How to stay cybersecure in co-working spaces

bird's eye view of 3 people co-working on the same table

Most businesses faced some serious disruption in 2020 and 2021. If you were one of those who suddenly had to institute distance working policies for your team, you aren’t alone.

You also aren’t alone if you’ve noticed that your cybersecurity hasn’t quite managed to keep up with the demands of your new setup.

From the 220% increase in phishing attacks and the more 12 000 scams that the American FBI was tracking in the summer of 2020 alone, it’s safe to say that cybercriminals have noticed too.

Co-working spaces, home working, and any situation where your IT “estate” is much more spread out than it used to be call for a serious re-evaluation of your cybersecurity practices if you don’t want to be vulnerable.

Companies like WeWork have become standard. Numerous other more local offerings in the co-working line become available every day. This means now is the time to act to make your business cybersecure if you haven’t done so already.

What to do if your team works from co-working spaces

1) Make sure they have secure wireless

Every co-working space will offer Wi-Fi. It’s a must to attract 99%+ of their clientele. But that’s not to say that co-working space operators know how to secure the Wi-Fi they provide.

Look at WeWork. The company was told that it had unsecured Wi-Fi back in 2015. What did they do? Nothing at all.

Four years later, thousands of their users – and co-workers of their users who had never even seen a WeWork building – had their financial records, job applications, bank details, and more compromised.

Ideally, you want your team to be using a co-working space that has a managed wireless service with enterprise-level security and real-time monitoring of visibility and threat analytics.

Otherwise, you might want to seriously consider getting them to work elsewhere.

2) Keep on top of your device management

Do you have a BYOD policy? Having Bring Your Own Device days (letting team members use their own laptops) without proper protections in place is something that many organisations quickly find cause to regret. Especially when it comes to co-working spaces.

The easiest and often best solution is to use an endpoint management system like Microsoft Endpoint Manager or EMS (Enterprise Mobility + Security, a bundle of four ideal Microsoft products). You should also have security checks running in the background.

As well as managing issued or personal endpoints that connect with the co-working network your team member is on, using a solution like this helps you with the rest of the vital device management you need when co-working spaces are involved. This includes:

  1. Identity security – instituting things like 2FA or MFA (two-factor or Multi-Factor Authentication) and dynamic access policies.
  2. Information security – using the built-in protections that come with software like that in the Microsoft EMS package, though there are alternatives.
  3. Cloud access security – protecting you when you use Software-as-a-Service model solutions.

3) Discuss real-world safety measures

Most co-working spaces are welcoming places. But they’re also environments where your team member can potentially expose your company’s private systems and ways of working to people not in your organisation.

This means your team members who use co-working spaces need to be aware of even the basics of physically protecting your IT systems. Things like:

  • Not leaving laptops unattended
  • Having automatic log-outs if the laptop is inactive
  • Using private rooms for sensitive meetings and discussions (even over Zoom or Teams)

It’s perhaps not the high-tech end of the cybersecurity spectrum. But a huge percentage of serious data breaches – somewhere around 80% or more – are caused by human error. Whether that’s through the social engineering techniques of phishing attacks, device theft, or other methods.

All in all, it’s vital that you add team cybersecurity training to the list of cybersecurity measures you should have in place. Especially when you know any members of your team like to stroll on over to their local co-working space.

Has COVID-19 led you to offer homeworking and co-working options for your team?

Let’s talk about it. Dial A Geek helps almost 1000 businesses near Bristol offer great flexibility to their teams – because they know they have full cybersecurity protection in place.

Set up a cost and commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today to discuss your distance working situation and the kind of threats you should be protected from. Click here to open his booking calendar.