Blog Post 08/09/2023
Written by Benjamin
October 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Cyber Security Awareness Month, which has grown in importance in recent years. In an increasingly digital world, IT security challenges are more diverse than ever. This is one of the reasons why a new data protection law will come into force in Switzerland on September 1, 2023, the main objective of which is to bring the current Data Protection Act (DPA) up to the level of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Stricter sanctions, extended information requirements and the obligation to create a processing directory have been introduced. This serves to protect Switzerland as a business location as well as the data security of private individuals and companies. Especially in connection with home offices, companies and employees must ensure that they can work securely outside the company network. The steps outlined below can significantly improve IT security in the home office.
In recent years, the demand for home offices has increased dramatically due to events such as the Corona pandemic. More and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home to increase flexibility and efficiency. However, IT security must not be neglected when implementing the home office concept. Working outside the corporate network and in insecure wireless environments can be risky.
One of the key issues related to IT security in the home office is the use of wireless LANs. Employees who work from home often rely on public or private WiFi networks. It is important for companies to establish clear guidelines for the use of WLAN connections. Public WiFi hotspots, such as those found in coffee shops, airports, or hotels, can be insecure and have potential security vulnerabilities. These networks are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker can intercept traffic between an employee’s device and the Internet and potentially steal sensitive information.
To minimize these risks, employees should be instructed to use public Wi-Fi networks with caution. They should refrain from transmitting sensitive data or use alternative secure options, such as cellular data connections. In addition, employees should be reminded to regularly update their devices and install security patches to close vulnerabilities and reduce the attack surface.
For those who want additional protection, using VPNs is an effective way to ensure the security of data transmissions in the home office. A VPN encrypts all traffic between the employee’s endpoint and the corporate network, protecting data from unauthorized access. Where appropriate, organizations can encourage employees to use VPNs and provide them with an appropriate VPN solution.
By establishing clear policies for WLAN use, educating employees about the risks of insecure networks, and encouraging the use of VPNs, companies can help improve IT security in the home office and protect sensitive corporate data.
When it comes to ensuring IT security in the home office, expatriate employees pose unique challenges. There are both legal and technical issues to consider. Data protection regulations and network standards may vary from country to country, making it difficult to protect sensitive data. To address this issue, companies should establish clear policies for overseas IT deployments. These policies must consider the specific requirements of each country and provide employees with clear guidelines on how to handle sensitive data.
One possible solution is to use specialized technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructures. With these solutions, employees can securely access corporate data without it being stored locally on their devices. This minimizes the risk of data leakage or unauthorized access. In addition, virtual desktop infrastructures enable centralized control and monitoring of IT systems, further enhancing security.
To ensure the security of employees’ data abroad, companies need to understand the legal and technical requirements of each country and take appropriate measures. This is the only way to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data across borders.
While working from home, employees may be connected to insecure networks that are potential attack vectors. Companies should educate employees about the risks of insecure connections and give them clear instructions on how to secure their home network. This includes things like using strong passwords, updating router firmware, and securing IoT devices.
The growing use of cloud services in the home office requires special attention to security. Businesses should be careful to choose trusted cloud providers that implement strong security measures. Encrypting the transmission and storage of data in the cloud and regularly reviewing access rights are other important steps to ensure cloud security.
Another important consideration is the protection of personal information. Companies should inform their employees about privacy policies and ensure that they are followed. This includes preventing third parties from accessing company data and complying with applicable data protection laws.
Implementing the home office concept undoubtedly brings benefits, but it also presents IT security challenges. Companies and employees should take these challenges seriously and take appropriate measures to ensure the security of data and systems. Through clear policies, employee training and the use of appropriate security technologies, companies can successfully implement home working from an IT security perspective and reap the full benefits of flexible working. In addition, the new Data Protection Act and Cyber Security Awareness Month underline the awareness of these issues in business and politics.