Navigating the New Normal: Cybersecurity Best Practices for Thriving Remote Workforces

Embracing remote work and the significance of strong cybersecurity measures

As the global workforce transitions to remote work due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations face new cybersecurity challenges. According to a recent (Gartner, 2000) survey, 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work some of the time remotely, even after the pandemic ends. The rapid shift towards remote work has created opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit weaknesses in remote work setups, putting sensitive data and systems at risk. In this context, companies must adopt robust cybersecurity measures to protect their remote workforces and maintain a strong security posture. This article will outline best practices for ensuring cybersecurity in remote work environments and discuss strategies for building an organization’s security-aware culture.

A Closer Look at Remote Work Cybersecurity Risks

Remote work has expanded the attack surface for cybercriminals, increasing the likelihood of cyber attacks by making it easier for them to target a wide range of devices and networks. In 2020, the FBI reported a 300% surge in cybercrime complaints due to digital attacks and the shift to remote work (IBM Security, 2020). Cyber attackers exploit remote workers’ reliance on personal devices and home networks, which are often more vulnerable to cyber attacks than those in traditional office environments, resulting in a heightened risk of cyber attack occurrences.

Cybercriminals are also targeting remote workers with phishing attacks, ransomware, and other forms of social engineering. According to a study by security analysts Barracuda Networks, there was a 667% increase in spear-phishing attacks targeting remote workers between February and March 2020 ( Verizon, 2021). These targeted attacks exploit human vulnerabilities and trick remote employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software.

Building a Solid Cybersecurity Foundation for Remote Work


Ensuring Device and Network Security for Remote Workers

As organizations increasingly rely on cloud services for remote work, addressing cloud security risks with a strong focus on their cybersecurity practices is crucial. Organizations can enhance their overall cybersecurity stance by adopting cybersecurity best practices for cloud security, such as implementing rigorous access controls, proactively monitoring cloud environments for suspicious activity and malicious actors, and ensuring sensitive data stored in the cloud is encrypted.


Prioritizing Data Security and Privacy

Organizations must establish data classification and handling procedures in remote work environments to safeguard sensitive information. Key steps could include sorting data according to sensitivity levels and implementing suitable access controls and encryption measures.

Encryption is critical in securing data transmitted and stored in remote work environments. Organizations should implement robust encryption solutions, such as end-to-end communication and file storage encryption, to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, malicious hackers, and potential breaches.

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for organizations when working towards compliance with data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), especially in remote work settings. Essential actions may include revising privacy policies to emphasize cybersecurity, carrying out privacy impact assessments centered on cybersecurity, and offering remote employees extensive training on data privacy best practices, all to fortify a solid cybersecurity stance.


Reinforcing Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Strong password management policies and practices, including multifactor authentication and regular password audits, are critical to effective access management. Prioritizing access management measures reduces the risk of unauthorized access to systems and enhances overall application security and business continuity.

Multifactor authentication (MFA) adds a layer of security to user accounts by requiring multiple verification forms to gain access to sensitive systems and data. Organizations should implement MFA for remote workers and consider alternative forms of authentication, such as biometrics and hardware tokens, for authorized users to enhance security further.

Organizations should monitor and analyze user behavior in remote work environments to detect potential security threats. User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) tools can help organizations identify abnormal or suspicious behavior, enabling them to respond to potential insider threats more effectively.


Empowering Remote Workers with Security Awareness and Training

Tailoring security awareness training to address remote work’s distinct risks and challenges is essential. Key steps could include offering remote employees focused training on phishing attacks, secure communication, physical security, and data handling procedures.

Organizations can employ gamification techniques and incentives to encourage remote workers to adopt secure behaviors. For example, organizations could reward or recognize employees who complete security training or demonstrate secure behavior in their daily work.

Incident Response Planning and Execution for Remote Workforces

Organizations should modify their incident response plans to address remote work scenarios’ distinctive challenges. Key adaptations could include revising communication protocols, designating roles and responsibilities for remote workers, and devising procedures to coordinate incident response efforts among remote teams.

Coordinating incident response across remote teams can be challenging, but ensuring a swift and effective response to security incidents is crucial. Organizations should establish clear communication channels, protocols, and escalation procedures to facilitate collaboration and coordination among remote team members during an incident.

Proactive Monitoring and Assessment of Remote Work Security

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions can help organizations proactively monitor and assess remote work security events. SIEM tools collect and analyze data from various sources, such as network devices, servers, and applications, to detect potential threats and vulnerabilities in real time.

Threat intelligence is critical in safeguarding organizations against emerging cybersecurity breaches and risks. This invaluable resource equips organizations with in-depth knowledge of threat actors, attack trends, advanced persistent threats, malware attacks, and the ever-changing risk landscape. Organizations can better understand potential threats by incorporating threat intelligence into their cybersecurity strategies, identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, and devising comprehensive plans to protect their remote work environments (Ponemon Institute, 2021).

Recent statistics indicate that cyber threats malicious attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication, with ransomware attacks alone experiencing a 485% year-over-year increase in 2020 (Goup-IB, 2021). As organizations continue to rely on remote work, the need for actionable threat intelligence becomes even more crucial. A well-informed organization can proactively defend computer networks against common cyber threats and attacks, minimizing the potential for data breaches and other security incidents.

Numerous threat intelligence providers offer timely information and comprehensive analyses of potential cyber threats. Such threat detection providers include both commercial cyber defense vendors and government-supported organizations, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the United States and the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA, 2020) in Europe. By leveraging these resources, organizations can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and maintain strong cyber security and posture in an increasingly remote world.

Preparing for the Future: Evolving Cybersecurity Needs in Remote Work

Maximizing Cybersecurity with Security Solutions for Remote Work: As remote work becomes more prevalent, organizations must prioritize cybersecurity and adapt to new cyber threats. Staying informed about cybercriminals’ latest trends, technologies, and attack vectors is crucial. Regularly reviewing and updating security policies, procedures, computer systems, and critical infrastructure with security solutions can help organizations avoid evolving cybersecurity threats and secure their remote workforce.

In addition, adopting innovative security solutions, such as multifactor authentication, encryption, and zero-trust security frameworks, is essential to protect the remote workforce from cyber adversaries. Utilizing cutting-edge endpoint security tools and technology can proactively detect and respond to potential threats, providing comprehensive protection against emerging risks. Investing in employee training on mobile security solutions is equally important to ensure a secure remote work environment.

Organizations must consistently evaluate and enhance their cybersecurity measures in an increasingly remote world to sustain a robust security posture. Important steps could encompass frequently revising policies and procedures, investing in cutting-edge security tools and solutions, and cultivating a culture of security awareness and training for remote employees.


Navigating the new normal of remote work presents unique cybersecurity challenges for organizations. Organizations can thrive in this new environment by adopting best practices and a proactive approach to security while maintaining a strong security posture. Organizations can create a secure remote work environment to stay competitive and resilient in an increasingly remote world by addressing the risks, unknown threats, and challenges outlined in this article.