The coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in remote employees. It’s estimated that remote workdays have doubled this year. Additionally, many businesses are planning to keep some employees working from home permanently.
There are many proven benefits to having employees work remotely from home, including higher productivity, fewer days off taken, and lower costs for both companies and workers.
However, email security, data security, and network security are all big concerns when it comes to work-from-home (WFH) staff.
36% of surveyed organizations say they have experienced an IT security incident due to a remote employee.
Security needs to be adjusted when your business network is now including multiple employee home offices. This can be done, but you need to take a layered strategy to ensure all bases are covered.
Here are several layers of security you can implement to ensure your remote workforce isn’t leaving your business vulnerable to a data breach.
Home routers are typically less secure than business routers, which means data transmitted through a home network could be intercepted by a hacker.
You can secure those data transmissions fairly easily by using a business VPN. A VPN application can be installed on both computers and mobile devices, and it will encrypt the internet connection. This keeps connections safe, even if they’re on unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
Employees working from home still need to have the same device protections that they do when in the office. One of the most important is to use an antivirus/anti-malware program to keep PCs safe from any potential threats.
Unpatched software vulnerabilities were responsible for 60% of data breaches in 2019. It’s vital that remote employee devices be kept updated. Most updates include critical security patches to either operating system, application, or firmware software.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your entire remote team is keeping their devices properly updated is to sign up for managed IT services with a local provider. This service manages updates remotely in a way that keeps the device safe without interrupting employee productivity.
Employees can be more susceptible to falling for phishing scams when they’re working alone from their home, without someone to quickly ask to look at their screen for a second opinion.
Using an email security assistant like eMailAde helps employees avoid falling victim to phishing scams because it analyzes all mail coming into their inbox and marks it for them. The visual cues the user gets are:
When employees work from home, their business computer and mobile devices are sharing a network with multiple non-business traffic. Other devices might be a teen’s gaming computer, a smart appliance, or a doorbell camera.
Not all devices have the same level of security. If a hacker breaches a less secure device, they can easily jump through the network connection to a more sensitive device, like a laptop used for business data.
Remote employees can add a layer of security by segmenting their router. This means that any business devices and their data traffic would be on a separate network from other devices in the home, reducing the risk of a breach.
How to use router segmenting:
Shadow IT is the term for when employees begin using cloud applications for work that haven’t been approved by their company. A business may not even realize that their data is being used with shadow IT.
Employees often do this innocently enough. They may be used to using a certain app on their home PC and they’re now using it for work, so they begin using that app for business information.
The problem with shadow IT is that it can put a company’s data security at risk. IT staff haven’t had a chance to research the app for compliance and security. Business data could also be left in a shadow app without a company’s knowledge after an employee leaves the company.
It’s important to create a cloud application use policy that discourages the use of shadow IT, and that lays out an approved list of apps and a way to recommend an app for approval.
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