The days when most people chose 9-to-5 jobs as the right career path for them are far behind us. Today, the popularity of remote workforce is on the rise. The numbers speak for themselves: 99% of people would like to get an opportunity to work at least some time in their career remotely and 74% of employees would prefer to choose a job that offers remote positions. With the outbreak of COVID-19, when most companies support the work-at-home initiative, remote work can become a new normal.
However, remote workforce management isn’t the only aspect that the organizations need to worry about; it’s also important to pay close attention to cybersecurity as a data breach can damage the reputation and cause financial losses. Plus, the remote work culture has extrapolated the data breach management budget by a staggering $137,000, as per IBM.
When working from home, most employees fail to adhere to cybersecurity standards and guidelines, making the system, data, information products, and every other organizational asset vulnerable to threats.
The proliferation of cyber-crimes is slowly but steadily impairing the remote workspace, as most employees find it hard to maintain the highest possible security standards. Working out of brick-and-mortar offices is all about using secured machines, patched collaborative software, and automated protective layers against DDoS, phishing, and any other cyber-attacks.
How to Approach Remote Cyber Security?
Before we move any further into this detailed discussion regarding airtight online security standards for the remote workforce, it is necessary to take a closer look at the inherent organizational approach towards the same. The first and foremost step, regardless of the nature of the organization, is to establish policies related to cybersecurity and cyber threats.
Employee Obligations vs. Company Obligations
Maintaining top-of-the-line cybersecurity standards is a responsibility that needs to be shared by the companies and employees alike. While the companies are primarily responsible for shelling out system updates, patches, secured, and SaaS-driven software modules like the invoice maker and spreadsheets, employees need to implement the same theme stat.
Although the policies are expected to work, no matter where your employees are, remote workers should emphasize strengthening the home network and using separate subnetworks for more sensitive discussions.
Whether you want to build a great small business team or manage a team of freelance remote workers, it’s important to keep remote working threats at bay. Now let’s take a look at top 7 underrated and easy cybersecurity tips.
1. Secure Your Devices
For remote employees, it can be hard to ensure that the work-centric devices are safe. Not only should employees analyze the working conditions, but they also need to keep the gadgets out of the malicious network. Most importantly, securing the machines, mostly laptops, and networks require a workforce to install the latest security patches when proposed by the concerned business.
A good way to adhere to this tip is by expecting threats and creating an operational telework policy. Most importantly, the OS in play needs to be upgraded as any form of redundancy can be exploited by the unscrupulous sources for accessing data and sensitive information.
Another line of defense is to consider using a VPN with high-end encryption standards and protocols, capable of keeping the network threats at bay. Last but not least, if employees believe that their devices are loaded with confidential organizational information, it is necessary to restrict usage only when connected to a secured sub-network.
Thus, it can be a good idea for organizations to create information products that contain all relevant information about device security and send them when employees move to remote working.
2. Create Strong Passwords
With the rise of data thefts and unwanted hacks, most people know about the importance of strong passwords. But not all people think about using various passwords on different devices. In fact, ¾ of Millennials claim using the same password for more than ten different devices, apps, and accounts. In terms of cybersecurity, secure passwords provide employees with essential protection from identity theft and data breach.
In other words, this tip might be considered an extension to gadget security. Regardless of the on-premise resources, cloud-centric managed services, or the typical SaaS software modules, setting a strong password is more like securing the premise with an additional line of defense.
In case an employee finds it hard to create a strong password, it’s important to help your remote workers connect with the organizational support or the IT team and provide employees with relevant information and strong password ideas.
3. Invest in Virus Protection Software
Endpoint security tools and top-of-the-line antivirus or antimalware tools work well, especially if an organization plans to take cyber threat proliferation seriously enough. Many attackers try injecting viruses or malware into the system, precisely gaining access or initiating DDoS attacks on systems and servers.
