The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ireland is posing a new challenge for businesses, namely, how do companies quickly mobilise a remote working solution to enable employees to work productively from home? Several companies have already asked their employees to work from home for short periods, and with further cases expected in Ireland, it Is likely that more companies will be forced to close their offices at times.

However, not all organisations are prepared for such a measure and many are now currently scrambling to quickly put a remote working solution in place. In the rush to do so, many may compromise on security and expose themselves to huge risks.

As companies flock to potentially unsecure work environments, hackers and cyber-criminals will see this as an opportune time to ramp up their level of attacks. Advanced methods like SMS phishing and login-screen phishing can target remote working devices and grant attackers access to company information.

Paul Conaty, Principal Consultant, CWSI, commented: “While organisations have been, to varying degrees, incorporating more flexible elements into the workplace, the outbreak of the coronavirus has pushed remote working into centre stage. The challenge for employers is to implement not only a productive work from home solution, but also a secure one. While mitigating against the risk of the coronavirus, organisations may be unwittingly exposing themselves to a host of very different kinds of viruses.


“Personal devices used to access company data often lack the levels of security that are in place on work devices behind the company firewall. Cyber-criminals will see the current situation as a huge opportunity to gain entry to company systems and it’s vital businesses review the security of their remote working environment before being forced to roll it out across the organisation.”


With this five-step contingency planning guide, organisations can quickly implement actionable steps to help secure their work from home policy.

  1. Map out your current remote working setup

Take stock of your infrastructure and map out every device that is used to connect to your network. Do employees use company or personal devices? What verification systems do you have in place. Get an overview of where you currently are before planning the next steps.

  1. Bolster security and monitoring of your environment

Many software licences and IT infrastructures that enable remote working come with security and monitoring measures as standard. Review your set-up and make sure these are enabled and kept up-to-date. Multifactor authentication for example ensures that the right individuals have access to the right resources at the right time and for the right reasons.

  1. Communicate your remote working policy to workers

Hold information sessions, send remote working guides via email and give updates on policy changes to all staff. Users should be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities and are more likely to accept privacy compromises or other measures if the reasons for these requirements are clearly communicated beforehand.

  1. Test the environment to ensure employees can work properly

Once a remote working solution is in place, carry out tests as soon as possible to ensure employees can carry out their work. If devices are locked down too severely, employees will seek free unsecure cloud services to bypass these lockdowns. Shadow IT is a huge security risk facing organisation so make sure your approved remote working solution works well.

  1. Support users and monitor systems on an ongoing basis

It’s inevitable there will be some issues when rolling out a working from home policy, so ensure your IT support team is available and equipped to help resolve problems. Monitor the network to remain vigilant against threats and learn more about how to improve remote performance. Proactively support your employees and keep your sensitive data secure and protected at all times.

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By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.