However you secured your remote team at the start of the pandemic, now is the time to take it a step further. Are you properly secured for long-term remote work?
If you’re reading this article, you understand the importance of remote cybersecurity, and rightfully so. Thirty-six percent of organizations have dealt with a security incident due to an unsecured remote worker. And according to Morphisec’s Work-from-Home Employee Cybersecurity Threat Index, 20% of workers said their IT team had not provided any tips as they shifted to working from home. You might be wondering how secure your remote workers are.
Obviously, at the start of the pandemic, the first priority was maintaining business continuity. You needed to make sure your newly remote workers had the technology and the remote access necessary to do their work. But the process doesn’t end there. Security is a complicated undertaking for remote work models, and continuing with a remote work model, whether entirely or in part, will require enhancing security measures, providing the right hardware for users working permanently from home, and implementing more permanent file-sharing and collaboration tools.
There are 7 important steps you can take to enhance work-from-home cybersecurity for your employees:
- Use a virtual private network, or VPN. When you use a VPN, your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet. That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data.
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins. By requiring a second piece of information, like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re able to make sure that the person using the login credentials is actually who they say they are.
- Manage your passwords. One of the best ways to maintain complex passwords is with a password manager. Password managers are key to keeping your passwords secure. A password manager generates, keeps track of, and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers, and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option.
- Verify payments via phone. Since you can’t meet in person to verify major financial transactions, the least you can do is confirm over the phone with the contact. Never execute a financial transfer based on an email request alone, because it could very well be a cybercriminal posing as a business contact or third-party organization.
- Educate Your Employees. Now more than ever, your employees need to know how to spot social engineering scams like phishing. It’s a method in which cybercriminals send fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable sources in order to get recipients to reveal sensitive information and execute significant financial transfers.
- Implement Stronger Security Settings. You shouldn’t trust default security settings. Just because a program is generally considered to follow standard security practices, that doesn’t mean that it’s as secure as it should be “out of the box”.
- Stay Up To Date. One of the most common ways that cybercriminals get into a network is through loopholes in popular software. Much of the software you rely on to get work done every day could have flaws, or “exploits,” that leave you vulnerable to security breaches. That’s why developers regularly release software patches and updates to fix those flaws and protect users, which need to be installed when they are issued.
The bottom line is that however you’ve managed remote work so far, if it’s going to be a part of your long-term vision for your organization, then you need to make sure it’s optimized and secure. When in doubt, reach out to cyber professionals, like the Team at Nexus IT.
Earl Foote is the CEO of Nexus IT.