IT Security Basics for Remote Working

Man working remotely

You might see remote working extend beyond the pandemic’s end as many companies discover its many benefits. Team collaboration happens in the cloud, and remote workers combine using company-issued devices and personal ones. As more companies embrace both remote and flexible ways of working, it pays to be aware of the security risks this unique situation uncovers.

Here are a few IT security basics all companies with remote workers should ensure are in place.

Use a VPN as much as possible

Home networks are wildly unsecured, leaving your employees open to malicious ransomware attacks and other threats. The best way to secure home networks is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The information on the VPN is stored and accessed in the cloud and offers end-to-end data encryption. A VPN offers better performance, robust security, and greater reliability.

Install regular updates

Ensure employees don’t ignore pop-ups asking to update their software or operating system. These updates offer important patches and other security measures to help reduce vulnerability. PCs automatically install regular updates these days, but your employees can still choose to ignore them. Advise employees to schedule their updates for overnight or when there’s no interruption to work.

Use strong, single-use passwords

Everyone knows someone who uses “12345” as their password for everything. This puts them at high risk because just one in inadvertent leak of that password endangers all their accounts and systems. Consider requiring two-factor authentication which sends a one-off code through email, text, or an app every time employees log in to your systems.

Enable automatic device locking

If your employees choose to work from a coffee shop or have flat mates not employed at your company, it’s important they lock their devices when they step away. Automatic locking secures the device until your employee enters the password to unlock it. Consider requiring employees to enable their devices to automatically lock 30 seconds to 1 minute after they step away.

Limit the use of personal devices

Since you can’t control an employee’s personal device, encourage employees to use only their company-managed devices. However, some companies only assign a laptop to each employee, so they might need other equipment to carry out their tasks. Restrict use of personal devices to perhaps their cell phone or tablet. And make sure all company-owned and personal devices have up to date antivirus and firewall software.

Invest in backup solutions

Make sure to back up all your critical systems, and check that all backups are done correctly, and your data is safe. You should create multiple backup options such as a cloud-based platform or with a data center or other carrier. You want backups that are stored off-site in a few locations to offer the best data security.

Train your employees on cyber security

Make sure everyone knows how to identify and avoid phishing scams. They come as emails that look so authentic, people automatically respond or click on links. Training will help your employees how to realize an email is from a scammer instead of the founder of the company. Make it a company policy to never divulge sensitive account numbers, passwords, or other identifying information through email. Also, don’t forget to regularly train your employees about new cyber security issues as they arise and make sure you send out cyber policies, rules, and emergency contact people as often as possible.

Final thoughts

Some small- to medium-sized companies don’t have the IT staff to ensure extensive cyber security measures cover all remote employees. It’s the downfall of many small companies to think hackers only target large corporations. To keep your business safe in today’s remote working environment, it pays to partner with a team of cyber security experts to handle your needs.

The cyber security experts at totality services have the experience and the expertise to keep your business and data safe. The sooner you roll out a comprehensive cyber security plan, the sooner you’ll sleep peacefully at night knowing your business, employees, and especially your customers’ data are safe. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.