In the past two months, businesses across the country (and around the world) have shifted to a primarily remote-based model. 

That means millions of workers are communicating and collaborating via video conferencing software, leveraging tools like remote desktop software to solve IT issues, and relying on video streaming for live events.

But while virtual technologies are keeping organizations afloat while everyone works from home, these conveniences also present plenty of dangers.

Here’s how the risks of video conferencing, remote access software, and streaming can jeopardize your business, and what you can do to about it:

Video Conferencing

Usage of video conferencing platforms has skyrocketed since COVID-19 first took hold earlier this year. In fact, Zoom’s daily active users ballooned from 10 million to more than 200 million in just three months, according to data from Venture Beat.

Companies rely on Zoom, as well as Google Hangouts, WebEx Meetings, Microsoft Teams, and others, to empower team communication. But the recent explosion in video conferencing could give rise to several privacy and security issues if you and your team don’t take the necessary precautions.

The risks of video conferencing often arise when companies quickly implement this tech without properly training employees on security features. For example, if users don’t make meetings private or use public links, hackers can join your meetings and access sensitive information or share malicious links and files. Additionally, malware could allow hackers to record meetings without authorization

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Remote Access

Remote access software, which allows an authorized user to view and/or control another computer from anywhere in the world, is a tool IT teams know and love. For years, IT pros have relied on remote access to solve users’ problems without having to boot them out of their seats (or even sit in the same room). And, right now, with your workforce hunkered down in their homes, it’s one of the only ways IT can fix problems, manage upgrades, and more.

Now, imagine if a cybercriminal had the same level of access as your top tier IT personnel. Pretty scary, right?

One of the most significant risks of remote access software (especially right now) is hackers exploiting vulnerabilities and gaining access — which happens quite easily under the right circumstances. Say, for example, if an employee hasn’t updated their laptop to the latest antivirus software, or switches to a personal computer that doesn’t have the right protections in place and has been infected with malware.

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Streaming

With most live events canceled or postponed, many organizations are increasing usage of video streaming for both internal and external live events — like webinars. 

Unlike video conferencing, which is more collaborative, streaming is usually one-directional. (For example, your CEO may live stream an all-hands meeting with your company.) But the risks of video conferencing and streaming are similar.

For example, hackers can use public links to access your live stream and wreak havoc by posting spammy messages, hate speech, and more in the live chat. They can also screen-grab sensitive company information you might be sharing, and either sell this information or use it to gain access to your network.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

How Can You Reduce Your Risks?

Let’s be real: despite the security challenges these solutions create, you can’t simply not use them. (After all, if you gave up every technology with a security risk, you’d be living in the Dark Ages.)

But that doesn’t mean you have to remain a sitting duck, either.

Here are a few steps you can take to mitigate your risk:

  • Educate your employees
    Ensure your workforce is aware of these dangers, teach them how to help keep your company safe — and hold them accountable when they ignore best practices.
  • Use a VPN
    Require employees to use a VPN. Most (if not all) or your workforce is currently using their home WiFi connections, and many of them probably aren’t adequately securing those connections.
  • Use two-factor authentication
    Whenever possible, always set up two-factor authentication for all services, including video conferencing, remote access, and streaming.
  • Crackdown on rogue IT
    Remind employees not to download any software or use any hardware that hasn’t been authorized by your IT team.
  • Leverage threat intelligence
    Use actionable threat intelligence to detect whether any services you use have been hacked, or if your digital identities have been compromised. (The best services will also assist you in recovering from a hack, should you become a victim.)

Photo by Petter Lagson on Unsplash

We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, but one thing is for sure: an uptick in remote work will be part of the “new normal” even long after the virus tapers off. By protecting your organization today, you’ll be well-prepared no matter what the future of work holds in store.

Interested in learning more about what threat intelligence can do for you? Request a demo now!

 

Featured image by Bruce Mars.