Working from home poses numerous challenges for businesses and their employees. This is especially true if your business has been recently compelled to embrace remote work, across all divisions, due to unforeseen events.
After figuring out your new work-from-home processes—and you’ve got the right software for meetings, for logging attendance, for sharing files, and for remote collaboration—it might seem that everything is close to being all shipshape. However, there might still be something lacking in this new system which is worth looking into: an updated way to ensure cybersecurity.
Many business owners and employees are not aware that cybercriminals are more active than ever – knowing that most of the workforce is migrating to work from home and this increases their opportunities for attack. Currently, the sensitive information of your business could now be relying on whatever security measures are in each residential network (and possibly even personal devices) of employees. Surely something has to be done about this. Welcome to this comprehensive guide on cybersecurity tips for the work-from-home setup that every business owner and leader should be aware of.
Let’s get started!
Unforeseen events like a global pandemic or a natural disaster will halt or alter the operations of many businesses. The option of remote work is definitely an advantage during such times because it means your type of business won’t need to temporarily (or even permanently) close because of such events. However, with your entire workforce heading to their home offices, how ready are your remote-work security plans? Is there such a plan in place?
A remote-work security plan details the requirements, procedural controls, and technical controls that you will need to apply to your business processes to secure your current work-from-home model. You don’t necessarily need to start from scratch here – because it can be just a matter of adjusting your existing controls for this new setup. Key points to refine, as we may touch on in later sections, include employee training, access privileges, baselines for detecting threats, and security testing.
These next sections will give you more tips that you can adopt into your remote work security plan.
Employers should highly discourage or even prohibit their employees from using public Wi-Fi when accessing an internal network or handling sensitive documents. Typically, these networks are unencrypted and whatever security that these networks have, it is either lax or non-existent. Using a public Wi-Fi means you don’t have information on its setup or who else might be using it. This makes public Wi-Fi the perfect setting for man-in-the-middle attacks, malware distribution, and so on.
A personal Wi-Fi network is a lot better than public Wi-Fi networks in terms of security – but employees must make sure to set up a strong password. This should be the bare minimum. Additionally, by making use of a VPN to connect remote workers to the company’s internal network, you can ensure end-to-end encryption and further prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
It is also of equal importance to secure the VPN of your business from phishing attacks – by using multifactor authentication, keeping your VPN updated with the most recent security fixes, and of course, making sure that your employees are aware of basic security guidelines.
There is, indeed, a problem with using a personal device, like a laptop or smartphone, in a work setting that involves sensitive information. This is because such devices are beyond the control of the organization. So when employees download and store sensitive files in their personal devices, it can spell a lot of trouble. They may not have updated antivirus software or they may use outdated password protection, making these devices vulnerable to a cyber attack.
There is also the added risk of the device being stolen, borrowed by a third-party, sold to a third-party, or improperly disposed of. In such situations, the company’s sensitive information can be unintentionally divulged.
In a remote work setup, it would be advisable to implement “least privilege” when it comes to granting access. This means that the end-user or employee would only be given the minimum permissions they need in order to perform their job tasks. In line with this, limiting access to your company’s internal network is an effective security measure. So to easily stay on top of user access, having an effective access management solution is a good place to start.
Your employees can also provide a layer of security for your business if they have the right level of awareness. Your employees need to know that cybercriminals are more active than ever before – especially in the face of unforeseen confusing events. In a cybersecurity awareness training, you can include the basics of how to recognize and avoid scam emails and phishing tactics, how to set up their Wi-Fi securely, what types of networks to avoid, and so on.
When you are compelled to have an entire workforce working from home, security risks are indeed at an all-time high. Moreover, as you are just implementing this new system while risks abound, you may find your business needing professional IT help even outside of office hours. This is where Managed IT Services comes in.
Managed IT Services gives you personalized service from highly experienced staff and technical support. By signing up with Managed IT Services, you will also have access to the latest tools and be able to detect and respond to threats and malicious activity faster. Due to all these benefits, numerous successful corporations have even gone as far as replacing their entire IT department with Managed IT Services – and have never looked back.