Industry News

Remote working, Coronavirus speeds up the revolution

To contain the spread of the Coronavirus, companies around the world have instituted what has become the largest “work from home” movement in history. While the adoption of remote working has steadily increased over the past couple years, an interesting by product of the Coronavirus is likely to be a significant increase in the adoption of remote working.

Remote working brings many benefits, studies by Harvard Business Review and Stanford University have shown increased productivity and reduced staff turnover amongst remote working staff. Additional benefits include companies being able to reduce office costs, these range from savings on rent to power savings and reduced coffee costs. There are also a number of environmental benefits.

Despite all these benefits there are however some potential downsides notably in relation to cyber risks.

“It’s not all doom and gloom on the cyber front though,” says iTOO product head for cyber insurance, Ryan van de Coolwijk. “With the increasing adoption of remote working, there has been a focus on developing technologies to facilitate remote working while also ensuring data security.”

These range from cloud-based services with baked in security and multi-factor authentication, to enhanced endpoint protection such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions which proactively monitor for malicious behavior on the device, and remote network connectivity via solutions such as virtual private networks (VPN).

A major factor in ensuring safer remote working does however hinge on the end-user and as with working from the office, having users remain vigilant is paramount to defending against falling victim to a cyber attack

Below follow some simple pointers to help keep you and your company safe while working remotely:

  1. Ensure that your Wi-Fi connection is secure.
    If you’re making use of your own home internet connections e.g. fibre lines, consult user guides and configure a secure password for your Wi-Fi network. Below is a brief guide on how to do this:

    • You need to access your router to change the password. The quickest way to access your router is through a web browser, e.g.: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome etc.
    • Most routers come with a manual specifying the IP address of the device allowing you to connect to it. Most routers use IP address: 10.0.0.2, 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, but your use manual should help guide you.
    • Browse to the correct IP address in your browser and enter the default router username and password (should you not have already changed this), these are typically:
    • Username: admin
      Password: admin or password
    • If these login details don’t work or you have forgotten what you changed your credentials to, resetting your router should reset the credentials to the above. Again, consult your user manual on how to reset your router, it generally requires holding in a reset button.
    • Once logged into your router, select Change Wireless Password or select Wireless settings, Setup or Wireless depending on your router type. Type in your new Network Key (new wireless password), select apply or save and then reconnect your devices using your new wireless password.
    • While you are on the interface for your router, maybe not a bad idea to change the default password from admin or password as may be relevant.Try and avoid making use of public Wi-Fi, particularly if you are not totally sure that you are connecting to a legitimate Wi-Fi connection. Another useful tip is to tell your device to forget those networks that you do not connect to on a regular basis.
  2. Ensure that your endpoint protection e.g. anti-virus is installed and fully updated.
  3. Ensure that security patches and updates are applied as soon as possible after release.
  4. Enable encryption on your endpoint as well as any storage devices being used.
  5. Make sure that you are using a secure connection to access your work environment e.g. VPN ideally with multi factor authentication.
  6. Lock your screen if you are working in a shared space and don’t leave your devices unattended
  7. Be vigilant and on the lookout for potential phishing and malicious emails.
  • Attackers are very quick to leverage major news stories such as Corona as a base for their attacks. If anything seems suspicious or too good to be true please be sceptical, rather safe than sorry as the saying goes.

Should the unforeseen occur and you do suffer a cyber incident, having a cyber insurance policy can assist in limiting the damages suffered both for your as the individual and for your company. From coverage for theft of funds for you to business interruption, cyber extortion, public relations and forensic investigation costs and liability cover for your company. Cyber insurance policies provide wide ranging insurance coverage for a multitude of cyber related perils.

As we fight against the spread of the Coronavirus and impact it continues to have on businesses around the world, remote working need not be a further woe. In fact, it has the ability to be the exact opposite and could result in increased productivity, higher morale and lower operational costs into the future.

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