8 Simple Tips to Help Secure Your Remote Workforce
by Zivaro, on Dec 7, 2021 12:13:49 PM
With millions of U.S. employees now working from home, it’s the job of IT professionals to secure their remote workforce. Here are eight tips to eliminate risks.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in millions of U.S. workers jumping right off the deep end into a remote or hybrid work environment. In response, IT professionals have worked tirelessly to secure their remote workforce, weeding our security risks and bolstering vulnerabilities in their ever-evolving networks and data systems in the process.
What are the Security Risks of Remote Working?
Phishing attacks, privacy issues, data being accessed through unsecured wifi networks, cybersecurity threats (such as brute force attacks), and unencrypted file sharing are just a few of the common risks employees, and IT professionals need to be wary of.
How Do You Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely?
A combination of preventative safety measures, distributed data backup, and employee education—all of which should be comprehensive and ongoing—can help secure your remote workforce from cybercriminals and online threats.
8 Tips to Secure Your Remote Workforce
Here are some of the security risks of remote working and eight tips on how to maintain security when employees work remotely.
1. Back Up All Data and Systems
Cloud services that back up a company’s data and systems should be considered non-negotiable for a remote workforce. This is because the cloud not only secures your business’s data but makes it easier for colleagues to interact, collaborate, and even report issues to IT.
Managed cloud services can also be scaled or adapted to meet the needs of a business, so you only pay for what you need.
2. Set Up a Corporate VPN
A corporate virtual private network (VPN) is an easy and affordable way to improve a business’s online privacy when working remotely. VPNs encrypt online activity, making it difficult for cybercriminals and opportunists to monitor you or attempt to steal information.
3. Consider a ZTNA
Similar to a VPN but more complex, a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) puts control at the fingertips of IT professionals.
Without permission, outsiders can gain absolutely no information about what’s on your network. This solution is more customizable than a standard VPN and may be warranted for companies protecting sensitive data, such as banks or healthcare providers.
ZTNA vs. VPN
ZTNAs and VPNs share some things in common. The main difference, though, is that a ZTNA’s default answer to sharing your information or data is “no.” Not even your IP address is shared with a LAN, adding an additional layer of security to a company’s data.
4. Invest In Employee Education
Even from afar or in a hybrid IT role, it’s essential to educate your employees. Time and financial resources dedicated to properly securing your remote workforce are never wasted, especially when you consider how many hundreds of billions of dollars (according to Forbes) have been and will be lost to cyber attacks.
Scare tactics aren’t the answer, but education on remote access policy for employees and the high-stakes nature of securing your remote workforce is essential and should be a priority.
5. Establish and Regularly Update Permissions
Giving employees permissions based on what they need to do their jobs (and not more than that) helps prevent myriad issues and accidents from ever happening. Known as the principle of least privilege, this is one of the easiest-to-implement remote workforce best practices.
6. Keep Your Software Current
Team collaboration is essential, and software solutions like Zoom, Slack, and customer relationship management tools are the foundation of many of today's remote workforces.
As part of employee education, make sure colleagues know updated software is essential for removing bugs or glitches that could pose a security threat.
7. Diversify Your Remote Workforce’s Network
Single-point networks are vulnerable to failures of epic proportions if even one error arises goes. Company downtime, loss of data and applications, and increased risk of cybercriminal activity are all possibilities.
IT professionals should strive to diversify a remote company’s network and add redundancy to help prevent these issues. Hybrid IT solutions, such as keeping some of the company’s data on the cloud and others on the cloud, help spread out a business’s vital data in the event of data loss or network failure.
8. Establish Remote Offboarding Procedures
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote layoffs became a reality for many businesses. They’re perhaps less of a threat now, but the truth is that employees sometimes change jobs whether they’re working remotely or not.
IT professionals should work closely with leadership to identify critical offboarding procedures that protect your network from outside threats or unauthorized technology.