Remote work company policies are becoming increasingly popular. This option allows employees to work when bad weather, childcare needs, or illnesses come up, instead of taking time off. With these policies in place, employees report higher job satisfaction and productivity. However, this setup is not without risk. Working from home increases the risk of cybercrime against a company, and the distraction of home life can cause drops in productivity. However, there are ways to negate these risks.
Educate Your Employees
The first step to having a cyber secure remote workforce is educating your employees. For new hires, be sure to incorporate cybersecurity best practices into the onboarding processes. Current employees can benefit from online or in-office training seminars on the importance of cybersecurity best practices and how to implement them.
Once the initial training is complete, be sure to follow up with training and information about emerging cybersecurity issues. Finally, make it easy for employees to report suspicious emails and other issues to the company’s IT department.
Use a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) protect users’ online information by creating a tunnel between their device and the WiFi network. Although beneficial to everybody, this comes in handy for remote workers especially. Workers out of the office are much more likely to work on public WiFi networks, such as those at libraries, coffee shops, and coworking spaces. Cybercriminals are lurking on public Wi-Fi, and VPNs can help prevent them from hacking into your device and downloading malware.
The first step is to install VPN software on all company-provided devices, which leaves you reasonably protected. But, remember remote employees may be tempted to check email or conduct other company business on their personal devices (laptop, email, tablet, etc.). Make sure you either ensure employees are only doing work on company devices, or make sure employees have a VPN on their personal device before conducting company business on it.
Use an Email Filter
Using an email filter on company devices serves many different purposes for remote workers. By not being distracted by spam emails, or having to take the time to delete junk email, employees have more time to be productive.
This technology also has a cybersecurity value. If suspicious emails are weeded out before the employee even sees them, it is less likely they will be a victim of a phishing scam or other cybercrime. This is an invaluable resource on both cybersecurity and productivity fronts.
Don’t Forget Real Life Security
While it’s extremely important to focus on the digital end of cybersecurity, real-life security is especially important for remote workers. Teach workers about the importance of making sure all their devices (company and personal) are protected with passwords and/or biometric security methods. Another security tip is to make sure remote workers are not leaving devices unattended in coworking spaces, libraries, cafes, or any places that aren’t secure (i.e their residence).
In the case that a device with company information is stolen or lost, make sure the IT department has a way to remotely disable the device, quickly. It’s equally important that workers know how to report a lost or stolen device at any time of day. Equipping devices with a “find my device” feature is also a great idea.
Remote work is revolutionizing how white-collar workers perform their day-to-day tasks. Although these arrangements provide many benefits to both employer and employee, there are also risks in remote work. With educated employers and employees following decisive cybersecurity plans, these risks can be significantly reduced.