In the earlier article, “The Top 4 key Cybersecurity Risks in 2022” we focused on the crucial threats coming at our digital framework and network systems every day. It deals with the latest and most malicious invasion of our data and privacy, namely, ransomware. Also, it covers all the latter’s proverbial “close family” in viral contamination that’s emerging as the real enemy to modern business.
Talking about the latest on the commercial front, one can’t miss that the traditional working-in-the-office culture has shifted to new borders created by remote working. Companies are growing more and more comfortable with their staff providing services from the comfort of their residences. This new normal of a home office allows the company to shed expensive office space leases, cut travel time, and boost morale without losing any efficiencies.
The one big hassle is bridging the digital infrastructure gaps that allow employees to stay connected with management and project teams. The front and center of this are cybersecurity concerns (highlighted in the article referred to above). Most crucially, how do you address these with your employees out there in the somewhat new remote working environment?
What are the most important things companies can do to achieve optimal remote security?
1. Robust Training Programs
Did you know that most cracks in the digital barricades occur following the careless actions of staff? For example, opening a suspicious email can usher in a heap of trouble that’s difficult to find and erase once embedded in the files.
Cyber-criminals rely on internal inefficiencies to assist their machinations. Until now, they haven’t been disappointed and with remote working in the mix, they’re even more encouraged. Therefore, training should be top of the list, creating a group mindset to be ever vigilant.
In other words, if anything unusual appears on the internet in emails or through social media, no matter how minor or innocuous it seems, employees should alert the IT heads. In a nutshell, every person employed by the business, especially when working from home, should be wary and ready to sound the alarm bells.
So, educate every employee who uses a company device (in and out of the office) on the protocols for cyber-protection and the necessity to stay vigilant. It’s vital that the entire staff shares in the cybersecurity responsibility and signs off on it. How do you do this?
- Commission the IT department to draw up a set of rules and guidelines (i.e., a cybersecurity policy), attuned explicitly to finding trouble before it finds you.
- Develop podcasts (or YouTube videos) on the subject, reminding employees of the unique responsibilities accompanying the use of corporate devices and software out of the office.
2. Reorientate your IT team
Old habits die hard. Until now, IT teams focus has been on systems designed for people interactions mostly in a concentrated space (i.e., the office) – not in locations spread far and wide. Old IT thinking has severe limitations however, with AI Transformation, companies are looking beyond. Instead, they need to shift their sights, ensuring that every home unit functions as tightly and safely as if the operators were sitting shoulder to shoulder at their desks.
What it boils down to is that IT should structure the corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN) to cover all home offices, which means nailing down that:
- The approved firewalls are functioning well.
- Passwords meet acceptable standards (especially on each home’s Wi-Fi)
- All the right equipment, firmware, and apps are in place.
In short, the IT professionals must change over to an expansive outward overview, taking in a diverse spread of IT cybersecurity issues.
3. Make sure the VPN is up to speed
Employees working from home are inevitably going to depart the house to get a change of scenery. Therefore, the cybersecurity policy mentioned in (1) above must go overboard on things like leaving devices in cars and patching into public Wi-Fi systems.
In the latter case, the VPN should encrypt the internet traffic passing through their devices, pinpoint and erase infections. One crucial thing to note here: not all VPNs reflect the same capabilities. We recommend working with a provider that can:
- Meet the highest standards of excellence
- Simultaneously, keep the cost down so that it makes ROI sense.
4. Password Management
Of course, in all these tips, there’s overlap. For example, remote working employees’ training and dealing with cybersecurity policy (see above) should establish a password variation strategy, changing them regularly. However, PM deserves its own slot in this conversation.
We suggest appointing a human or ML password manager to randomly generate passwords for employees in remote locations with secure cloud or on-premises storage. It’s a proactive and decisive step that ensures password protection remains front and center in a dynamic and organized manner. Also, passwords align closely with decisions of who in the company is allowed to see what. Data access is by no means a free-for-all, so password management and filtering them through to the appropriate people – no matter where they sit – is a daunting but essential challenge to overcome.
5. Make encryption software integral to the remote working environment
It creates peace of mind knowing that if any device or files are stolen or lost, they are encryption protected, SaaS developers have made significant strides in the encryption arena, protecting digital assets in file format, emails and texting content, and applications.
The transition to remote working raises encryption protocols to high on the list of cybersecurity priorities. So, the bottom line is that everything moving between co-workers, sometimes at high velocity, qualifies for encryption.
6. Insert Firewalls, Antivirus Software and Anti-Malware into the remote network system
We briefly mentioned all the items under this heading above under the VPN capabilities. Management must leave no stone unturned in providing remote working employees with watertight firewalls. It involves installing virus protection software on computers, tablets, and mobile devices in the home offices.
Moreover, a disaster capability of wiping storage clean in the event of theft or loss is critical wherever data is extra-sensitive. It’s not a massive leap to tie most mobile device management platforms into a protection strategy that’s so comprehensive.
7. Exceptional Attention
When remote working is in the equation, management should appreciate that integrating VPNs, firewalls, anti-virus protection, and passwords is easy for some but not so much for others. Unfortunately, an organization’s cybersecurity protection is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.
Consequently, we suggest highlighting the employees most likely to encounter obstacles. Then, establish an exception schedule where anyone experiencing technology difficulties can get the support, they need to keep pace with the rest of the company. It may mean allocating more than double the time per average employee to these individuals, but it should result in things motoring along at an acceptable rate.
Remote work doesn’t automatically assume that cyber-insecurity converges on the system. Take care of education, setting policy, and integrating all the relevant software features, paying particular attention to the “slower learners,” and things can progress relatively effortlessly. At the same time, it provides the opportunity to engage with employees in a different dimension and show that the company cares about them and their personal goals.
Got questions? Learn more about AI & ML Powered Managed Security Services.