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Why Working Abroad Means You Need to Up Your Cybersecurity

Why Working Abroad Means You Need to Up Your Cybersecurity

Thanks to the advancement of technology, more people can choose to work abroad than ever before as remote working becomes a part of the norm. It allows for employees to live in their ideal location but continue in their dream job from back home.

With an estimated 8.7 million Americans working overseas, it’s clear the market for working abroad is a huge one. But there are some cybersecurity concerns related to working abroad that means you need to boost your defenses. Let’s uncover why you need to up your cybersecurity game when working abroad.

Unprotected Internet Connections

There is a good chance that if you’re remote working abroad then you are in your home office. Of course, this is fine but it’s important to ensure you have a secure connection before accessing your work’s network.

Working from a sunny cafe by the beach might seem like a good idea but it poses several risks. Firstly, you may not be using a protected connection but there is also the risk of misplacing your work computer. Furthermore, accidentally leaving it behind could give someone access to important data they would otherwise have never been able to reach.

There is a way to bolster internet security using VPNs, which offer enhanced network security. They can limit the access employees have to data and apps based on their job roles, even extending to mobile devices like phones and tablets. Unauthorized access is denied as users are required to verify their credentials and associated IP addresses.

Cloud-Based Working

One of the biggest enablers of remote working is cloud-based storage which has transformed how many businesses operate. No longer do people need access to a central server connected by wires to their workstations.

Today, workers can access their data from around the world; morning, noon, and night. For instance, an international law firm can streamline its workflows and communications through cloud software.

Given the sensitive information law firms hold, its cloud-based software must offer adequate protection and secure document storage. Cloud computing needs perimeter firewall protection, intrusion detection and data encryption as a must.

Malware Attacks

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Believe it or not, there are hackers out there just itching to mine as much of your personal and company data that they can get their hands on and sell it on the dark web. The Dark Web Price Index has been tracking the hacking trade and has collected how much personal data is being sold for. 

The biggest seller is people’s debit card information which has an average sale price of $1,307. Given that corporate data has the potential to be vastly more valuable than personal information, it’s no wonder hackers try to infiltrate company networks.

How they get into networks varies but a lack of robust cybersecurity when working abroad can leave you vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks. Ransomware is as bad as it sounds, where businesses have their information stolen by hackers and are held to ransom with a price tag for its return.

But one simple protection method against ransomware is to regularly back up data so that someone getting a hold of it won’t grind your business to a halt. One of the most effective protection methods against malware attacks is to train staff how to recognize them. Regular training allows employees working abroad to stay vigilant and learn about the latest cyber threats facing your business.

Data Encryption

Companies with overseas employees must consider how data is encrypted when using cloud-based software and storage. Data encryption for cloud computing converts data from its original plain form text to an unreadable format that cannot be deciphered.

There are a few different types, but the best and most secure encryption is end-to-end which will encrypt your data before it is sent and when it is received. That stops it from being intercepted en route and being copied or stolen before it reaches its destination.

An additional step that further protects data when it is encrypted is an encryption key, which is only made available to authorized users. Without the key, that encrypted data will be useless to a hacker if they manage to obtain it.

Companies with employees based around the world ought to use end-to-end encrypted data to give them the best possible protection. Some cloud-based working solutions don’t offer this so it’s important to consider your options before choosing one.

Business Travel Increases the Risk

Perhaps it is part of your role to work abroad because your job sees you spanning multiple countries. Unfortunately, the reality of business travel is that it isn’t that safe for devices like phones and laptops. Even Bluetooth devices can be infiltrated.

It’s easy to take certain behaviors for granted when we work from the office, but the same protection levels don’t follow you and your devices out the door. One of the easiest targets for hackers is people shopping online and if you are doing so on an unfamiliar and possibly unsecured network you could be a prime target.

Leaving Bluetooth devices automatically searching for connections could see them hijacked by threat actors. These are cybercriminals who make a connection to a Bluetooth device and leverage it to their advantage until it is turned off.

Safe Browsing

Wi-Fi isn’t an inherent danger on its own but in another country, you may discover that communication on that network is monitored. This can put sensitive corporate data at risk.

One way to protect against such a threat is through a two-step authentication app for any important data. This requires a unique code on an independent app that is randomly generated every minute, making it next to impossible to copy.

Data Protection

Depending on where you work in the world you may find yourself needing to brush up on the data protection laws of your country of choice. For instance, if you live and work abroad in Europe then everything you do online must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Simply put, GDPR is a legal guideline that outlines what is and isn’t acceptable data to collect from individuals living in the European Union. Regardless of where a website may be based, if it attracts European visitors then it must comply with GDPR.

This is why you may have discovered access to US-based websites is blocked or restricted for overseas visitors. From a cybersecurity perspective, failing to protect the data of someone protected by GDPR brings repercussions. Amazon found that out first hand when it was handed a whopping $877 million fine due to an estimated lack of robust data collecting consent.

Author Bio

Mike James

Mike James, Independent Writer
I am a freelance writer specialising in property, investment, cybersecurity and finance. Originally from Redhill in England, I have been living and working in Europe for the last few years. I consider myself a digital nomad who enjoys sharing my knowledge with like-minded industry-professionals.
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