How To Ensure Data Security for Remote Workers
Remote work, in some form or another, is clearly here to stay. Cybersecurity has always been a significant concern for organizations. Data breaches and hacks can cost companies dearly and expose sensitive user or client information to attackers. According to cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes, a full 19.8% of businesses suffered a data breach after switching to remote work arrangements. And the reason for that is clear. Rapidly deployed remote work infrastructure is often rife with security vulnerabilities. A cogent data-access policy and inadequate employee training are also contributing factors.
Therefore, to prevent a data breach, small businesses must revisit their remote work policies and IT infrastructure. And to add, they must do this with an eye toward data security for remote workers.
To help, we will discuss security best practices for remote workers to protect your workforce and company at large.
Create a Comprehensive Remote Work Policy
The first thing that small businesses have to do when developing a long-term remote work strategy is to create a comprehensive remote work policy. The idea is to spell out in no uncertain terms what’s expected of every employee while they’re working remotely. This should include details about acceptable work schedules and communications standards. Typically, every remote work policy includes data encryption, VPN usage, security training for employees, separating work and personal devices, and password management. Organizations must also regularly conduct mandatory security training for remote workers to keep everyone informed. Most organizations hold training twice a year.
Maintain Password Hygiene
Strong passwords are highly essential to ensure the safety of company data. Remote workers must know the importance of solid and smart passwords. Passwords should contain upper/lower case letters complemented by special symbols so hackers cannot figure out the exact password. Also make use of multi-factor authentication as it requires users to provide more than a password to access their apps and data. Since singular passwords are easier to access for cybercriminals, many companies opt for multi-factor authentication. In a typical multi-factor authentication login process, remote workers must enter the password and request an OTP or one-time code on their phone, email, or separate security apps.
A firewall is a critical component of any security strategy. It can help protect your network from external threats and control traffic between your devices. Firewalls work by allowing or denying traffic based on a set of rules that you create. When it comes to firewalls, it’s best to hire an IT professional who can correctly install them. If a third party intends to communicate with you, they must pass through the monitoring process. They will block the communication port and immediately send you a report if it finds something suspicious.
Virtual Private Network
A virtual private network (VPN) is software that provides end-to-end encryption for all your online activity. VPN software is often inexpensive and needs to be installed on every remote worker’s device Though VPN allows you to access and streamline geographically barred websites in your location, it also ensures that nobody can snoop on the data you are sharing and surfing. For remote employees who are using their devices to access their data, VPN can act as a protective shield against hackers.
Use Antivirus Software
Ensure that every device used for work has an effective antivirus system installed. Antivirus software can help businesses avoid ransomware attacks, malware, trojans, spyware, and DDoS attacks. There are hundreds of antivirus software platforms (including Kaspersky, Avast, and Norton) to choose from. Advanced antivirus software platforms prevent common threats, and many of them are automatically updated regularly to adapt to the latest dangers. Business owners and managers must invest in a comprehensive antivirus tool for all their employees to ensure everyone is protected
Remote working benefits both workers and business owners, but the security risks can’t be ignored. Companies must instil a sense of online vigilance in remote workers and follow the above best practices to prevent data breaches. Regular security training programs are also critical.