use layered protection, such as encryption and restricting access to only trusted employees. Through following these procedures companies can help minimize insider threats and keep sensitive information secured.