Doing business remotely is the new norm. More companies are letting their staff work from home and this has opened up business networks to cyber threats. With employees logging into the businesses’ system from different devices, there are loopholes that may allow hackers to easily access important information. Customer information is also at high risk of being stolen. As a business, it is up to you to ensure that your systems remain safe from cyber-attacks even as staff work from remote locations. How can you do this? Here are 7 practices you should adopt.
1. All Users Must Set Strong Passwords
The first line of attack hackers will use is guessing passwords. If your employees are using weak passwords, hackers can easily get into your system with a few guesses. Your IT team should educate all employees on how to set strong passwords. Regular password updates should be done. Send out reminders to remind people when their passwords are due for a change.
2. Introduce Multi-factor Authentication
Logging into your business systems should not just be secured with a password. Consider adding extra security layers such as one-time-pin verification. With several layers to break through, hackers will have a harder time getting through to your systems. Think of it like having windows and then grills around them. Which house is easier to break into? Is it the one with grills or the one without?
3. Embrace Data Encryption
Data encryption protocols like SSL and TLS ensure the data you transfer over the internet is safe. Encrypted data can only be read by an intended recipient. Your employees’ devices will be fitted with decryption keys that allow them to decrypt data and be able to view details. Hackers trying to intercept the data will only see a series of characters they cannot make sense of.
4. Use Centralized Storage
Discourage remote employees from saving company documents on their computer’s local storage. Instead, they should embrace cloud storage. Determine a centralized server where data can be easily stored. Educate your staff on how to use the cloud to store this data in the selected storage.
Using centralized storage secures your business data and protects you from losing data that may be compromised when personal devices are stolen. Also, it is easy to secure a central storage facility compared to trying to secure remote devices.
5. Work with a Cyber Security Expert
With so much to do in your business, your IT department may not have enough time or resources to keep you cyber safe. Fortunately, there are cyber security experts you can outsource this service to. An expert at CyberSecurity as a Service (CSaaS) will monitor and protect against cybersecurity attacks, help your business develop policies that keep you secure, and carry out risk assessment among other functions. With someone you trust handling your cybersecurity worries, you can rest easy and allow everyone else to do what they do best, grow the business!
6. Only Use Secure Connections
All remote workers need to be educated about the importance of using secure internet connections. The use of public WiFi should be banned. Introducing a proxy or VPN that is run by the company may be a good idea. This will allow remote workers to connect to the internet securely within a protected environment. The VPN you use to use should be highly secure and reliable.
All employees should be encouraged to have high-quality anti-malware software installed on their computers. These will protect their local devices from attacks by viruses and other malware that cybercriminals may use to initiate attacks.
7. Practice Secure Video Conferencing
Zoom meetings could be a potential loophole through which hackers can gain access to critical business data. You need to take care of how these meetings are conducted. Zoom and meeting links should only be shared in private spaces. Complex passwords should be required to gain access. Creating a waiting room will help confirm who is in attendance. Once everyone joins the meeting, close the room so intruders do not have a chance to peek in.
Operating a remote business is convenient but it is not easy to keep everything secure. However, the guidelines above will help you make tremendous improvements. Cyber security should never be left to chance. You need to do everything possible to ensure you remain safe in this space.
Lizzie Howard is a Colorado native who after graduating from the University of Colorado spends her time as a freelance writer. When Lizzie isn’t writing, she enjoys going on hikes, baking for her friends and family, and spending time with her beloved yellow lab, Sparky.