Businesses need to be extra cautious to secure the technology their remote workforce is opting for.
The COVID-19 situation is providing a plethora of new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit unprotected technology systems.
So clearly, remote-access technologies are exposed to more external threats. Thus, cybersecurity for remote workers needs to be a top organisational priority. Having said all that, let’s ponder over a few smart tips for protecting your remote workers from various cyber threats.
- Focus on the training of remote workers
Considering remote workers may be operating within some highly challenging environments, it’s essential that they’re trained to understand best practices to prevent vulnerability and threat in an online environment. Since humans are the weak point in any security system, the importance of training cannot be understated. Even the best-trained among us are liable to commit an error at some point.
Cybersecurity training is imperative for managing all types of threats in the workplace, even when the employees are working remotely.
When conducting these sessions, however, it’s vital to put emphasis on the specific challenges associated with remote work. Tell the employees how to detect common phishing attacks. Raise their awareness of spoofing and other techniques and ensure that each worker is well-versed proper IT hygiene. A modest investment will pay off exponentially if a significant security breach is avoided.
- Document your cyber-security policy
Employees won’t be able to follow remote access security protocols if they don’t know what they really are. Document and outline your particular security policy, and conduct training, workshops, or meetings periodically to ensure they are fully understood, followed, and executed.
“A written policy may also work for your business, but it’s best to customise the policy based on the different departments with different responsibilities” state Jack Mckenzie, an IT assignment help expert. Once the cybersecurity policy is in place, see to it that all employees have proper access to it with the freedom to ask questions. Your security policy must also be an essential part of your employee onboarding process. Before remote workers move on with their workplace responsibilities, ensure that they have read and acknowledged the policy.
- Using a VPN
Many individuals are acquainted using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get past geographic restrictions on streaming sites and other location-specific content. Since a VPN channelises your traffic through a server in a location of your choice, it’s best for location spoofing.
But a VPN has another significant role, and that’s enhancing online privacy. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic to make it unreadable to anyone who intercepts it. This keeps it away from the prying eyes from snooping, including your Internet Service Provider (ISP), hackers, or government agencies.
However, using a VPN can slow down your internet speeds. If you need to carry out high-bandwidth activities holding video conference calls, you need a VPN known for its speed and reliability.
- Set up firewalls
Firewalls serve as a line of defence to prevent threats from entering the computer systems. They create a shield between your device and the internet by blocking ports to communication. This prevents various malicious programs from entering and can stop data leaking from your device.
The operating systems in many devices will typically come with a built-in firewall. Additionally, hardware firewalls are built in to many routers. Remote workers need to enable the hardware firewalls.
If any device doesn’t have a built-in firewall or need some added protection, there are plenty of third-party firewalls available. Some amazing free options are AVS Firewall and ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2019.
- Encrypting the devices
It’s not sufficient to simply update your operating systems to enhance the remote access security. The company data and devices should also be encrypted from the start. Make sure the employees only used encrypted devices like iPhones. iPhones tend to be comparatively secure and offer some added built-in protections, while only 10% of the world’s Androids are actually encrypted.
Cloud-based tools are also a concern for businesses and remote workers. It may not be practical to ban cloud-based storage and file transfer services, but you can use secure, encrypted cloud-based tools. For finances, use apps like Quickbooks, which encrypts data to keep your numbers and sensitive information secure.
- Evaluate your technology
Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are turning out to be the new workplace norm, but they also highlight many weaknesses and points of entry for hackers intruding in your business. You can eliminate the BYOD policies altogether and instead mandate that all work be carried out through employer-supplied equipment and devices.
Irrespective of your stance on the BYOD policy in the workplace, take the time to scrutinise the technology and devices used by your team members and make sure all operating systems are completely up to date.
- Keep the systems updated
Making sure that the security of the hardware devices, software applications, and operating systems used by remote workers is a priority. Some studies indicate the average amount of time it takes to finish this process is more than three months.
Today’s advanced attackers are capable of taking advantage of an exploit, move laterally through a network and steal important assets without being detected for weeks or months. This is a nightmare scenario for any organisation, which often face massive financial and reputational damages from such breaches.
To manage this risk, it’s imperative to ensure all software is updated frequently. Common tools like malware scanners, firewalls and virtual private networks can also help maintain security.
It’s crucial to make remote work access security a significant part of your employees’ ongoing training and workplace culture. This will not only benefit the remote workers but also protect the interest of the organisation.