It’s the summer holidays! The kids are off school and the heatwave is making it too hot to commute.
So you’d rather relieve the stress of trying to get to the office and work remotely.
You decide to work at cooler, more comfortable periods of the day. Working early in the morning or late in the evening means you’re not sitting in the sweltering heat, barely able to see your laptop screen from the sun’s glare.
Flexible working hours are now a core part of work culture for businesses who are focused on improving their staff’s productivity and work-life balance. More employees than ever are making use of this shift in working norms.
Remote working and flexibility gives employees the freedom to work when and where they please, which is great for their wellbeing, a little more challenging for your business security.
When your staff are in the office, it’s easy to keep your office and devices secure:
- Your IT team can catch viruses before they do any damage.
- Your employees are sent automatic reminders to change their passwords regularly.
- Regular security checks will help keep employees safe from most cyber threats.
When staff begin working out of the office, the safety of your data becomes a cause for concern.
Remote working leaves your business vulnerable to a security breach and life becomes a little easier for cyber attackers trying to get hold of your corporate data.
You need to be vigilant and ensure your remote team are using the best security practices to ensure your business’ data remains protected.
Your office will have a secure network and it’s vital that your remote worker’s network is just as secure.
Here are some key ways to keep your company data secure when working remotely.
1. The Cloud
Your employees will be using the Cloud to work remotely and we’ve talked about its benefits in previous blogs. Ensure that your employees create strong passwords for their Cloud accounts to prevent cyber criminals finding an easy way in.
2. Do you really need to use the public WiFi?
Cafes and coffee shops are popular locations for remote workers to set up base for a few hours. But from a security perspective, they’re a no-go!
If you’re using their free wireless network, you’re leaving yourself and your devices vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks.
What are your options?
- Tether your device to your mobile hotspot. Use your phone’s mobile data to connect your tablet or laptop to the internet. However, be aware that if the 4G signal in your location is bad, your connection is going to be poor.
- Use a dongle to connect to the internet. It’s the size of a USB and plugs into your computer to give you a secure connection.
- If you desperately need WiFi, find somewhere that has a secure network. Only use trusted networks and never use public WiFi for completing sensitive business tasks.
3. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Companies use a VPN with the aim of adding another layer of security to their network. A VPN creates a ‘secure tunnel’ so employees can access the company network and the internal systems.
They can also browse privately as VPN software encrypts remote worker’s traffic. So you can rest assured no intruders are able to hack the network.
Employees can access all the information they need from your network, including data that would be too sensitive or confidential to be shared in other ways such as email.
4. Securing remote user’s devices
When employees are using company-owned devices when working remotely, there are simple ways to improve your data security. By disabling employees from accessing their personal emails on business devices and barring personal web browsing, you can prevent threatening malware coming through the most common pathways – the web and email.
However, it becomes more tricky when employees start using their own devices and with the rise of BYOD schemes, it’s more common than ever.
You can secure company data on these devices by installing security software, such as Sophos Mobile. This enables companies to protect their employee’s personal devices from malware and phishing amongst other cyber threats.
A big risk with working remotely, is an employee losing or having their device stolen. Confidential data could easily fall into the wrong hands. To reduce the risk of a data breach, you can install whole-disk encryption software. This stops any unauthorised person who gets their hands on the device from accessing any data on it.
Remote-wipe apps also allow users to erase the data on a mobile device even if they do not have the device with them.
5. Email encryption
Email is a popular tool for remote workers, but it’s also a popular entry point for hackers.
To ensure company data shared over email remains protected, make sure corporate emails are encrypted.
Also, educate your employees about the vulnerabilities of email with training. Train them to spot phishing emails using software such as Sophos Phish Threat, and inform them of what can and can’t be shared via email.