As many companies have discovered over the past couple of years, remote working presents myriad advantages, from lower overhead costs to happier, more productive employees. However, with these benefits come new cybersecurity risks.
As businesses continue to adapt to a new way of working, cybercriminals are there to take advantage of any weaknesses. To minimize damage to your business and maintain the competitive advantages of enabling remote work, you need to ensure your employees have the tools and knowledge necessary to protect their home networks.
Tips Employees Working Remotely Need to Know
Every unprotected endpoint is an open door for cyberattacks, so make sure to share these tips on how your employees can keep their information (and your business’s information) secure.
USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN)
Whether you’re connecting to the Wifi in a coffee shop, airport, or any other public WiFi network, a virtual private network is a useful tool for protecting sensitive data while working remotely. By establishing an encrypted connection, a VPN makes it much more difficult for others to spy on your internet traffic. Essentially, you’re able to use public networks as if they were private. However, it’s important to note that VPNs provide privacy, rather than total security, and they should be used in combination with other cybersecurity tools.
SECURE YOUR ROUTER
Just like you’d take precautions on your phone or computer, there are simple steps you can take to secure home routers.
Change the password: Rather than using the default password, create a complex and unique password that won’t be easy to guess.
Create a guest network: Many wireless routers allow you to set up a guest network so you don’t need to give out your private login credentials.
Turn on encryption: Most routers include an encryption option that can be turned on in the router’s settings.
USE A PASSWORD MANAGER
Strong passwords won’t do much good if you can’t remember them or if you keep reusing the same ones. A password manager keeps all of your passwords in one secure location, which means you’ll only need to commit one password to memory (until it’s time to change it). Using encryption algorithms, password managers also suggest much stronger passwords than those we tend to come up with on our own.
KEEP YOUR OPERATING SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE UP-TO-DATE
When you get a notification notifying you of an update, don’t ignore it. Regular system updates help secure your information by installing new security patches. Ideally, you’re able to switch on automatic updates, so there’s no risk of the device becoming out of date.
The same applies to any applications you’ve installed. Most applications will update automatically, but in any case, you should periodically check to make sure there isn’t a more modern, secure version of the application waiting to be installed.
HAVE A DESIGNATED WORK DEVICE
Whether you need to pay a bill, do a little online shopping, or get some work done, it may be tempting to just grab the nearest device, but this can put sensitive data at risk if one of your devices has been compromised. If possible, have a separate work device and personal device. In the case of a security breach, this will minimize the amount of sensitive information exposed.
How Can Employers Help Keep Systems Secure?
IMPLEMENT COMPANY-WIDE SECURITY TOOLS
You can talk all day about the advantages of investing in a VPN, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the employee to decide whether they will actually install one. Rather than taking any risks, consider offering organization-wide solutions, whether it’s a company VPN, password management, or antivirus software—or all three!
INVEST IN EMPLOYEE SECURITY AWARENESS TRAINING
Cybersecurity is complex, and it shouldn’t be up to your employees to learn the ins and outs on their own. In addition to the tools and tips listed above, your employees need thorough training on how to recognize malicious activity before it can do any damage. A strong training program covers key topics like phishing awareness, password security, and compliance, and should be held on a regular basis to keep pace with changing threats.
OPT FOR CLOUD COMPUTING
With cloud computing, your employees can do their job at any time from any place. What’s more, cloud applications are built with cybersecurity in mind. Cloud platforms, like Microsoft Sentinel, let administrators remotely configure security settings and control authorized users. A cloud-native security information event management (SIEM) system can further increase your security by giving you heightened visibility into risks and threats across your organization.
As world-leading cybersecurity service providers, we have the expertise to enable your remote workforce, empower the growth of your business, and do it all at a price that works for you. Contact us today to learn more about our customer-driven solutions.