Endpoint user security should be a priority for all companies with remote employees. Home networks are particularly prone to endpoint vulnerabilities because they are rarely held to the same standards as business networks. With many hackers taking advantage of covid misinformation to trick employees, the risk for human error is higher than ever. And while working from home, employees may be less diligent about keeping up-to-date on phishing tactics and security protocol updates.
An “endpoint” is any device—including computers, cellphones, and servers—connected to the network. They have become a frequent target for malicious attacks because they tend to be the weakest links in these networks and can provide an entryway to data that is stored elsewhere in the network. For instance, a given employee may not store any sensitive information on their company laptop. But when hackers gain access to the employee’s login credentials to a customer database through a successful phishing email, they could be able to access that sensitive information just as easily as an authorized employee.
Your computer may already have its own firewall, but that does not necessarily mean you are protected. You should also have a hardware firewall, like Digital Agent’s Locknar, installed in your modem. These are a standard feature of business networks but as more people work from home, we expect it to become the norm for home offices as well.
Of course, firewalls can only block the traffic they are programmed to block. If a new threat emerges that your firewall is not configured to detect, then it is useless against that particular attack. In fact, if you are not actively updating your firewall or your firewall was never configured properly in the first place, your entire network could be at risk.
No one likes to think that they could fall victim to a scam artist. But phishing emails have become more and more sophisticated. They may appear to originate from someone you know in the company and even mention routine tasks you would only think an authorized employee would know about. This is why regular security awareness training is so important; your employees should instinctively verify the source of any unexpected email before opening its links, and that is a habit that takes practice. A lack of security awareness among employees can be one of a company’s biggest endpoint vulnerabilities.
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Many work-from-home employees will use home or even public WiFi to do their work. This poses a major security risk for your company. All WiFi networks, even home networks, are unsecure relative to an Ethernet connection. When you use WiFi, you are sending data through the air that can be intercepted and used against you. A VPN can help make WiFi safer, but it is prudent for companies to mandate or at least encourage a secure Ethernet connection in their WFH policies.
It’s easy to only realize you need anti-malware or antivirus software when it is too late. Malware can corrupt not only the point-of-entry device, but the entire network, if it is not properly identified and eliminated. Installing anti-malware software like Malwarebytes is your best insurance against an attack should your other precautions fail.
Websites and even many of the emails in your own inbox can be the source of a malicious attack. Known malicious websites and sources of spam emails should be blocked to prevent accidental link clicks or downloads that could harm your device and the rest of your network. Spam and website blockers are a fairly turnkey aspect of a comprehensive cybersecurity package.
These are just a few of the main endpoint vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit, enter your system, and steal sensitive data. No business is immune from the threat of a breach, no matter how low-risk you imagine your company to be; no business is “too small” to get hacked. To establish the most comprehensive endpoint defense for your business, consult with a Digital Agent cybersecurity expert.
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