Businesses worldwide have embraced the “Work from Home” concept due to the changes brought about by COVID-19. As regulations surrounding the pandemic begin to ease, these same organizations have reaped unexpected benefits by asking their employees to work remotely.
A report by BusinessNewsDaily suggests that remote employees could gain 16.8 additional days of productivity per year by simply working from home. As organizations continue to embrace the secure remote work philosophy, business leaders must stay vigilant in enforcing the best practices of telecommuting.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 4 ways to work securely when working remotely.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Access Points
It can be tempting to take for employees to take their laptop to the closest coffee shop and setup a remote office for the day. Even if you have deployed encrypted corporate VPN applications on their computer, they first need to connect to the Wi-Fi network before they connect to the corporate VPN. This momentary lapse in protection could expose the files on the laptop to hackers.
One of the most high-profile examples of this was during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. International news reports claimed that when they connected their laptops and mobile devices to Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops in Russia, operators of these breached networks exploited vulnerabilities on their devices resulting in malware infections. Even professional information security researchers from Trend Micro were seeing their test devices get hacked.
While working from home can seem like a luxury, some people find that they want to leave the house and get a change of scenery. Employees should only connect to the company’s VPN network from a broadband connection that is trusted. Whenever possible, the employer should provide a secured Wi-Fi access point for employees to connect remotely.
Always Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
In 2017, information security analysts at KnowBe4, a security awareness training provider, found that 62% of small to medium sized enterprises do not use two-factor or multi-factor authentication security.
Multi-factor security is the code that is received through SMS messages on a cell phone (the code can also be generated through a key generator to centralize access from different apps) when logging into a secure remote work portal.
Multi-factor or two factor authentication mechanisms act as a last resort safety mechanism against someone improperly accessing your data. This helps you notice if something is wrong and immediately take the necessary steps to change your password, if needed.
All businesses should make two-factor authentication mandatory in order to use and access business applications to make sure the company’s data is protected.
Training and Awareness
An easy and often overlooked method for keeping the data of an organization secured is providing users with cybersecurity training. Especially important in a time when a lot of employees are working from home, it is crucial for businesses of all sizes to train their employees to become a very effective security layer.
Cybersecurity awareness and training programs can be easily deployed, remotely, to help employees understand what to look for in a suspicious email or website in order to prevent users from clicking on links that can put the business’s data in jeopardy.
Work Devices Should be for Work Only – Never Lend Your Work Device to Others
It can be tempting for employees to let their child play on their work issued laptop or mobile device. Unfortunately, this is one of the leading reasons behind a device becoming compromised as employees work from home.
Anyone could unknowingly navigate to a compromised non-work related website. Sensitive login details may then be provided to the compromised site or malware can be installed simply by clicking the wrong buttons.
Businesses should institute use policies that restrict company devices from being used by family members to minimize the risk of becoming compromised.
If you can adhere to these 4 key remote work principles, you are on your way to keeping sensitive data safe from unwanted parties. Businesses that train their workforce on these 4 principles possess a solid foundation in terms of keeping their data out of the hands of malicious parties.
For more information about how to help your organization work securely in a remote reality, contact one of our MicroAge locations to speak with an expert.