For instance, when organizations provide a total security plan, it can keep Chikdos Malware at bay, especially if the threat concerns MySQL servers. Similarly, endpoint solutions come in handy for keeping every gadget on the network safe against the threats. However, phishing attacks require specialized email gateways which are mostly provided by the company itself. If you have a great number of workers and you send bulk emails for your staff, these gateways are capable of keeping malicious emails, attachments, and links safe.
4. Use a Secure Connection
A secure connection is the most important aspect of cybersecurity compliance. In case employees don’t have the technical expertise to implement secured networks all by themselves, starting off with a VPN is a reliable option. However, encryption and decryption protocols and VPN keys need to be shared within the network for creating a collaborative working environment. Another way of securing the connection is by refraining from using free Wi-Fi access points and hotspots, in any circumstance.
Another nifty technique is to ensure that every gadget in the workspace inventory is accessible over a sub-network. A powerful router can help serve this purpose by offering several virtual networks and channels to choose from. As this is more of a technical step, connect with the IT team to get the requisite assistance or use trustworthy document management software where your IT department can send the right files to your remote workers without any thread.
Apart from that, it is advisable to shun public Wi-Fi networks, especially when remote workers do company work or use the office-specific gadget. Finally, a good way to secure the connection is by opting for additional layers of security, including authentication techniques. The likes of 2FA come in as utilitarian security enhancements, making it harder for hackers to access files and information.
5. Choose Trustworthy Collaboration Software
For most companies, it comes as a surprise that remote work can positively affect employee productivity. Since most organizations fear drop in productivity, they are more likely to tell their remote employees about the best productivity apps and choose collaborative software that allows employees, management trainees, and team members to work on the same project simultaneously.
While most businesses prefer using collaborative tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, some companies give new solutions a try. Thus, it’s important to choose trustworthy collaborative software for practicing safe, secure, and virtual associations.
One of the most important things is to check for terms, conditions, and permissions for understanding the nature of the accessed resources. Therefore, it is necessary to pair the trustworthiness of the collaborative tools with the highest form of network security standard.
Most importantly, even if employees and organizations zero in on select tools, apps, and resources for collaborating with the team members, it is necessary to keep installing updates, create unique IDs and passwords, lock meetings and interactions, and be careful with access permissions. To make your life easier, consider using Fleep.
6. Use a Remote Working eBook
Besides the mentioned technical strategies for strengthening the online exclusivity, relying on dependable resources for better understanding is equally important. To procure the latest information and stay updated with the changing times and threats, it is necessary to rely on a resourceful eBook.
As a rule of thumb, it is necessary to rely on an ebook with all the bases covered when cybersecurity standards and implementations are concerned. EBooks, newsletters, and webinars mostly serve as the cybersecurity training modules. What is more, it’s a good idea to build an internal knowledge base so that your employees can find answers to their questions fast. These resources can help employees become more vigilant and empower them to fix minor issues with ease.
Furthermore, a cybersecurity training regime should be made mandatory for the employees, especially when an IT firm is concerned. We need to understand that these cyber threats evolve with time and, therefore, employees must consider learning continuously and keep the skills and security standards updated at all times.
7. Avoid Sharing Personal Data
When people take their personal laptop and work from home, the line between professional and personal can blur, especially for newly remote workers. This means workers may still share personal information once their workday is over: from uploading social media posts to making payments online, people may share personal data without realizing it.
No matter how hard you try to secure your employees, a phishing email or link can find its way to reach your staff. Thus, your employees should meet data privacy standards and it’s important to explain that sharing personal details is a strict no-no. When the attackers get access to the personal details over a secured network, it becomes easier to breach, even the most airtight firewalls. Therefore, work emails, connections, and numbers should be separate to maintain anonymity.
Work from home has always been a forbidden fruit for the organizations in general. Despite the widespread reluctance, the COVID-19 era has made remote working a part of the new normal. This is why strategizing the perfect cybersecurity blueprint becomes necessary as cyber attacks have increased in number. Therefore, companies must secure every endpoint and fix every possible loose end by following the tips mentioned above, before adopting remote working on a larger scale.