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How to secure remote employees.

The business landscape has shifted dramatically over the last few years. We went from working in the office, to working from home, to working some days from home and some days in the office. While working from home was a necessity at first, many business owners have seen the benefits remote work has to offer. As a result, it’s highly likely we’re going to see a number of organizations adopt a hybrid business model going forward.

Although hybrid work environments bring many benefits, it doesn’t come without risks. Employees who work outside of the office are more prone to cyber attacks than those inside the office because most home networks don’t have the same level of security as a business. To protect your hybrid workforce from cyber threats, you need a strong work from home security strategy.

How To Secure Remote Employees

There’s no doubt that the possibility of encountering a security threat is higher when an employee works from outside the office. For example, hybrid workers tend to switch between their home and work devices. As such, it’s necessary to take extra precautions so your employees can avoid vulnerabilities.

Despite this fact, there are plenty of ways to help minimize the risk. One way to lower the chances of falling victim to a cyber attack is by helping your remote team understand how to protect themselves. Another way is by making sure they have the tools they need to stay secure.

If you want to learn how to maintain security when employees work remotely, we’ve prepared a few steps you can follow. By implementing these best practices, your team can continue to operate in a safe and secure space.

Limit Distractions

In an article from TechRepublic, about 47% of remote workers who fell for a phishing scam claim they were distracted. Advise your virtual team to work in areas where they are free from distraction. Even switching back and forth between your work computer and personal device can be enough of a distraction to cause you to click on something you shouldn’t have.

Cyber Security Training

When it comes to cyber security, there’s one common vulnerability that every company shares: employees. Imagine that you have the best firewall and monitoring services in the world. That defense doesn’t mean much if a well-meaning employee accidentally creates a backdoor for cyber criminals to exploit. That’s why cyber security training is essential for all employees. 

Training starts with informative lessons that educate your employees on the dangers of cyber risks, what risks your company faces (e.g. ransomware, phishing,etc.), how to avoid those risks, and what to do if you encounter one. The second step in the training process involves giving your employees an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a realistic scenario via proactive tests. In addition to the training, a code of conduct should be created for proper internet usage. 

Through proper training, your employees learn everything they need to know to make smart decisions while online. This can go a long way in keeping them and your business safe.

Offboard Previous Employees as Soon as Possible

There are many reasons why someone may leave a company, whether they found a new opportunity or were let go. Regardless of how they left, it’s important to remove their accounts as soon as they’re out of the door. If a former employee can still access their accounts after they left, they may be able to gain access to sensitive company information.

Work From Home Firewall

Your IT department works hard to keep your network up and running without issues. To maintain a secure environment, they deploy a range of measures to keep threats at bay. For example, your network likely has firewalls and antivirus software installed on it—these tools are helpful and effective in thwarting any malicious intrusion attempts. 

This level of precaution should also be in place for your remote staff. Have your IT specialists install firewalls for your remote workforce. Also have them install reliable antivirus software on every team member’s computer.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

No one likes using passwords, but you need them to keep your accounts safe. But you shouldn’t stop at just creating a password because they can be easily broken. In addition to creating a password, you should also encourage your workers to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). 

Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of protection that uses multiple verification steps to make sure the user is who they say they are. For example, say you wanted to use MFA to log in to your bank account. After entering your login credentials, you would be asked to verify yourself. In most cases, the next step would be entering a unique identifier that was sent to something only you have access to (e.g., a smartphone or email account).

The process may take a little longer than simply entering a username and password, but the additional security is worth it.

Use a Virtual Private Network

When working remotely, it can be tempting to work in other environments away from home. While there’s nothing wrong with working in a library or coffee shop, your employees should be wary of using publicly available internet. If they want to connect to a public network, they should only do so with a virtual private network (VPN).  

A VPN provides privacy and anonymity, shielding your staff’s digital activities from others on the network. This means your remote team can access business files and applications while being virtually untraceable by others.

Establish Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures

If someone on your team were to accidentally click on a malicious link or download an infected file, would they know how to respond? It’s important to establish clear policies and procedures your staff can follow in the event of a cyberattack. This means explaining what the victim should do, who the contact, chain of command for escalation, etc. With a cybersecurity policy, you can minimize the damage caused by the cyberthreat.

Get the Security Your Business Needs

If you need to protect your business from lingering cyber threats, reach out to 42, Inc. today. To solve your security issues, we perform an assessment to identify vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. From there, our team works with yours to create a customized plan that makes sense for your business. With us by your side, you can rest easy knowing your network is safe.

Contact us to learn more about how to protect your remote workforce.