The popularity of working remotely is increasing thanks to the technological development and communication accessibility that makes working from almost any place in the world possible. For many, working remotely became a synonym of dream life, more and more companies hire remotely and independent contractors pick up the digital nomad lifestyle.
Unfortunately, with technology development, there are a lot of cyber threats now that make companies think twice about allowing remote work and can complicate the work of the employees. As technology evolves, so does the cybercrime, becoming more skillful and creative in its attacks.
At Trio, as a fully remote software engineering company, we know firsthand about the importance of cybersecurity for remote work that concerns both our team and our clients. Even though it can be a bit of a headache for everyone involved, it is crucial to keep your devices secure, because it can put at risk everyone in the company and result in significant financial losses.
What causes cyber risks?
If your company is working with sensitive data, has a large user database or is involved in financial operations, you might pay extra attention to ensure your security measures are in place. While it might be much easier to keep the information safe while everyone is working in the same office, with the distributed employee networks you face the threat from unprotected home and public network access.
Surprisingly, another reason why cyber threats appear besides unprotected Wi-Fi networks is a simple lack of awareness. Numerous companies don’t educate their employees about the threats and risks that they can face in the digital world leading to an uninformed approach (or no approach at all) to this matter.
Another important thing to mention is endpoint security that is the last line of defense of business with remote employees from cyber criminals. According to a 2018 State of Endpoint Security Report, the average time to patch critical software and operating systems is 102 days which leaves sensitive data and systems vulnerable to a cyber attack for more than three months. Endpoint security includes updating operating systems and software, using anti-virus programs and network firewalls.
Data breaches happen all the time, but we only pay attention to the biggest ones, like the one that happened to Yahoo in 2013 when 3 billion user records were affected. Of course, cyber attacks of this size are extremely rare, but no one likes to hand over their personal information to a stranger.
How to protect your company and remote employees
Forewarned is forearmed. Once you know that there are threats out there and what can compromise your security, you can make sure that risks are minimized and possible problems are prevented. You can’t totally eliminate the possibility of a cyber attack by 100% but you can do your best to reduce the likelihood of it happening.
Start by with the obvious - educating your employees, both onsite and remote ones, about cybersecurity best practices and procedures. It also helps to have documented it in company policies so that your employees know exactly how you expect them to proceed with remote working and network access.
Regular training and informing your employees about cybersecurity developments, new technology, and possible scams can significantly lower the chances of them getting affected by the unscrupulous cyber criminals.
Monitor company-issued devices
While privacy and trust are important things to consider here, monitoring company-issued devices can help you keep them up to date with anti-virus software, analyze the potential point of exposure to security threats, and if employees are honoring the security protocols imposed by the company.
Establish company security protocols
Having a centralized strategy to ensure security within the company can help to make sure that everyone is following protocol and not exposing the sensitive information to cyber risks. This policy can include case studies, examples, suggestions on how to respond if you suspect a cyber threat, the programs that the employees need to use to create strong passwords, etc.
A unified policy that all employees agree to follow upon onboarding to the company will ensure that your business is protected from data breaches. The employees need to acknowledge their agreement and confirmation with the security protocol.
Use cloud applications
Opting for cloud service providers helps you to maintain a high level of security as they use data encryption technology to transfer confidential information. Now that blockchain is also being used in cloud software, it will be even more secure thanks to the technology and the cost will go down.
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is one of the best ways to secure the work of remote employees. No matter where they are located, a VPN helps to increase the security of their web session, transferred data, financial transactions, and personal information.
If you or your remote employees suspect that an account has been compromised, it needs to but shut down immediately, to avoid loss of confidential information and user data.
There are many ways hackers can attack your business infrastructure and they develop more every day. At Trio, we pay close attention to ensuring that our remote employees and clients are protected from cyber attacks. We would like to remind you one more time that it will cost you less to establish and maintain cybersecurity practices rather than deal with the consequences of a data breach. Make sure that your company is protected!