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How to Protect Remote Employees & Company Assets from Cybersecurity Risks

November 18, 2020 - Cybersecurity & Compliance, Managed IT

How to Protect Remote Employees & Company Assets from Cybersecurity Risks
Carrie Flanagan

Posted by Carrie Flanagan

The workforce is evolving. More employees than ever are working remotely, and although the world optimistically looks to a time when social distancing is no longer required, our workforce may never be the same.

Many companies are discovering advantages to having a remote workforce, and it's likely to be a part of our lives for many years. With the help of technological solutions, your team doesn't have to be in the same room to produce great collaboration and tackle your business needs with teamwork and professionalism.

As our workforce evolves though, so do the cybersecurity risks of conducting business. How will your organization protect employees working remotely from these risks to keep them - and your business assets - safe?

Protecting Remote Employees and Company Assets from Potential Cyber Threats

Here are a few ways to keep your employees and organization safe from cyber threats.

Provide Employees with Company Devices

The prospect of sending company devices out of the office can be daunting. Your company has invested a lot into the hardware, and sending computers and mobile devices home with employees working remotely can seem like a huge risk.

What should be more frightening is the prospect of trusting your employees to ensure security protocols on personal devices. Your employees are not all IT professionals. Asking employees to use personal devices while working remotely is inviting computers and mobile devices onto your network that have not passed the company's security standards.

A company device can be secured by IT professionals with proper firewalls and antivirus software before an employee uses it, and you can assure it is up to date both in terms of security and in terms of compatibility with your platforms, so employees aren’t left to troubleshoot issues on their own. In addition to all this, providing company devices is just good etiquette. You wouldn't ask a new employee to bring a personal computer to the office - give your employees the right tools to succeed.

Train Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices

As organizations transition to remote work, training is highly focused on how standards and conventions for business are executed in a remote setting, but often companies forget the fundamentals.

A good manager will say that weaknesses in your workforce are perfectly acceptable, as long as you can identify and account for those weaknesses. Your employees will always be a large weakness in your cybersecurity efforts but ignoring this fact won’t do any good. A strong training program identifies this fact and arms employees with the knowledge of how to spot phishing attempts and other cybersecurity threats.

With more people working remotely than ever, attempts to infiltrate secure remote network environments and steal personal data are on the rise, and all employees need to be ready. Train them on what to watch for and where to report suspicious activity. If employees are properly trained to spot attacks before or as they are happening, your IT department has allies in protecting company assets, client data, and employee data. IT departments would rather get a false report once in a while than be blind to attacks happening until it is possibly too late. Make employees an active part of providing the company cybersecurity protection.

Ensure Strong Passwords Are Used

What is objectively a secure password and what your employees consider a secure password is likely different. Set standards on your password usage for devices and your remote network environment.

Multi-factor authentication can be a useful tool to implement to make sure that your company and employees' cybersecurity remains strong. With many employees out of the office, the tendency can be to let these standards falter. More than ever, now is the time to maintain strong password conventions.

Take Advantage of Cloud Computing

When employees and IT departments are working together to assure security, a company has a great baseline of protection. Security, however, is built on redundancies, and working with a trusted cloud computing partner is an ideal way to add that extra level of security to your company's assets.

Having an on-premises server while employees are accessing remotely creates numerous risks. An established cloud service provides a secure framework for your remote work environment and a host of professional support specifically designed to keep company and employee data safe. Cloud services take the onsite maintenance out of your remote network environment and offers extensive cybersecurity protection that on-prem servers can’t. Breaches can be costly and time-consuming, any extra security is a solid investment.

Limit Access to Sensitive Data

Diligently controlling what employees can remotely access and which systems on your remote work environment is an essential step to creating good cybersecurity.

On the one hand, employees not having access to systems they need can result in productivity loss, or worse password and access sharing between employees. ON the other hand, employees having access to systems they do not require can create additional vulnerabilities, as well as simply confuse employees. Controlling these permissions helps create an organized workflow that promotes security and routine; two essential pillars of succeeding with a remote workforce.

Securing Your Remote Workforce

The challenges of adapting to the new model of a remote workforce can seem overwhelming, but with a few steps, your organization can maintain a secure and productive remote network environment.

As offices begin to welcome employees back, a large portion of many companies' workforce will likely remain remote into the future. Establishing good security practices now is essential. By developing your protocols, training your employees, and making sure necessary frameworks are in place, you can secure your client, company, and employee data as effectively as if employees were in your office. Protecting your company from cybersecurity threats is the first step to succeeding with the newly evolved workforce, both now and into the future.

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Carrie Flanagan

about the author

Carrie Flanagan

Carrie Flanagan-Sullivan is an Account Executive for SymQuest, based out of West Lebanon, NH and Rutland, VT. She’s passionate about empowering her clients with ways to scale up their security, and find better ways to prepare for a disaster. She utilizes trusted partnerships and a collaborative spirit to bring enterprise solutions direct to the client.