Work From Home Makes Securing the Remote Workforce Much More Important
One of the more unfortunate assumptions is if someone has an opportunity to exploit a weakness in your system, they will. Last March and April, businesses worldwide sent their employees home. This spike in remote users meant an increase in user endpoints, of workers new to working remotely, and of vulnerabilities cybercriminals can exploit. Many companies found their remote work policies were weak, not updated, or non-existent.
This move to remote work and the uncertain outlook for the next few quarters offers a great opportunity to review and improve remote work policies and technology, including:
Establishing and communicating remote-work security policies and expectations
Using secure virtual private networks (VPNs) to create separate business environments that are securely accessible from home networks
Reviewing bring your own device (BYOD) policies so employees can safely use personal devices
Establish clear work from home security guidelines. Every business that supports remote work should have some basic guidelines that address remote access to company information and how the company will respond to security breaches. They should mirror the cybersecurity policies and procedures you have for in-office employees with added information about personal device use.
Train your remote workers on them regularly. Remember that most data breaches are caused or enabled by employees, and they must be as aware when they are remote as they would be if they were in the office. Training not only gives your employees the tools they need to identify and respond to cyber threats but it also reinforces how important they are to keeping company and customer data secure.
Review network security. While businesses should discourage their employees from using unsecured public networks, most employees will use their personal Wi-Fi networks. In order for businesses to make sure their remote connections are secure, they should use a VPN that has been patched with the latest security fixes and updates. Network security also encompasses who should have access to what areas of the company networks and how secure access should be. Now is a great opportunity for businesses to explore multi-factor authentication and see how secure it makes their IT.
Review BYOD policies. Employees may have no choice but to use their personal device for work, and when they do, it represents a huge security risk, especially if the device is lost, sold, or improperly disposed of without removing sensitive data or saved passwords that would give someone access to sensitive information. Ideally, a company’s network should only be accessed by company devices, but if personal devices need to be used, the company must develop BYOD policies that govern their use. Employees that access email and cloud services require the same endpoint security rules for anti-virus software and customized firewalls as they would with employer-managed devices.
Make sure collaboration and communication applications are standardized and secure. When the pandemic first hit and people were sent home, many businesses had to scramble to provide simple ways to communicate that didn’t rely on phones or email. These temporary solutions may not be the most secure, and different teams within your company may be using different communication apps, which is a nightmare for IT staff to troubleshoot.
WFH Is Much Easier and More Secure With SBT
With SBT, it’s never too late to take complete control of your remote computing and workforce. Our IT assessments can show you safe, cost-effective ways your business can become more mobile, and therefore, more modern. With SBT, you stay ahead of the curve, and through our mobile cloud services, scalable business continuity solutions, and thorough security awareness training, we offer a simple, secure alternative to conventional workplace structures so you can confidently support a secure remote workforce.
Are you struggling to secure your remote employees? Call SBT Partners today for a full assessment. We’ll develop and deploy a remote work network that allows you to do business in complete confidence.