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7 Tips to Avoid Remote Work Security Risks

7 Tips to Avoid Remote Work Security Risks
Yana Zatsarnaya
December 9, 2021
Last updated: December 9, 2021

Remote work has been around for some time now but more and more companies are allowing their employees the option to work offsite to give them a better chance at striking a balance between their work and professional lives. That being said, remote work security is compromised each and every time and with that, the company’s overall security as well.

 

Although remote work is lauded for its many benefits including savings for both employee and employer, it also exposes the company to potential cyber attacks and other security threats. There are a few things that can be put in place to ensure that employees still have the privilege of remote work while business owners have their peace of mind. Here are 7 tips for how to maintain security when employees work remotely.

 

1. Update security plans, guidelines and policies

 

Schedule a time to review your security policy with your IT department and management team to see if there are provisions in your security policies for remote work. If not, make sure it is updated to have parameters, guidelines, and restrictions in place to apply for remote work. They do not have to be anything big or complicated. Even the most basic security measures for remote workers to follow would be more than enough.

 

Before rolling out and offering the possibility of remote work to your staff, make sure you define or outline if you will be allowing VPN use or if they will be required to save everything online in a cloud as opposed to locally. Will you be demanding the use of a password manager? These things need to be clearly specified in the updated security framework.

 

2. Use the right tools and technology

 

How to maintain security when employees work remotely is all finding the right tools and using technology to your advantage. Keep in mind that you not only have to protect your hardware if you’re entrusting a computer to them but you’re also protecting the network from where they’re working. Thankfully, there are a lot of security measures along with new innovations that you can use for this purpose.

 

Consider using a VPN for all things work-related. A good VPN doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a lot of them out there that you can use that are fairly affordable but can do the job really well in making sure everything is kept safe. You might also want to use a password manager to keep information safe and away from prying eyes. Lastly, take the time to install antivirus to computers you will be loaning out or make provisions for your remote workers to have access to such.

 

3. Considerations for allowing BYOD

 

In remote work, it’s easy for lines to be blurred. After all, when you’re working from your living or dining room, where and when does the work end, and your personal life begin? Even before allowing remote work, make sure it’s clearly specified and everyone understands that they cannot use their personal gadgets for work for the sake of remote work security.

 

If you cannot avoid it and need to allow the use of personal devices, make sure your security protocols are tightened. If you have room in your budget, you can ask your employees to bring their devices in so you can have your IT team install security software in them or sweep them for threats and other malicious content that might harm your company’s security. Also, look into their needs as well as their job scope to determine the level of security pass you will be giving them if they need to access documents and files from a shared drive or the company cloud.

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4. Make connections secure

 

Password protection can do a whole lot of good in protecting your company, employees, and property from the cyber security risks of remote work. If they’re working from home, ensure that their wifi or home network is password protected. If they are elsewhere, living the digital nomad lifestyle, make sure that they do so while actively looking out for their remote work security. Discourage your remote workers from using any unsecured wifi networks.

 

Orient your remote workers to regularly update their passwords and to make sure that they are strong ones. Passwords or login credentials that are written down should be kept in a secure place for safekeeping. You can also employ the use of multifactor authentication to make sure that access to your cloud and other network services are only granted to authorized personnel.

 

5. Use the Zero Trust approach

 

The principle is easy to understand and follow: Never trust, always verify. The Zero Trust approach improves remote security by managing and granting access on a continuous basis by regularly verifying identities, services, and devices. It’s a good practice to put into place if you want to be protected from remote working security risks.

 

It’s a good approach to take: treat each request for remote access as a request that came from an unknown device or user. How would you go about verifying their identity and authenticating? How much access will you give them? Once they’re done for the day or as soon as they log out from the current session, the access reverts, and the cycle restarts.

 

6. Provide support

 

The world wide web is a great place for resources and other help tools but it is also teeming with bad people who wish to cause harm and steal from others. This is what you need protection from. If you are making allowances for remote work, be sure to have support at the ready for them, whenever and wherever they need it. Having support ready for them at all times will give you peace of mind when it comes to remote work security.

 

Have someone from IT always at the ready. If you can, make sure an IT person is on call all hours of the day. If this is not doable, make sure you have troubleshooting steps clearly outlined for them to follow. Update your knowledge base to include a variety of remote working security scenarios and what they can do to avoid them or get out of sticky situations safely.

 

7. Educate your team

 

Allowing remote work is as much a perk as anything else, considering the number of remote working security risks. To this end, you need to train your staff and educate them on the dangers that lurk in networks and online sites so they can keep an eye out for them. Give them scenarios and show them what they should be wary of and how they can beef up their home network security.

 

Part of their cyber security education remote work is making sure they understand that security is just as much their responsibility as it is yours. Making sure your company is protected is part of the job since they’re taking on remote work. So, they need to understand that they cannot use company-loaned hardware to download personal files like video and audio from the internet.

 

Remote possibilities

 

There are a lot of crafty people out there, always devising new ways to do other people harm. The good news is that there are a lot of things, practices that you can put in place to protect your company, property, and employees. You also have your IT and management teams to see to it that ensuring remote work security is always the top priority. Other practices you can put into place and include in cyber security education remote work are:

 

●      Monitor your employees’ practices when working remotely.

●      Be alert.

●      Ask remote workers to use external hard drives instead.

●      Have your remote workers check in regularly with IT.

●      Encrypt what you can and teach your staff to do the same.

●      Train your remote workers regularly on the hazards and scams that they can run into.

 

The best security measure you can set up is to educate your team. Scammers are always upping their game, evolving and making their schemes more intricate so detection is more difficult. But if your remote workers are educated, prepared, and well-trained in handling remote work security risks, you have no cause for worry. You can sit back and enjoy the benefits of remote work for your company and employees alike.  

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