Work-from-home dilemma: Switching off, network security hound remote work employees

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    JEM E., works from her home in the Southern Tagalog region. Unlike when working behind the desk at the agency she is employed in, her office days does not seem to begin or end in the now normal work-from-home set up.

    “In my head, there’s no excuse to “turn off” or take a break because we are just staying at home and there’s no other place to go. It’s like all of a sudden, we are and should be available all the time, working from home,” Jem explains.

    The same is true to James, who handles customer services for a U.S. automotive warranty processing center. He works from home 2 weeks straight then reports for work for another 2 weeks. Though his job technically follows a rigid 9 to 5 schedule, he finds himself overextending—covering the bases for colleagues for an additional two to three hours until they arrive at their BGC call center. When finally wrapping up and going to rest, he finds it hard to settle down.

    “It’s so difficult to switch off!” he complains as he also explains how BYOD (bring your own device) has got him jittery knowing that it could be a security breach.

    Using her phone as the only link to her job, Cochise G., claims that the workload is heavier now that as she is on 100 percent WFH. It has become even more challenging to balance her professional life and personal life, because the current remote work set-up has interfered with way she “does her business.”

    “These days there are so many meetings. I suddenly miss the traffic and sleeping in the shuttle van going home. That’s about 2 hours of disconnection from office work,” Cochise said adding that the other thing she is worried more about is the security of Internet connections shared with others.

    A study called “More connected than ever before: how we build our digital comfort zones” confirms these apprehension of those who work from home. The study found out that 46 percent of respondents from Southeast Asia (SEA) find it harder to switch off after work than when they had to travel to their physical offices. This is four notches higher than the global result of 42 percent. Sixty two percent disclosed their unease towards the increasing amount of meetings taking place online.

    Conducted by the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky among 760 interviewees from SEA last May, the survey also unmasked the worries of remote employees in the time of pandemic where majority of the offices remain closed due to physical restrictions.

    “The current remote work set-up is here to stay. For employees’ mental wellness, it is important to create a conducive environment and work only during office hours. For enterprises, incidents such as the Wannacry attack and the Bangladesh Bank Heist should remain as reminders that staff can be an attack vector exploited through old but still effective social engineering tricks,” Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky commented.

    The biggest angst of remote working employees center on online security, which was triggered by two factors.

    First, due to the nature of the confidential work conducted from home, 62 percent fear a breach and losing data as a result of this. This is 13 points higher than the global result which is only 49 percent.

    Second, WFH employees are concerned about the security of their home connection.  Some 57 percent say their home technology is not as good or secure. This is nine notches higher that the world’s view at 48 percent. These respondents expressed their worry that using their own computers may risk the safety of their work data.

    “Majority of our survey respondents from the region are working from home during this period where lockdown measures are still in place because of the pandemic. It is understandable and a welcome progress that a lot of them are more concerned about their online security given that our previous research showed 52 percent of businesses agreed that employees are security’s weakest link,” Yeo adds.

    There are bright spots, though, as 62 percent of the surveyed individuals from SEA professed that working from home has made them more aware of their digital security and 56 percent noted that their employers have provided strict instructions about protecting confidential work information online.

    However, there are still over 4-in-10 who shrug off security and assume that everything is protected and safe. Almost half (42 percent) also confessed that they share Internet connections with other people they live with in shared accommodation and are not sure about the security and safety of their devices online because of lack of knowledge or skill to do it.

    Yeo

    Kaspersky Adaptive Online Training (KAOT) is a unique solution among security awareness training courses, combining content based on the company’s 20+ years’ experience in cybersecurity and advanced learning and development methodology developed by Area9 Lyceum on Rhapsode, the world’s first four-dimensional adaptive learning platform.

    Grounded in an innovative adaptive learning methodology, the cognitive-driven approach contributes to a personalized learning experience that takes into account the abilities and needs of each and every learner.

    “Businesses should now look into training technology that applies AI to the responses from the trainees and adapt by challenging them with appropriate level of training and reinforcement, rather than using the same course material across everyone in a dull way,” Yeo concludes.

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