Working from home is a win-win for employees and employers. It helps businesses cut costs, boosts employee autonomy and helps you to continue running your daily business affairs safely in the midst of the pandemic.
However, since your workers are no longer working within the security parameters of the company, the chances of security breaches can be high – unless you train your staff to stick to these security best practices for remote work:
Make user accounts secure
With everyone working remotely, it’s crucial to have each user account secured properly. For instance, long 12-character passwords with uppercase and lowercase alphabets as well as numbers and special characters, are far more difficult to guess.
More importantly, passwords must be unique to each user account, so that hackers do not have the luxury of using the same credentials to break into multiple accounts. Password managers like Keeper or LastPass can help you come up with good, hard-to-guess password combinations.
In addition, always make sure that MFA (multifactor authentication) is enabled for all accounts, to further make those accounts more secure.
Start using a VPN
Virtual private network software has become a critical tool for remote workers today because it helps them securely connect between devices and networks. Since the internet traffic that they are using to browse around is encrypted, your remote workers’ online activity is automatically concealed from prying eyes and hackers waiting to attack. It not only protects your workers’ privacy but also the sensitive company information they are working with.
Regular software patches
Do you know how easy it is for hackers to exploit a security vulnerability in order to break into company data files? This is why you should keep all company apps and software updated to the latest version, as they often contain security fixes.
In fact, many apps and company software have automatic updates enabled, so all you have to do is click or tap ‘yes’. Furthermore, patch management software helps you track patches applied on your workers’ devices and automatically distribute the latest updates all across your remote workers’ devices.
Firewalls and antivirus software
By default, firewalls should be enabled in your operating systems and business hardware. If you company workstations and employees’ workstations do not have built-in firewall protection, then a managed IT services provider can provide third-part firewalls – this prevents malware, spyware and other network threats from infecting your devices.
And, you should install antivirus software with the latest virus definitions on your main company systems, and ask your remote workers to do the same.
Keep home routers secure
Home Wi-Fi routers are not designed to be as secure as the ones you have within your organization. Ask each worker to change their router password to make it more difficult to guess, as hackers can easily break into a router once they know which model it is. Also, ensure the latest firmware is installed to eliminate security gaps.
Ideally, your router should have WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) encryption settings for optimal security – if not, then it’s time to upgrade.
Regularly back up data
Ensure all important files are backed up daily in your workers’ hard drive and in the company cloud. In case of a major data loss like a power outage or spy/ransomware attack, you’ll have access to the latest data.
Be wary of online scams
Perhaps one of the biggest threats to security for remote workers is online scams. It’s very easy to get enticed by phishing emails that offer free coronavirus test kits, for example, or free giveaways for a holiday trip – in exchange for personal information, that is.
Case in point: don’t open emails or messages that look suspicious. Things like unusual links and attachments, misspelled email addresses and grammatical mistakes within email messages all point to potential scams. Also, you should never give out sensitive information to an unknown caller, text message or email sender.
Security for remote working can certainly be a challenge, but if you follow the above security for remote working guidance, you can ensure that your workers continue to work safely and productively.