According to the most recent report published by International Workplace Group, 50% of employees globally are now working remotely for at least 2.5 days per week and 75% of people consider flexible working to be the new normal. But how is remote work affecting cybersecurity? Every 14 seconds, a business falls victim to ransomware. It’s clear that remote working is not going anywhere, and IT needs to secure this new reality.
Why is this happening?
The new remote work paradigm means two things: first, prioritizing work from home means introducing various tools and technologies to personal home systems, which then introduces the second consideration– security vulnerabilities. Personal machines might not be prepared to handle potential security threats. This has translated into understandable concerns for companies: 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. Identity is now the central control plane for security and the access point for employee data. With remote access, businesses should consider mandating two-factor authentication to verify access to systems and data. Organizations that have failed to build-in end to end security or are still using legacy identity systems are at risk.
In order to understand the why and begin to address these cyber-attacks, we need to understand some of the most common types of cyberattacks. Here are four of the most common:
Account Takeover via Phishing
There are various methods and techniques that hackers use to access account credentials – they have to recognize that identity is the new control plane for security in the remote world. However, by far the most common form of attack is phishing. These phishing emails range from mass-marketed and simple to more sophisticated and targeted techniques. Phishing emails accounted for 91% of all cyber-attacks that took place in 2017 and today account for more than 80% of all reported security incidents while demonstrating increasing sophistication.
According to IBM, 85% of attachments on spam emails have been designed to spread ransomware. The severity of these attacks is increasing with the average number of days a ransomware attack lasts to be 16.2 days as of January 2020 - up from 7.3 days in early 2019. We’ve also seen a rise in ransomware attacks overall with 62% of organizations victimized by ransomware in 2019 up from 56% in 2018.
In a cloud-first world, there are massive pools of data built out by employees, customers and competitors. This data is exceedingly valuable and presents a tempting target for attackers. In 2019, global cyber incident costs reached a record high, with an average cost of $3.92 million and the biggest breaches topping $42 million. Data breaches also exposed 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019. An average lifecycle of a breach increased to 314 days recently and the average time to identify a breach was 206 days in 2019.
Breach of Legacy Systems
Legacy systems can be a major risk factor. Outdated or unpatched systems increase the risk of compromised security which is why it is essential to keep your operating system up to date, properly patched with access management and risk mitigation controls to alleviate and avoid those potential attacks. With remote work, there’s less visibility into what systems employees are using day to day, compounding risk further.
How to Combat Potential Attacks
A secure identity is crucial for remote workers. It is important to lay out strict identity and authentication protocols to help facilitate your workers as well as keeping sensitive data and information secure.
Risk analysis of user activity and sign ins
To manage and mitigate organizational risks, an analysis into the sign-in activities of users helps in determining if the authentication request is authorized by the identity owner. Usually, activity outside of routine location on sign-in also qualifies as an indicator to identify and identity breach. Enabling single sign-on (SSO) will also allow the user to authenticate once for accessing multiple applications across devices.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA instantly doubles the security for users accounts. This greatly mitigates the risk for your organization against breaches due to lost or stolen credentials. By adding another layer of security and verification for your account, you are ensuring your accounts are 99.9% less likely to be compromised.
Data Protection - Microsoft 365 Backup
A shocking 95% of security breaches are attributed to human error. This calls for an even more urgent need to protect data while workers around the world have started working from home, without the conventional office environment and its heavily laid out IT infrastructure and security measures.
Rounding out IT’s backup and protection strategy with comprehensive Microsoft 365 backup is a must. Backupify for Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) is a one-stop solution for backup, be it entire mailboxes or individual files. From providing end to end protection and backup options to recovery from a ransomware attack, Backupify goes above and beyond the industry standards for ease of access, risk management, data protection and security, and backup and recovery solutions. See how simple it is to check backup off the list by requesting a free personalized demo.