Working from home has shifted from a mere trend to being the new norm. In turn, employees are taking advantage of the many benefits that come with being remote. New tools make telecommuting easier than ever. But there’s one problem that many businesses may have overlooked—cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity for Remote Workers: Why Secure Remote Access Is Important
Employees in the office use secure connections to access your company’s programs and files. Should they need help, they also have the benefit of being a short distance away from your IT department. Your remote staff doesn’t enjoy these benefits.
Remember. Your virtual team is using their own home internet to connect to your company network. The average home network’s security level is often substandard compared to office networks. Your IT department may also lack the ability to provide adequate service to your remote staff. The separation between employees, devices, and your cybersecurity team makes it difficult to protect remote workers.
Cybersecurity for Remote Workers: Common Security Risks
- Unsafe Wi-Fi: If your workforce is trying to access sensitive information over their wireless network, or even public Wi-Fi, it could invite malicious actors to spy on their connection. This would allow the cybercriminal to harvest information without your knowledge.
- Personal Devices: It’s not unusual for employees to transfer files between their work and personal devices. Bringing your own device (BYOD) has become a more common practice as of late. But it introduces extra risk.
- Physical Security: Working at home can make it tempting to leave devices out in the open. But this can make it easy for others to steal the device or view information they shouldn’t have access to.
- Unencrypted File Sharing: Your employees share a lot of private data every day, from client account information to expense reports. While data stored on your company network may be encrypted, that may not be true for your employee’s home network.
Cybersecurity for Remote Workers: How To Protect Your Team
Besides adequate bandwidth, the biggest challenge for businesses that want to adopt the work from home model is cybersecurity. You and your remote staff may become more exposed to threats like social engineering attacks and computer viruses.
But: There are a few things you can do to plug up any security gaps caused by going remote. For example, you can create a remote access policy for employees. Such a process could involve:
- Clearly defining what roles are eligible for remote work.
- Creating a list of acceptable tools and platforms your team can use while working at home.
- Outlining a plan for employees to follow if there are signs that an account is compromised.
Cybersecurity for Remote Workers: Best Practices To Follow
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi: One of the first steps you should take toward guarding your remote staff is teaching them the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. This type of network can be accessed by anyone, including malicious actors. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network to work, any tech-savvy individual could invade your privacy.
- Install Antivirus Software: All remote employees should have antivirus software installed on their computers. Keep in mind not all antivirus software is created equally. Some are more reliable than others. What your remote team uses should be comparable to the antivirus software you use for your office. Even better, the antivirus software should be managed by your IT team.
- Perform an Assessment: A professional IT assessment will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your IT environment. If you can identify vulnerabilities, then you can take action to fix those problems before they are exploited.
- Use a VPN: Whenever your team uses an internet connection that’s outside of the office, they should be using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN for remote workers shields their activities from nosy interlopers by protecting data and masking the internet protocol (IP) address. Your employees can access your network, but they are untraceable by outsiders.
Get Comprehensive Cybersecurity for Your Remote Workers
42, Inc. works with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond to create IT plans, implement projects, and secure networks. If you need cybersecurity for your remote employees, we can help. We offer the solutions you need to get rid of security gaps. Contact us today to learn more.