Access and Feeds

Telework: The IT Risks of Staff Working from Home

By Dick Weisinger

Businesses across the United States are asking employees to work from home to mitigate the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

But this rapid scale up of remote workers is stressing company networks, especially at those businesses where workers seldom have worked remotely. Users working from home, especially those with their personal computers and networks may have weak passwords and poorly secured routers. The presence of malware and viruses should be a concern.

Colin Bastable, CEO at Lucy Security, told TechNewsWorld that “people working from home get easily distracted, especially if they are normally used to working in the office, and they will mix work with personal email and Web browsing. This increases the risks that they can introduce to their employers and colleagues by clicking on malware links — and over 90 percent of attacks are delivered by email. With disrupted management communications and fewer opportunities to check with the CEO and CFO, expect remote workers to fall victim to these attacks too.”

Last Thursday, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) released an advisory bulletin regarding telework computing. While governments and businesses have adviced employees to stay home and to take on telework to minimize face-to-face encounters because of the coronavirus, NIST counters that with their own recommendation that telework should be limited to as few teleworkers as possible to minimize security risks.

NIST warns that “Organizations should assume that malicious parties will gain control of telework client devices and attempt to recover sensitive data from them or leverage the devices to gain access to the enterprise network.”

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