Top Tips and Advice for Staying Safe Online in a Work-from-Home World
- by Brittany Day
Businesses are relying more heavily on cloud email than ever in order to operate in this challenging remote environment, and are frequently sacrificing the security of their users, their data and their reputation by failing to fortify cloud email with critical supplementary protection. In this WFH (work-from-home) world, many organizations have hurriedly migrated to vulnerable cloud platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace to accomodate remote workers.
The static, single-layered email security defenses built into Microsoft 365 and Workspace are unable to protect against today's sophisticated attacks like targeted spear phishing and ransomware, and there are no preventative measures in place to safeguard key assets against zero-day attacks. Rushed deployments frequently lead to misconfiguration of cloud email, leaving users even more susceptible in these platforms. Attackers have taken note of this trend, and are capitalizing on inadequately secured cloud email to steal credentials and compromise accounts. Despite existing protection, 40% of Microsoft 365 users have experienced credential theft nevertheless.
To help your business safely and successfully adapt and adjust to this heightened digital threat environment, we'll examine some of the main risks you face as a cloud email user, and offer our top tips and advice for securely navigating this WFH world.
What Are My Risks as a Cloud Email User?
Understanding the magnified digital risk that you face in this challenging, transitional time is critical in staying safe while working remotely. Cloud email users face a plethora of threats on a daily basis that they may not be aware of. These “hidden dangers” include:
- Phishing & Malware: Cyber criminals are taking advantage of remote workers’ increased dependence on email and distracted behavior while working from home, and are launching sophisticated phishing attacks targeting cloud email users. These convincing, timely scams employ deceptive social engineering tactics designed to manipulate psychology, and many of the phishing emails used in these attack campaigns contain dangerous malware designed to infect and destroy users’ computers.
- Insecure networks: This increasingly digital modern society has introduced an array of challenges that businesses are struggling to meet, such as undersized VPN infrastructure, insufficient bandwidth and limited availability of managed devices for employees to take home - and network security has suffered as a result. Incidents involving insecure configurations of services and firewalls have increased, as administrators are taking shortcuts to enable remote access.
- Microsoft 365 and Workspace security shortcomings: The default security provided in Microsoft 365 and Worksapce is glaringly inadequate, leaving remote workers vulnerable to credential phishing and other advanced exploits. According to the FBI, “Thirty percent of phishing attacks make it through existing systems and are opened by target users.” It is no surprise that 92 percent of companies have at least one credential that’s been compromised. And cloud email risk is now greater than ever - the United States Department of Homeland Security has warned that rushed remote Microsoft 365 deployments may lead to overlooked critical security configurations.
- Microsoft 365 and Workspace vulnerabilities: In addition to the insufficient default protection provided in Microsoft 365 and Workspace, vulnerabilities are frequently discovered in these cloud platform themselves. Microsoft has launched a bug bounty program to help identify vulnerabilities in its immensely popular Microsoft 365 platform. While this program builds some degree of security into Microsoft 365, it also confirms the serious ongoing risk that vulnerabilities pose to Microsoft 365 users.
Tips & Advice for Staying Safe While Working Remotely
In this tumultuous time, we want to help you avoid the dangers associated with increased cloud email use. Here are a few tips and best practices to help keep you and your company secure online:
- Watch for phishing, ransomware and other email-borne attacks.
- Don’t rely on endpoint security alone - the endpoint is the last line of defense, and if something goes wrong, it provides malicious hackers with easy access to your system.
- You should be the only user to access your home endpoint. When your home PC connects to your company’s network, it becomes one of the network’s various endpoints. Use a strong password in your user account in your operating system and, if you share your PC, make sure that each user has his or her own account in your operating system.
- Use a VPN to encrypt data between you and your server. When selecting a VPN, watch for pitfalls such as free VPNs which often carry inherent security flaws and privacy issues.
- Avoid insecure networks.
- Ensure that your operating system and all applications are updated - remember that your operating system and applications are only as secure as their latest security patches.
- Be wary of emails from personal email addresses.
- Use email authentication protocols to confirm the legitimacy of messages you receive. Sender authentication protocols help prevent spoofing, business email compromise (BEC) and other dangerous exploits.
- Most importantly: Implement proactive, multi-layered supplementary cloud email protection that seamlessly complements default security measure with critical additional layers of defenses. Defense-in-depth is crucial in fortifying cloud email against today’s advanced threats.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security: Real-Time Protection Against Sophisticated & Emerging Threats
Staying safe online may seem challenging and overwhelming in this WFH world. Ninety-three percent of organizations are moderately to extremely concerned about cloud security. The good news is that choosing the right solution can greatly simplify securing cloud email, offering businesses’ invaluable peace-of-mind in this stressful time. Implementing a fully-managed cloud email security solution that seamlessly integrates with organizations’ existing email infrastructure, fortifying cloud email with critical additional layers of real-time defenses, is the most effective way for businesses to protect against persitent and emerging threats.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security is a comprehensive, fully-managed solution that provides multiple layers of real-time protection - safeguarding remote workers, securing sensitive data, and ensuring business continuity and maximum productivity.
Want to learn more about how to prevent attacks in Microsoft 365? If so, be sure to check out our free Microsoft 365 protection guide. For more advice on how to stay safe online while working remotely, subscribe to our weekly Behind the Shield newsletter.
We’re here to help you successfully navigate 2021 and plan for the future, and are currently offering a free demo to help you understand how our EnGarde Cloud Email Security could improve your business's security and success. Schedule a Demo Now>
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