How to reduce the risk of cyberattacks with a remote workforce

21 Apr

Mid-April 2020, and people the world over find themselves working remotely from home. No one could have predicted that setting up your business as a remote workforce might be the new norm, until such time as some other kind of normalcy begins.

With new norms, come new challenges and what many in-office work forces are now faced with is the risk of cyber-attacks aimed at remote-workers who have access to far less cybersecurity than in the office space.

Protecting Your Business & Remote Workforce During challenging Times

The single most effective way of protecting your business and employees is to remain informed of the many cyber-risks faced by the business and to ensure that staff members are fully aware of the threats to their cybersecurity.

As your workforce heads into a few weeks (or months) of at-home work we take a look at some of challenges that should be on the forefront of your mind (and your cybersecurity team’s) right now:

 1.  Set strict cyber-security policies in place and enforce them

Surrounded by constant safety reminders in-office, employees might be less likely to click on malicious links and open unsolicited emails. At home, chances are that cybersecurity awareness has slackened and a sense of complacency can set in.

Draw up a well-thought out cybersecurity policy which outlines any systems that you have in place to guard data against attacks and reiterates your business’ stance against cyber-attacks and online behaviour. Make sure that the entire workforce reads through this, understands it, and signs it.

2.  Secure data encrypted backup

When working remotely, encrypting sensitive data can be challenging, especially when emails and chats are continuous. Documents stored and sent on devices are at risk of possible data breach, particularly when employees forget to use the encryption software provided.

While it’s important to enforce company policies on encrypting data, it might serve you better to install cloud backup options  on employee devices to ensure that their data is automatically backed up, encrypted and password protected daily. There is no need for employees to store documents on their devices for extended periods of time when they are consistently backed up to a safe and secure off-site location.

3.  Implementing rules for personal device use

Many employees will be using their own mobile phones and devices to access business networks and deal with sensitive data. If you are unable to provide yours employees with a device that is fully kitted with state of the art network security systems, then you need to ensure that personal devices are correctly used. Make sure that data is backed up to the cloud and data encrypted and then immediately removed from personal devices.

Your cybersecurity team should also oversee how personal devices are used for business purposes. Make sure that each staff member has up to date security programs and features on their devices. This might be a big cost to your business now, but in the long run it will be worth it.

4.  Incorporate company-wide access to VPN (Virtual Private Network)

When a remote employee connects to your network from home, chances are that they are using an insecure connection. This of course puts your business at risk. One way to add a layer of protection to your business is to provide your staff members with access to a VPN service which will ensure that they are secure when accessing business applications, systems, and data.

5.  Encourage regular password updating

To ensure cybersecurity best practice, make sure that employees are able to change their passwords remotely on a regular basis. Some companies insist on changing passwords each week or each fortnight. This can go a long way to safeguarding your business data against possible risk and attacks.

Work From Home Safely

Lockdown is well under way and who knows if it is going to be extended. By preparing your business now for the possible extension and even more work-from-home time for your employees, you will be safeguarding the future prosperity of your business. Be alert and cautious!

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