Remote work is a convenient and useful option for employees facilitated by advances in technology. However, it can also open up employees and work devices to an increased risk of cybersecurity attacks. Here are six strategies for protecting your data while employees work remotely.
1. Implement Network Segmentation
Network segmentation comes in a variety of options, including standard segmentation, microsegmentation and zero trust segmentation. Network segmentation is a strategy that divides your internal computer network in order to prevent cybersecurity breaches such as ransomeware from spreading across your entire network. It’s a good tool to include along with traditional network security, as it can be a secondary defense if cybercriminals do manage to breach your outermost security layer.
2. Leverage the Cloud
When you use the cloud, you’re able to save programs, files and data immediately, without needing to connect to physical servers. Not only can you save your data much more easily and quickly, but you can also access it from any device, as long as you have the correct login credentials. Most cloud services provide various security protections to ensure your data is safe while stored in the cloud. While the cloud itself isn’t a tool that can divert or catch malware, storing your data there ensures you can recover more quickly if your data or devices are compromised, for example, but a ransomware attack.
3. Promote Virtual Private Network (VPN) Usage
VPNs are secure encrypted connections between devices and wifi networks. They’re particularly useful tools when you’re using unsecured networks, such as public wifi. You should require your employees to install and use a VPN on any devices they use for work that may need to access public wifi. This tool will prevent their data and the data of their workplaces from being compromised. With a VPN you can feel more at ease if you need to use a work device while on-the-go.
4. Utilize Multi-factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is an incredibly useful method of ensuring device and data security for remote workers. This security tool involves creating and inputting two or more layers of authentication requirements when someone wants to log into or access something. Common authentication methods include passwords, PINs, hard and soft tokens, biometrics and security questions. You can utilize this for an employee’s work devices, network access and access to specific applications or systems. If a hacker tries to access those devices or programs, he or she will be far less likely and willing to break through two or more layers of security.
5. Create Specific Security Measures for Specific Applications
Even if you have overarching security measures in place for employees’ remote work devices, there are some programs or applications that may be more easily compromised than others. You should keep this in mind when implementing security tools, strategies and policies. Collaborative programs in particular may be more vulnerable due to needing to allow for multiple people to access them, so you should make sure they have adequate security measures tailored to them.
6. Develop Strong Security Policies
Above all, you need to make sure your employees understand what your cybersecurity policies and strategies are and how to implement, utilize or support those policies and strategies. You should review your current policies and determine how well they address remote work securty needs. Then, you can update and add to your policies as needed. Once you develop a strong security policy, you should make sure the information is accessible and available for all employees to review. It’s also a good idea to introduce security training and review courses for employees to attend, usually annually, so they can stay updated on any changes and remind themselves of the policies.
When you implement data security measures, make sure you choose the ones that best suit your workplace and the tools that each employee uses. If you implement inappropriate or ill-fitted security strategies, your employees are less likely to be protected.