Cyber Liability Risks for Work-from-Home Employees

Employees are already the weakest link when they’re in the office; the vast majority of cybersecurity breaches occur due to the mistakes or negligence of employees. So, what happens when they’re working from homeWorking from home can increase productivity and efficiency — as well as reducing costs. But it also introduces some cyber liability problems that do need to be addressed.

Employees may be sharing their computers and other devices.

If employees don’t have the right setup at home, it’s possible that they’re using communal, family devices. Because children are often going to school from home and spouses and partners could be working from home, everyone in a household could be using the same desktop or laptop. The best way for a company to avoid any issues is to designate specific work devices to employees — these devices should be under the control of the network administrator and there should be strict penalties for using these devices for personal things.

While employees may be careful about their data, if someone else is using their computer, they can’t really secure it; plus, it makes it more difficult to track breaches if and when they occur.

Employees may be using many devices and may not have all of them locked down.

An employee could be using a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, and tablet, all to complete their work. Many employees don’t even think twice about logging into their work email on all manner of devices. But that also means that if one of these devices is lost, stolen, or otherwise breached, all their information could be breached. Employees should have the devices that they’re using controlled and rather than downloading data to their device, they should only have access to a gateway or a portal.

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Employees will be sharing information over the internet more readily.

Employees get used to sending files through email, instant messenger, and more. And because they’re sharing information online, it’s more likely that information could get to somewhere it shouldn’t. They may upload privileged information to a Google Drive or they may just email it as an attachment. Employees need to follow strict processes when sharing data and should be reminded frequently why they need to be cautious when sharing information. Having a portal through which employees can talk (such as MS Teams or Slack) can also improve upon this and reduce the chances of cyber breach.

Employees may not be connecting over a secured connection.

If employees are connecting over unsecured WiFi, whether in their home or somewhere else (such as traveling or in a hotel), someone could be spying on their data. Employees should always connect to their work networks through a VPN, because this will encrypt their data in a way that the data won’t be viewable by anyone else.

Though there may be increased cyber liability risk (after all, employees are now interacting with the digital world more than ever before), the advantages often outweigh them. Working from home doesn’t just mean happier employees, it means more productive employees. And, deceptively, having employees in the home rather than the office can actually make them more accessible, as now everyone is connected through a digital world. Still, it’s important to consider cyber insurance needs and the potential need for more comprehensive cyber liability insurance.