Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the rising amount of restrictions that have been imposed for public safety, many organizations have been forced to transition to a remote workforce, whether they were prepared for it or not. Some organizations might lack the necessary knowledge of cybersecurity when operating a remote team – this could lead to unexpected data loss that could cost a business up to millions of dollars.
A question that often comes up is how to keep intellectual data safe. Outside of their usual office space, employees do not have the same security measures that ensure that important information is kept within the company. This increases the risk of a data breach. To prevent this, a remote workforce should adapt and comply with efficient cybersecurity strategies and practices to protect their data. Below are a few measures to help a business secure their remote workforce.
1. Employees should have a proactive approach to cyber threats.
Employees should be taught and encouraged to recognize risks and stay away from them. Technology solutions such as a secure email system to detect phishing attacks and spam, or a VPN solution to secure connections that can help reduce these risks.
An organization should regularly update their employees with cybersecurity threats and news. Employees should also be trained to look for signals of attacks and know where to report them so they can be prioritized and remedied according to its priority level.
Organizations should also hire third-party service providers such as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to help organize their systems and help smoothen the transition to remote work. Additionally, a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can handle cybersecurity and ensure that the company’s data is secure while being handled by employees outside their usual work zone.
2. Take advantage of cloud-based solutions.
Cloud-based cybersecurity protects the remote work device and the identity of the user. This means that an employee can access the cloud safely from anywhere, without the risk of reducing the safety of the device and the company data that is safely in the cloud. New cybersecurity solutions are optimized for remote work and have no need for long download and setup times. The user leaves no traces and the extra security keeps attackers away.
3. Give employees the right tools for remote work.
The right tools and apps need to be deployed so organizations know that the right people are accessing their data. Enabling multi-factor authentication can address this, while also mandating the use of VPNs when workers are utilizing public Wi-Fi. Maintaining a strong password on the device is also important and changing it every week can help prevent unauthorized access.
Companies must also ensure that employees can access the deployed applications safely. A virtual desktop environment can help bolster productivity by providing efficient user experience.
4. Increase awareness against phishing attacks.
Employees should know what verified email addresses and sources they can interact with. Companies should keep reminding their workers not to open suspicious emails and URLs that might exploit their information or passwords.
Remote work also increases the risks of spear phishing (fake requests from people that employees know). A team should know the signs and know how to verify any requests. Communication is the key here, so employees should use other secure messaging or video conferencing apps to verify the request.
5. Maintain security protocols.
The security protocols that is practiced at work should still be present in their new work environment. Users should be informed of any new security measures by their security team to ensure that those at home are also secure.
The most effective security measure for remote work is and implementation of a mobile security platform that can be installed in any device and is focused on data security. This reduces any problem that could come with slow deployment and lost data that would cost more damage.
6. Secure the workspace at home.
The home router that remote workers use might be easily tampered with if it is not secure – the default password should be changed, as they are considered as open doors by hackers. Remember that an employee should be the first one to manage their personal cybersecurity as this is the first wall that cybercriminals will try to break down. Cyber hygiene is as essential as personal hygiene, so companies should invest in establishing a culture of security, maintaining firewalls and antivirus software, and have specific action plans for any problem that occurs.
Preparedness will certainly put a company ahead; one example could be to make sure that all access points have the correct access. As company dynamics change, it is important to keep track of processes that can be made easier through automation.
7. Consider the long-term advantages.
Cybersecurity measures for working remotely is constantly in development. Because of the current crisis, technology has gone through already significant developments to adjust to the increase of remote workers. Apps may soon be deployed with almost no disruption to productivity. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) and other smaller organizations might be behind but the pandemic might force them to change their approach to remote work.
8. Utilize the company’s threat model.
Threat modeling is a process that identifies potential threats such as structural vulnerabilities and the absence of proper safeguards. Through this, cybersecurity threats can be identified, enumerated, and addressed according to its priority. Cybersecurity measures that a company or its third-party security have made all depends on the threat model work. It is the primary key that enables cybersecurity risk assessment and countermeasures to happen.
Remote work could seem like a risky step for an unprepared company but it is considered the safest alternative for the sake of everyone’s safety. As we have learned, social distancing with neighbors is as important as social distancing from cyber threats during this world crisis.
As companies, health institutions, and schools are being tested by this pandemic, the strategies and safety precautions mentioned above can help an organization ease into this new world of remote work.