Even before COVID, remote working was starting to become increasingly popular. However, once the coronavirus hit, many businesses had to shift their way of operating, resulting in millions of people being ordered to work from home with very little notice.
If your team is working remotely, it’s your job as the owner to ensure each employee follows the correct protocol and uses the right practices so confidential data and information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Any minor slipups can have disastrous consequences for your company, so here is a guide to making sure your remote team is operating safely from home.
Create a Cybersecurity Policy
As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to let your team know how important data security is. No matter what role your employees have, you must make sure all your staff review and sign the policy. Data breaches and cyberattacks can and do occur, and if you’re a small business, you’re more vulnerable to having your personal data stolen. Therefore, creating a cybersecurity policy will ensure each member of your team is on the same page and knows what protocol to follow.
Ensure Internet Connection Is Secure
While the COVID-19 pandemic has seen millions of people having to work from home, many individuals not affected by lockdown have decided to use coffee shops and libraries as a place to operate from. Unlike at home where employees will use a secure Wi-Fi network, public environments have unsecured Wi-Fi networks, which is one of the most common ways to expose your business to a serious data security breach.
Employees must understand what steps to follow to keep business data secure, so it may be wise to use a VPN (virtual private network). Doing so will give your team online anonymity and privacy by creating a public network, meaning any important information and data cannot be accessed or stolen.
Change Passwords Regularly
Whether it’s social media accounts, online banking, or work purposes, your remote team must get into the habit of changing their passwords regularly. While some people find it easier to keep the same password for all those listed, should you experience a data security breach or cyber attack, hackers will have immediate access to information that could destroy your business. In your cybersecurity policy, you must educate your remote team about the importance of changing passwords.
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to company data is by using a password manager. These can generate passwords randomly for both you and your team, as well as store any passwords in a safe place. This means that staff won’t have to worry about remembering a variety of passwords for different software and programs.
Use Encryption Software
Another tactic you can implement to keep you and remote workers safe is by using encryption software. Should an employee’s device get stolen or become lost, any information on the device can soon end up in the wrong hands, exposing your business to vulnerabilities. If you use encryption software, this will protect business data by forbidding access from unauthorised users.
Also, if you use programs and software for conversing, any applications must employ end-to-end encryption. Whether you’re having a Zoom conversation or emailing on Microsoft Office, the last thing you want is for sensitive information to be put out in the public domain.
Install Antivirus Software
Whether you provide your remote team with laptops and tablets or they use their own personal devices, they must have up-to-date antivirus software in place. As a business, you may want the option to completely wipe a device in the event that it gets stolen or is lost. In addition to antivirus software, make sure all devices have anti-malware installed, as well as an up-to-date firewall.
Impreza IT provides mobile device management platforms that can perform these services, which allows your remote team to use their own devices without the worry of company data falling into the wrong hands. This IT Support Kent team also specialises in multi-factor authentication, Microsoft Office 365 protection, and e-mail encryption that can all be used to keep remote teams safe.
Keep Communication Lines Open
If you have any worries or concerns about your remote team, you must ensure communication lines stay open. Should a problem arise, your team should be able to contact you within an instant. Whether a team member has fallen victim to phishing, or they have used an unsecured Wi-Fi network, you must hold regular meetings with your team, so they know what is expected of them and what steps to take in the event of an emergency.
Unlike in the office where you have more control over what your employees do, working remotely presents challenges that can have devastating consequences for your company. To avoid a cyber-attack and to keep your business running on track, any of the tips above will keep your remote team operating safely.