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What work from home means for IoT Security

With remote working becoming the new normal for a majority of employees globally, organizations are grappling with a new array of security challenges. Both enterprises and employees are scrambling to catch up and make sure everyone and everything is connected, often resulting in security becoming an afterthought.

Before the pandemic, the vast majority of workers were based at a physical location with robust security making it tough for hackers to breach the walls. However, the increase in remote work changes the playing field as security issues become more complex. In addition, the importance of security tends to be forgotten as everyone prioritizes business resiliency. Hackers are working overtime to exploit the inherent weaknesses presented as a result of the dramatic pivot to remote work.

With many employees working remotely and rushing to connect a multitude of devices and online SaaS services, this increases the number of vulnerabilities that corporations might be exposed to. These range from weak passwords on personal computers, poorly secured Wi-Fi or the family’s Alexa device passing along malware. Of course, the recent Zoombombing highlights the risks of rushing to adopt technologies without understanding their inherent security threats. It also underscores the fact that many of these connected services were not prepared for the massive surge in users. In the case of Zoom, this lack of preparedness has attracted the attention and concern of many authorities, including the FBI.

In these unprecedented times, companies must take a more proactive role in keeping people safe. Organizations need to help employees brush up on their digital hygiene and provide safety tips to keep cybercriminals at bay and businesses protected. This will help IT teams focus on cybersecurity efforts rather than firefighting remote work complications.

Some helpful tips for both IT departments and employees include:

  1. Carefully vet collaboration tools before connecting them to help mitigate security vulnerabilities
  2. Do not reuse or share passwords and understand the implications of this poor practice
  3. Deploy technology that automates the detection and prevention of compromised credentials
  4. Educate on home network risks and the need to make sure that every device and service, including those belonging to children, doesn’t open up the business to a host of security-related issues.
  5. Watch out for phishing scams as cybercriminals look to exploit the work from home movement. Skype, Slack and Zoom are starting to become popular phishing lures.

With remote work likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, the security concerns of connecting a wide array of IoT devices and smart products will continue to grow. Therefore, organizations need to decide what an acceptable tolerance level is between keeping the business running and minimizing friction without opening up the company to a host of security issues. This is a cost-benefit decision that every organization needs to now consider.

Connected systems are, without a doubt, helping enterprises cope with the dramatic shift to WFH; however, it can’t be done in isolation without thinking about the resulting security implications.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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