The Best Way to Implement Security for Remote Employees
As the workforce shifts, more employees are working remotely than ever before—26.2 million Americans to be exact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With that shift comes opportunities for increased flexibility, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
Working remotely is chock-full of benefits for both the employer and the employee. However, there’s a downside: added security vulnerabilities. Employees who work remotely, even periodically, present numerous risks that in-office employees don’t.
Remote workers add components like working on unsecured networks and using personal devices for work. Even the most security-conscious organizations face challenges with their mobile workforce that they can’t always manage, especially when supervising large teams.
While challenging, it’s far from impossible to improve security for remote employees.
Want in on the secrets? Read on to learn remote employees’ best defense and six simple security practices.
Remote Employees’ Best Defense: Education
Our goal is to empower employees to take ownership of security best practices. The more employees understand about information security, the more likely they will be to follow procedure and identify potential problems.
How do we do that?
Schedule consistent organization-wide security training. Provide engaging lessons with real-life examples that show security as more than a policy and procedure handbook. Though remote security practices may be unique to remote workers, ensure that in-office staff thoroughly understands those practices; they may work offsite down the line.
Additionally, leadership should focus on leading by example, as no one is exempt from causing a data breach. Employees should see that they are not being told to do something “just because,” but rather that they are part of something bigger: keeping the organization and its clients’ data safe.
Finally, offer recognition. Show your employees that you see their security efforts and recognize the part they play in the organization’s overall security.
Security Practices for Remote Employees
There are a few security practices that remote employees can implement quickly and easily.
Avoid public Wi-Fi when possible.
Remote employees appreciate that they can work from anywhere, but with more location possibilities comes more vulnerabilities. The local coffee shop, coworking space, or library have public Wi-Fi networks that are open to even amateur hackers. This oversight could allow someone to intercept files or read emails, exposing confidential information about your organization.Remote employees can use a virtual private network (VPN) or Mi-Fi device to protect their Internet connection, if they do happen to find themselves on public Wi-Fi.
Use a VPN.
As we mentioned before, a VPN can protect your employees’ Internet connection, preventing the interception of passwords, messages, files, and other data. This private network is the easiest way to provide employees with an encrypted connection. Though it might slightly slow down the Internet connection, the increased security is worth the loss. Ensure that you research the best VPNs available before choosing a suitable service.
Use a password manager.
It’s not surprising that employees reuse passwords. They aren’t doing it because they’re lazy; they do it because they can’t remember 10+ sets of login credentials. Providing your employees with a password manager allows them to use a complex set of varying passwords across the many applications necessary to complete their work.
Use two-factor authentication.
Asking employees to use two-factor authentication dramatically decreases a hacker’s ability to steal data. Even if a hacker manages to find login credentials, they’re useless without the second factor.
Be aware of phishing emails.
Ensure that employees understand how to identify a phishing email. With the right tools, they will be able to flag an email as a possible phishing attempt before unknowingly giving away logins or clicking on a malicious link. Knowing the signs and to whom they should report suspicious activity will help employees to think twice about the seemingly-legitimate emails they receive.
Back up work regularly.
Aside from backups coming in handy if a computer crashes, backups are one of your organization’s primary defenses against ransomware. Encourage employees to do regular backups of their files to protect their work and other data assets from being lost or stolen.
Of course, we also suggest contacting a security professional to protect your employees.
Consult a Security Professional
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can provide valuable insight to teams with remote employees. MSPs learn your organization’s work habits and goals to design a security program that integrates well and strengthens your processes.
With less to worry about on the security front, you and your team are left to focus on core functions. MSPs take over day-to-day security tasks and fill in security gaps that might have once left your organization vulnerable for a security breach. With services such as cloud migration, MSPs make it easier than ever to have a mobile workforce that connects without fear.
Technology Lab works in a variety of industries, helping organizations like yours keep their employees and clients safe. Contact us to learn how our team of experts protects your remote employees from potentially-devastating data breaches.