How To Protect Your Remote Workers From Cybersecurity Threats
One side effect of the novel coronavirus has been a rapid shift to remote working. There are benefits to a remote workforce, especially in the face of a contagious virus, but there are some security drawbacks as well. Sadly, while everyone bands together in the face of this crisis, hackers and scammers use situations like these as opportunities to infiltrate companies’ data and exploit it. Here’s how to keep your teams safe from cybersecurity threats while we get through this, together.
Tips For Protecting Remote Workers From Cyberattacks
Remote working has a lot of upsides, but without security awareness, there can be considerable downsides as well. The key to security awareness is ensuring that your team members are equipped with the right:
You’ll notice only one of those elements has to do with the actual technology! That’s because security may start with your employee’s computer, but it really rests on how human beings are communicating your company’s valuable information.
Start With Their Tech
First things first, your teams need the technology to work seamlessly with each other despite no longer being together in a physical space.
Provide laptops and phones
By providing the hardware yourself, you can ensure it’s up-to-date with the latest security protocols. It saves your company money to be a Bring Your Own Device organization, but at a potential cost in the case of a data breach.
Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using a VPN is a common practice to ensure a secure connection for their data while working remotely, even on a public wifi network. A VPN uses encryption and dedicated connections to create a virtual P2P connection and can replace the real IP address of the laptop to make it harder for a hacker to breach. In recent years, a series of tools like PPTPs and SSLs have been developed into VPNs, offering a broad variety of features to select from. If you need help selecting the right VPN for your business, here’s a great place to start.
Firewalls filter the information that comes in to your company’s system through the internet connection. If you have a lot of remote workers now, a firewall is a great first step to screen the content they can be exposed to.
Cloud-based solutions are another way to avoid the transmission of sensitive data through email or other less secure modes of communication. In the cloud, files are encrypted and stored securely online instead of on a device. Web-based cloud solutions are industry-regulated, which can give you added confidence.
Empower & Train
Your employees are part of your security solution ( the most important part!) not the problem. A strong cybersecurity profile, just like any other aspect of your business, necessitates having a clear plan and training. Employees need to understand what the correct process is for communicating data and to avoid risky behaviors, like:
Which Apps Are Okay To Download
Everyone loves apps and programs that customize their user experience, but it also opens you up to insecurities like hidden malware. One solution is to create a “whitelist” of apps and programs that the computer needs to function for your business. In the case of a “blacklist” app or program being found, the computer could be reset back to its necessary functions without having to reinstall necessary programs and applications.
How To Avoid Insecure Connections & Tools
Many people don’t understand the security risks they’re taking every time they utilize an insecure network. Training them on the risks associated and how to best avoid them is important, so they can understand why you are asking them to take these extra steps.
Use Private, Secure Networks And Avoid Public Networks And Computers
A malevolent wifi host can access and infect any computer on their network and public computers can contain spyware and keylogging software to capture data.
Similarly, USB drives are an easy way for hostile files to make their way onto your employee’s computers as files can often seem like legitimate music or PDFs.
Set An Idle Logout Time
Set programs to logout so that connections aren’t left open inadvertently. There are some password-alternatives now to make it easier for employees to log back in without cumbersome password requirements.
Secure Email & Chat
Email is the most likely way hackers are going to get your data. Use secure programs for email and chat and employ features like encryption and multifactor identification to reduce your exposure while ensuring your employees can communicate efficiently. Other examples of topics to cover with your employees:
- “Phishing Scams” and how you will communicate about passwords or login information. Answer: never through email!
- Not opening suspicious files that could contain malware
- Checking email on unsecured networks
Finally, security isn’t “set it and forget it.” As things change and new scams and risks appear, your security profile will have to adjust as well. These adjustments need to be communicated to your teams so that they can understand the changes they’ll need to make and participate.
It may not have been your choice to engage in a primarily remote working structure, but there are a lot of upsides too. Remote employees report increased productivity, reduced stress and stay at their jobs longer. Creating a strong cybersecurity posture for your organization that protects your remote workers is worth the effort and will pay off even when they’re back in the building.
Not Sure Where To Start? We Can Help
Vector Solutions provides a number of cybersecurity training for organizations and employees, including Cybersecurity Certification Training, which offers resources to train individuals on ethical hacking and essential security principles.
To help you get started, check out our Vector Cares Program, which features a complimentary cybersecurity overview training that highlights the different types of cyber threats, effects of cybercrime, and how users become susceptible.