Many employees at businesses worldwide have been forced to work from home because of COVID-19 related social distancing mandates. The security of employee home networks, and of the devices connected to them, are becoming increasingly important considerations for organizations that need to continue to support a large remote workforce for the foreseeable future.
Some one-in-four US organizations now plan on moving at least 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions post-pandemic, a new Gartner survey of 316 CFOs and finance leaders showed. Seventy-four percent plan to do the same with about 5% of their workforce as part of cost-cutting measures. Many have deferred on-premises technology spending and are focusing instead on providing company-issued equipment to work-from-home employees.
The trend heightens the need for organizations to pay more attention to the security of home networks and of the smart-home products and other devices connected to them, analysts say. Home routers, printers, security systems, DVRs, gaming consoles and other smart devices can significantly change the threat model for the corporate network for the following reasons.
More malware infections
A recent study by BitSight found home networks were more than seven times likely than an office network to have five or more types of distinct malware. Twenty-five percent of smart-home products, PCs, printers, cameras and other devices on home networks were directly accessible over the internet; 45% of companies had a device accessing its network from a home network with malware on it.