In a world where many offices were forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners and leaders discovered that remote and hybrid working improved productivity, not to mention, that remote workers also vastly lower overheads.
But, there can be an unfortunate downside to running a remote company, and it’s quite possibly not what you think.
Having a remote workforce could increase a business’s chances of a cyber security breach.
So, how do you ensure that your remote workers are working securely in this new landscape?
Here are 6 ways to maintain your remote business’s cyber security…
What you can expect in this article:
1. Build a Cybersecurity Policy for remote workers to follow
The first step in defending company data is ensuring that all your employees are following the right protocol for data protection. Employees are often the main cause of security issues, as shortcuts are often taken when setting passwords and protecting data.
Remote workers may assume they’re logging into a system from a secure environment when in fact they’re leaving the door wide open to criminals.
A well-thought-out but easy-to-follow cyber security policy will outline everything your team need to do to stay secure when they are working remotely. Your policy should include making sure that your team uses strong passwords for their accounts and that they log into services with a remote access VPN.
Your cybersecurity policy should also determine which applications, programs, resources and tools are safe for your remote employees to use when handling private business data.
More on Secure Network Connections
Access to an unsecured Wi-Fi network is one of the most common ways for companies to stumble into a security breach.
Unfortunately, a lot of remote workers have shifted to using standard Wi-Fi connections, smartphone 5G and home routers to connect to the office. These services aren’t always as protected as we think they are, and business data security is suffering because of this.
The easiest option for companies looking for better network protection may be to implement VPNs. Asking your employees to use VPNs ensures that they have a direct and secure way to connect to the business network and access important information.
Make sure that any VPN you choose covers every level of encryption that’s important for your team.
2. Skill up your systems and data security team
For the members of your team who help to build your systems and protect your data, advanced cyber security training such as the cutting-edge Red Team Hacker Academy from TryHackMe is an absolute must.
TryHackMe’s Red Team training goes beyond penetration testing. Your team will learn how to conduct successful red team engagements and challenge defence capability by imitating a cyber criminal’s actions. They will emulate malicious attacks, retain access, and avoid detection throughout red team assessments. This pathway is suited to high-level job positions in the industry, and it’s a great opportunity to challenge and push your team’s skillset.
Ensuring one of the most important teams in your business brush up on some of the key topics is vital to their work in securing your business’ data and systems. Help your team to help your business stay on top of threats and evolutions and fulfil its responsibilities to the best standards.
3. Consider using password managers to help make light work of account security
Password safety is another critical part of running a secure business in the age of remote work. Unfortunately, the average human being’s ability to remember many different passwords for many different applications is limited.
So the result is that employees use repetitive passwords. Guilty.
While you can somewhat inspire your team on how to choose more secure passwords, a password management solution could be a safer and even easier option.
Password managers allow team members to access various tools with just one set of credentials. That means they only have a single code to remember – that’s got to be a no-brainer of a solution.
4: Introduce two-factor authentication to reduce risk further
As I explained above, a password manager can help to make your remote team’s accounts more secure – but we know passwords still only offer a single layer of protection. Two-factor authentication (otherwise known as 2FA) could be a fantastic choice for businesses wanting to strengthen the security of remote teams.
2FA helps by adding an extra level of security when logging into a secure account. Think of services like PayPal which make you input a code from your phone, or call you before you’re allowed to access your account. Or Xero who partners with the authenticator app, or insists on a code that has to be retrieved from a backup email. 2FA is a great solution so that even if someone was to figure out your staff member’s password, that wouldn’t be enough to get them into their account.
Multi-factor authentication is increasingly becoming more advanced. Today, it’s possible to build strategies that use a password and biometric data to secure services. Your employees could even protect their data with a fingerprint or retina scan.
5. Consider taking out cybersecurity insurance to protect you if the worst was to happen
Cyber insurance helps to cover the costs your business could incur after a cyber attack or security breach. As well as protection from hacking or an attack, it can also cover the financial losses caused by the failure of your company website or the collapse of your internet provider, along with legal defence costs for a number of scenarios.
6: Get the basics right first, and build from there
While the advanced offerings explained above could be a wise step forward for a lot of businesses, (not just those with remote teams,) it’s worth noting that the basic fundamentals of cybersecurity are still very important. And the basics can be often overlooked.
Encryption software with your video conferencing and messaging software is a must-have in the remote world.
Don’t overlook antivirus, anti-malware, phishing protection & firewalls
It’s also worth ensuring that your employees have up-to-date systems for security on any devices they use, such as antivirus software, anti-malware, and phishing protection. Firewalls are even available to cover everything from tablets and computers to smartphones and other mobile devices.
Keep mobile apps up to date
Remember, mobile device management tools can also help your team leaders to ensure that apps and security services remain up to date on your team’s devices.
These services allow you to implement patches remotely, remove dangerous data from an employee’s hard drive, and even blacklist certain apps.
Avoid jeopardising your remote business’s security by following these tips
Employing a remote workforce doesn’t mean you have to jeopardise data security. Once remote workers are fully educated about the importance of working securely, and you have the right tools, training, policies and protocols in place, you can enjoy all the benefits of a remote business without worrying about security threats.