Now’s the perfect time to review and update your company’s secure data policies to make sure they’re applicable for remote employees.
Data Security Policies
Now’s the right time to establish data privacy and security policies if you don’t already have them. Above all, you can’t begin too early to protect and secure your company’s data.
Every responsible employer should have a number of data security policies. These should include an IT Security Policy and a Data Breach Policy.
Enhanced Security: Ongoing Phishing Awareness
Lately, we’ve seen a huge rise in phishing scams and other forms of hostile invasion in cyberspace.
For added safety, your company’s security training program should include phishing awareness as well as information about scams. However, be aware that employees are far more prone to phishing and other scams if they work from home.
In other words, stay alert for the latest phishing and other scams. Communicate quickly to your employees any warnings or new procedures.
Want to Remain Secure? Use Approved Devices.
In practice, employees should only have access to company data from devices that are under the control of the company’s IT department.
You may have employees who work on a laptop that they can take home. You might have to purchase new devices for your remote employees.
Ask your employees to provide details of all devices they use to access company data. The makers of older operating systems such as Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.12 Sierra no longer support them. These should be updated ASAP.
Information concerning company data should not be accessed by devices that are less secure. Create and enforce hardware requirements specific to each employee.
Sharing Company Devices
It’s important that company devices are not shared with other members of a household. This could easily lead to a breach of the company’s information.
This is easily solved by your IT team. Simply set up multiple user profiles so that company information is not available to anyone else.
Secure Company Devices
Make it a staple of your IT security policy that employees lock all company devices when not in use. In addition, it’s a relatively simple matter to set minimum criteria for device locking, such as:
- requiring that passwords be long and complex;
- choosing more than one unlock method (e.g. pattern, PIN, fingerprint); and
- having the device lock itself after a timeout period.
Consider multi-factor verification (MFA) as an option for company devices. An MFA hardware device such as YubiKey is another option.
Protect company devices with company-approved security software.
Your default software should contain anti-malware that detects more serious threats. Similarly, you may also need password management software in order to make sure your employees use long, complex passwords.
Consider purchasing more licenses if you have security software on your office computers. After that, your employees can safely access company data from any device they own.
For Security, Use Work Email Accounts
Employees who’ve gotten used to using a specific email client at work may find it challenging to reach their email remotely. In addition, employees may be unable to access their email accounts for work-related messages.
Some email providers have weak encryption and low standards for password security. These less secure accounts are at greater risk of cyberattacks.
In short, make certain that you’re clear in your IT security policy that company email accounts are only for work-related mail.
Additionally, it’s entirely possible that employee home networks aren’t secure enough to allow them to work from home.
To guard against man-in-the-middle attacks, consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN). Using it consistently, employees can safely access files within the company network.
VPNs provide a secure and encrypted link between employee devices and company servers.
Your IT team doesn’t need to manually set up a VPN. Many VPN providers offer packages for businesses.
In addition, determine if there are security issues by setting up a security audit on home networks. After that, install a VPN. This is always a good option to prevent access to sensitive company data.
In addition, make sure the employee’s home router is password protected and up-to-date.
Checklist for Secure Data for Work-from-Home Employees
- Check that the data security policies of your company are up to date.
- Instruct employees about phishing scams and how to avoid them.
- Only use company-approved devices, especially when working from home.
- Never share company-approved devices.
- Make sure company-approved devices remain locked and secured.
- Install security software on approved devices.
- Personal email accounts should not be used to send or receive company information.
- Finally, make sure home networks are secure if you are working from home.
Data security affects all of us, whether at home or at work. Learning and implementing some basic safety measures is always a wise move. It’s also a good way to do your part in keeping you and your company safe from possible harm.