It is well known that remote working is fast becoming the norm in our society, and both businesses and employees can benefit from the change. Working from home not only enables people to pursue a healthier work-life balance thanks to a more flexible schedule but can also work wonders for productivity and reduces the cost and stress of commuting. For employers, being able to hire remote workers no matter their location gives them access to a much wider pool of talent. However, enabling teams to work remotely can expose businesses to a wide range of issues, and one of the most concerning is security.
This guide will look at how you can ensure your remote staff are protecting themselves and your business.
- Give employees VPN access and anti-virus protection
Your employees need to have access to a virtual private network or VPN. This adds an extra layer of protection between your employees’ external devices and your system, ensuring that that user’s location, IP address, and any data being sent or received is encrypted. Every device should also have anti-virus protection to reduce the risk of malware, phishing attacks, and viruses.
- Run regular password audits
Your employees need to understand the importance of setting complex passwords and, ideally, using multi-factor authentication. Passwords that can be guessed easily will place your business at risk. It is also best practice to run password audits, to check that staff are updating passwords regularly, and to ensure that any shared password documents are securely stored. Passwords should be changed regularly and not related to the employee’s personal information.
- Limit employee access
It is best to limit employee access so that they can only access the data they need in order to perform their job. Giving unnecessary people access to all your information opens the business to unnecessary risk.
- Use secure communication tools
Communication is key when a team is working remotely, so you will need to invest in communication and collaboration software. A popular choice is Slack, but there are plenty of options out there that might be more suitable for your sector or team, so take some time to look into a more secure Slack alternative. All the software that you use needs to be updated to the latest available version as often as possible, as these updates often include improved security.
- Educate your staff about cyber threats
One of the best defenses you have against a cyber attack is your team because if they can recognize the early signs of an attack or suspicious activity, the damage can be prevented or minimized. For example, your team needs to be able to identify phishing emails and should not be using public, insecure Wi-Fi networks.
- Embrace cloud storage systems
To prevent your staff from saving sensitive data on their devices, you should have cloud-based storage systems where all documents are saved in the same place. This also enables your IT security team to review the system for security.
- Disable automated logins
If one of your team’s devices is lost or stolen and they have set them up to log in automatically, your data could be compromised. It is best practice to encourage all employees to manually login to their devices via multi-factor authentication, e.g., password, SMS code, biometric scanning, PIN codes. You could also encourage your staff to reset the password on their home Wi-Fi system regularly.