Keeping remote employees and your data safe

Laptop and notebook

The Coronavirus crisis has influenced many businesses to introduce home working – fortunately, we are navigating this situation at a time when technology enables us to communicate and collaborate through cloud-based conferencing and workspaces.

As beneficial as remote working is, it does come with a few challenges and a major one is security. A report by CybSafe found that a third of businesses in the UK have suffered a data breach attributed to its remote workforce in the past year. This is mainly the result of employees using their own devices which lack antivirus or cybersecurity software and a lack of training from management on how to work safely.

Here are some ways you can help your employees work safely at home and protect your data at the same time.

Extra layers of security

For employees that use their own device or from work but log in to a shared space such as Microsoft Teams or Office 365, it’s important to have an extra layer of protection to mitigate the risk of ever-more sophisticated hacking methods. As well as antivirus, you should set up a form of encryption and multi-factor authentication. The extra step could be an email or text message confirmation or a biometric method such as facial recognition or a fingerprint scan. More than one authentication method presents a serious challenge for cybercriminals – even if they manage to get hold of a password, it is useless without the other(s).

Train employees

Too often, cyber criminals compromise data through human error. Whether it’s opening an email link, or visiting an insecure website, make sure you train your employees on the risks they face when working outside the office. This should include simple policies around not having friends or family use their work system and educating staff on the serious risks of data loss and malware infection from inappropriate use or attacks like phishing.

There are also several effective steps that you can ask your staff to take to reduce their own risk as much as possible, such as avoiding public Wi-Fi wherever possible and deleting old, unused passwords. Additionally, using a password manager is a good way to eliminate the need to create and remember complex – and therefore, safe – passwords on your own.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network plays an important role in improving your online privacy. If all your team members are working remotely from home, it’s recommended for your employees to be using your company’s VPN. This reroutes the traffic through the internet from your organization’s private network, ensuring even more security. Internet traffic is encrypted so that it is unreadable to hackers.

Back up your data

It’s better to be safe than sorry. For adequate data protection, you need to install a reliable backup system that carries out regular or automatic backups. But don’t leave them alone – you or your IT provider should monitor backup reports daily, either manually or if you’re working at home, via an alerts system so any issues can be addressed before they escalate.

Have a continuity plan

In the event your data is compromised, do you have a continuity plan in place? Your business is one of your most valuable assets, so you can’t rely on outdated recovery technology that doesn’t cater for the modern disaster – such as phishing or ransomware.  When employees are working at home from the cloud, protecting your data is just as important as it is in an on-premise server – a managed business continuity solution will protect all of your data, no matter where it is.

Ensure employees have support

As part of their homeworking training, you should provide instructions to staff on how to react in case of any problems – this means who to call, in what hours and emergency procedures to follow. Setting up adequate support may require you to introduce a rota for your staff, if you use an in-house IT department. 24×7 remote support comes as a basic part of our managed IT service.

The main security measure you can take is providing your remote teams with the resources and support to continue working as normal. This means ensuring access to the same server, devices and training as they would have in the office.

If you need help in finding a remote solution suited for your business – this might be in the form of approved cloud storage or file sharing tools that can ensure that data is properly encrypted and stored, please contact us.