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Remote Working Digital Security: A Key HR Challenge

The widespread adoption of remote working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has opened a door to cyber-crime. Forward-thinking organisations are moving to close this door, but improvised remote working processes and the other challenges of the pandemic have hampered progress for many. HR departments hold the key to success.

How has the pandemic impacted digital security?

Cyber-security has long been an area of vulnerability for many organizations. In the years prior to the pandemic, large-scale data breaches were already a regular occurrence. Even under normal circumstances, remote working exacerbates this problem simply because it expands the need for rigorous cyber-security. It requires more devices, in more locations, sharing more information over more networks.

The specific circumstances of the pandemic have further exacerbated this challenge. Cyber-criminals are aware that many companies have been forced to improvise their remote working processes and practices, and they have found creative ways to exploit this vulnerability. For example, one widely-reported attack involved criminals posing as an IT consultancy to trick employees into granting them access to organisational systems.

What can HR departments do to combat risk?

Only a small part of the solution to digital security risk is technical. Secure remote infrastructure is vital to preventing hacking attacks, but even the soundest remote-access systems have a key vulnerability: their users.

By far the most effective way to reduce digital security risk is through policy and training. An effective remote working policy can eliminate many risks by normalising digital security best practice. Key points include:

  • Advising employees that family members should not be permitted to use company devices
  • Requiring that screen locks, passwords and where possible two-factor authentication are enabled on all work devices and systems
  • Making sure that employees never leave work devices unattended in public settings
  • Requiring employees to use centralised cloud-based storage instead of local storage or removable devices like USBs

Policies like this have more impact when they’re backed by purpose-built training, which emphasises the importance of adherence to all requirements. Training also has a role to play in tackling aspects of digital security risk which are harder to address through policy.

Where is training most effective in reducing risk?

Although cyber-criminals employ digital technology, their methods target very human vulnerabilities. Cyber-attacks typically use social engineering techniques to gain targets’ trust and exploit their anxieties.

For this reason, even the most comprehensive policy document can only be so effective. Employees are far better prepared for cyber-attack by training which gives them a sense of what to expect, and how it’s likely to affect them.

What is the most effective way to deliver digital security training?

Elearning provides training through a digital interface, which makes it an optimal way to deliver digital security training. It makes use of gamified interactivity, animated video, and other digital resources to replicate the remote working experience and prepare employees for the security challenges they might face.

At Real Projects, we’ve developed training courses in remote working digital security for organisations of every size, calibrated for employees at every level. Using an engaging variety of tools and formats, our courses deliver best practice across a range of topics from password hygiene to pandemic-related phishing scams. We can also help you to adapt your own training materials as elearning courses. To find out more, email us at hello@realprojects.co.uk or call us on 01603 273918

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