Remote work inflicts cybersecurity concerns among Singaporeans

Remote work inflicts cybersecurity concerns among Singaporeans. Source: Shutterstock

Cybersecurity is the worry for remote-working Singapore

For years, companies have been gravitating towards new policies on the acceptance of remote employees. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic this year, many businesses realize that they may no longer have a choice.

There are many challenges in providing a business infrastructure that can support remote workers. Cybersecurity is, of course, top of that list. While many large tech employers such as Google and Amazon are already prepared for the needs of a remote workforce, for others, the wide-scale adoption of remote working hasn’t been quite so painless. 

In fact, according to a study commissioned by AT&T, which polled 500 IT decision-makers across the three Asia-Pacific markets, Singaporeans’ readiness to support a remote workplace had left 58% of respondents in the city-state concerned they were more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Even 12% of senior managers felt their organizations were not sufficiently prepared to manage a workforce that was shifting from the office to home. 

Some 97% of Singapore businesses in the study currently have employees who worked from home. This figure was higher than its counterparts in Australia and Hong Kong. And 44% in Singapore had remote staff who were accessing corporate networks and data from personal devices, which was higher than the regional average of 35%. 

What were respondents most concerned about?

  • 39% pointed to Wi-Fi networks as the biggest security concern
  • 38% cited cloud storage as a worry
  • 36% had security concerns about email
  • 34% were anxious about new technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things
  • 32% highlighted remote devices as a security risk
  • 31% pointed to video conferencing tools

Over 54% in Singapore believed organizations should share information about the nature and frequency of attacks to encourage their staff to be more mindful about cybersecurity, in order to mitigate security risks. Employees also should be aware of the business consequences of cyber-attacks. 

More than half surveyed (52%) in Singapore called for more training, while 46% said employees should be made aware of news reports to highlight the impact on businesses. 

Tips to improve cybersecurity amidst remote working

Cybersecurity Training

The importance of remote working policies is undeniable, and formulating, explaining, and enforcing hardline policies is an effective measure of protection. In order to implement these practices in an appropriate manner, properly training the employees is unequivocally important. Employees tend to believe that the IT department can fix everything. However, in this pandemic, we are often more reliant on ourselves to fix the problem. 

Making cybersecurity training an ongoing procedure is highly important and it should be mandatory for everyone. Training should continue throughout an employee’s tenure with required video courses and assessments. A cyberattack can take place at any moment, and new employees are the most likely to fall for one of these schemes. 

Use a VPN

It is commonly known that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be a great encryption tool for organizations to keep their security needs in check. By using a VPN, one can get a secure connection with the computer network of the respective organization. 

Many are aware that using a VPN will bypass geographic restrictions on streaming sites and other location-specific content, but it is important to note that a VPN improves online privacy. A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic, making it unreadable to anyone who intercepts it. Therefore, making sure employees exclusively use an organization’s own VPN when working and when accessing company information systems remotely is a simple but effective measure. 

Two or multi-factor authentication

Of course, passwords are no longer sufficient for keeping your data safe. Given the huge increase in cyber attacks over the past several months, an additional layer of security is necessary to keep your accounts as well as information safe from unauthorized entities. Hackers are much less likely to gain access to your accounts with the use of two- or multi-factor authentication.

The extra step could be an email or text message confirmation, or a biometric method such as facial recognition or a fingerprint scan.