Maintaining Cyber Security With a Remote Workforce

cyber security remote workforce

With unprecedented numbers of people working from home, businesses have to ensure staff are safeguarded when working remotely. We asked Scott Lester, Cyber Lab Manager at 6point6 to explain how businesses can ensure cyber security for remote workers.

The key for maintaining cyber security lies in harnessing the appropriate technologies and installing clear processes to guarantee employees know how to maintain vigilance against cyber-criminals and handle corporate data securely.

1. Credentials are key

Businesses are vulnerable to cyber-attack via log-in procedures, particularly if they are password-only. To counter this, companies must take advantage of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), an entry mechanism that supplements a login password with an additional bit of information, such as a one-time code.

Incorporating this additional layer of security to any application or platform used by staff at work minimises the ability of cyber-criminals to make use of stolen or compromised passwords.

To further enhance security, users should be encouraged to create a unique set of credentials for each login, and store them in a password manager. This means all log-ins and passwords will be kept and encrypted within a virtual safe.

These tactics mean cyber criminals will be less able to guess, steal and utilise user credentials to access important corporate systems for ill gain.

It is vital that businesses are implementing additional measures to protect themselves at a time when cyber criminals are looking to take advantage of any vulnerabilities revealed by the changes caused by Covid-19.

Those with tighter budgets at this time need not compromise on security; MFA is commonly included in packages of online tools and services, but should be prioritised when opting for any new package.

The options mentioned above are also budget-friendly for smaller businesses and are more than worth investing in to help prevent hacking.

2. Educate your team

In such an altered environment, your workers must be educated on the best ways to remain on guard against any suspicious activity.

Without IT teams on hand for quick questions, as they might be in the office, your team must be trained to know when they are at risk of being hacked, how to protect against phishing scams, and the internal procedures that should be followed when suspected breaches occur.

Given that Acceptable Usage Policies and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) equipment are now an integral way of keeping organisations secure, SMEs must make sure that workers are kept well-informed so that they are able to counter threats whenever or however they take place.

3.  Secure your network

Having blanket security for network traffic is vital to minimise cyber security risks. When using non-cloud services, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) should be used to provide end-to-end network security.

Other processes can be put in place to increase workers’ abilities to ensure their own online activity, in addition to the businesses’, is protected from cyber attacks.

Encouraging employees to change router passwords away from default values can help here, as well as motivating all workers to carry out regular virus scans of their devices, and updating software frequently to defend against the latest threats.

4. Are video calls a weak spot?

During the present lockdown, there has been much discussion about the security, or lack thereof, built into video conferencing services. Whatever the truth of the state of play, businesses should look to protect workers while there is such an uptick in the use of these tools.

Company security can be used to ensure that video calls are limited to approved work devices, where appropriate software can be installed to provide permission for authorised users to access any calls.

As well as this, you can increase the security of video calls by ensuring employees keep information about any meetings strictly confidential. Meeting hosts should register all those who attend and keep a log of who is present during the call so as to protect against criminals seeking access.

5. Be aware of your IT demands 

With businesses making rapid alterations to the way they work, IT teams have had to deal with heavy workloads as they look to ensure technology can enable operations to continue smoothly away from the office.

Consequently, IT departments are more crucial than ever at present, and must have the optimum infrastructure to carry out their jobs effectively. As such, businesses will need to minimise the traffic of unreasonable or non-urgent tasks.

Implementing most streamlined processes by which staff contact the IT team is key. This can be done by ensuring queries are categorised according to their urgency level.

You must bring your whole company on board with these new IT protocols if your IT department are to be able to carry out their roles well.

At no point should IT teams be asked to compromise on security to resolve a query for practicality’s sake. If IT professionals are deprioritising a task and providing appropriate reasoning, workers must trust them and have patience.

Towards a safer future

The coronavirus crisis has precipitated a new way of working, but one that depends upon IT resilience and robust cyber security processes and technology across each company. The onboarding of best-practice cyber security solutions industry-wide will set your business well on the path towards a better-protected future.

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