The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is wreaking havoc in 200+ countries across the globe, infecting almost two million people (as of publishing date) and resulting in the deaths of thousands. This has led to many governments imposing complete or partial lockdown in an effort to prevent the spread of the contagious disease.
As a result, companies (from startups and mid-sized firms to large enterprises) are left with no other choice but to ask employees to work from home until further notice to keep them safe as they go about their jobs. The benefits of telecommuting are plenty, with location flexibility being one of the most obvious. But these don’t come with risk – there’s always a higher threat of sensitive business data getting leaked in remote working scenarios!
If you’re looking to implementing work from home, you must prepare your employees and equip them with the necessary tools to protect themselves and company information. In this article, we’ll discuss a few ways to help you get started on the right foot:
Create a Remote Working Security Policy
You simply can’t assume that your employees understand cybersecurity as well as the pivotal role they play in it. Therefore, establishing a remote working security policy is crucial, and it should cover the following points in detail:
- The importance of having a remote working security policy.
- The various security procedures and guidelines employees need to follow while working from home.
- The set of tools and resources you’ll provide them with to help them meet these requirements.
Make it mandatory for both existing and new employees in the company to sign the policy. Everyone should play their part in ensuring the security of corporate data, and having a clear policy in place will make the expectations clear for all.
Ensure All Web Connections Are Encrypted
As far as accessing the company’s network is concerned, your employees must use a virtual private network (aka VPN). It will not only allow them to connect to internal services like email, file servers, etc., from anywhere but also protect their traffic with military-grade encryption.
Be wary, though: not all VPNs are the same! You want to make sure your company is using the right corporate VPN. Determine what your needs are and research the market to find the most suitable provider. Also, don’t forget to take their reputation into account.
Stress the Importance of Password Security
Settings varied and strong passwords are one of the easiest ways to safeguard your organization’s information from outsiders. Unfortunately, many people choose easy-to-guess passwords and also reuse them often. You should recommend using password managers to counter this.
These programs not only allow users to generate strong passwords but also store and organize them in one place. In this way, your employees won’t have to remember multiple passwords for multiple company accounts, and confidential company data can remain uncompromised.
Implement Two-Factor Authentication
If your company relies on cloud-based services (like Gmail, Microsoft 365, and Salesforce), you’ll need much more than passwords to protect the valuable corporate information they store. With technologies such as two-factor authentication (2FA), you can add an extra layer of defense.
Once activated, the user is required to confirm their identity with an additional factor besides the traditional username and password. This could either be a one-time code sent to their phone or answer to a security question. The result? You make it considerably more difficult for cyber-criminals to get in.
Communicate Over Secure Channels
Make it obligatory for employees to carry out work-related conversations through secure means of communication only. After all, you wouldn’t want their calls and text messages to be intercepted and spied on by unauthorized third-parties.
Whether it’s chatting, VoIP, or email programs that they rely on, these should come with industry-standard end-to-end encryption. This feature isn’t always enabled by default, so your employees might have to switch it on themselves.
Require the Use of Firewalls, Antivirus Programs
The use of firewalls and antivirus/antimalware programs must be compulsory on all employee devices, including tablets and cellphones, in addition to their computers. This would allow them to get work done while ensuring the security of corporate data.
However, your employees may require assistance to ensure these tools are installed – not everyone is tech-savvy! So, your company should be prepared to provide technical support, and one effective way to do that is through mobile device management (MDM).
Remote working doesn’t necessarily have to put your organization’s data at risk. By educating your workforce and empowering them to implement the cybersecurity measures discussed above, you can rest assured that company data remains safe even outside the walls of your office.
Let us know if there are any other ways or best practices that you use for working remotely in a secure manner.