While teleworking offers a number of benefits for workers and employers, it also comes with risks. When employees work from home, they cannot use the Internet, printers, or company computers. For this reason, employers must create comprehensive safety policies for their remote workers. From data protection to computer malware risks, organizations should carefully consider the following issues.
Protection against computer malware
Many remote workers use home devices instead of corporate computers. For this reason, they need to download free antivirus for Windows and antimalware on their home devices. If a device is used for work, it should have a firewall and strong malware protection. You have less control over what an employee does when they’re at home, so extra protection is essential.
Data protection and confidentiality
In a survey of IT managers, they believed remote workers would expose their organizations to a data breach. In total, 34% of executives said their workers did not care about safety. Unfortunately, only 42% of businesses provide or endorse devices. Instead, many companies are simply trying to mitigate the risks of employees using their own devices.
If employees work from home, they must have a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts a worker’s connection to your servers, allowing them to access data securely. If an attacker does not have a corporate VPN, he cannot access the same information. You can also protect your business data by limiting the information each employee can access. This naturally reduces the damage that can result from the lack of safety of a single worker.
Whether your data is in transit or at rest, it must be encrypted. Even if there is a security breach, the data will be unreadable as long as it is encrypted. To achieve this goal, employees must equip all work devices, computers and phones with encryption. Software such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office provide an automatic option to encrypt files.
Ultimately, the main cause of any data breach is human error. When all of your employees are in one central office, it’s hard to avoid mistakes. It is even more difficult to control workers when they are working from home.
Incident escalation and assistance
A remote workforce involves a whole different approach to escalating and supporting incidents. Organizations typically have less visibility into threats because employees are working from home. All traffic goes through personal devices rather than corporate computers. For this reason, troubleshooting may take longer. In some cases, it may not be possible to find the root cause of a problem.
To facilitate digital forensics, businesses should implement centralized case monitoring. Attackers often blur their tracks by eliminating device logs. By keeping records of these registers, companies can prevent criminals from using a common attack technique.
Data storage locations
Your corporate network and file shares are especially important in a telecommuting environment. Team members must be able to access shared resources to perform their work. If one person is hacked, it can affect everyone.
For many businesses, the simplest answer to data storage is the cloud. Cloud storage allows you to back up your data to multiple locations around the world. The data is encrypted and can be shared among team members. By using cloud storage, you can enable your remote workers to collaborate securely in real time.
Remote work policies
Your preventative measures are only useful if your employees know them. When transitioning to a remote workforce, you need to create policies for data security, encryption, and other measures. Next, you need to train your employees on these policies and how to spot cybersecurity risks. Your employees also need to know who to call if something goes wrong.
Even with the best security measures, you can still run into problems. You need to have the right incident and crisis management plan in place to handle potential issues. Your emergency plan should include backup communication channels and tests that you can use if the network is compromised. All of your remote staff should be trained on your business emergency and crisis plans.
While many companies have turned to telecommuters because they had to, having a remote workforce also offers a number of benefits. Remote workers save you money on office space and overhead. To reap these benefits, your organization must navigate securely to a remote workforce. With the right technology and the right security measures, your organization can emerge stronger than before.