How to make remote work a safe choice for employees?

Bálint Erényi at December 14, 2022

What started as a necessity, ended up being a possibility. The pandemic made some sudden changes in our life, and a way of working which we’ve already known before, has come into the spotlight: remote working.

Making employees to work remotely was an obvious solution for containing the virus, but is posed several concerns as well regarding the work itself.

When our employees are working in our office, an environment we control, maintaining cybersecurity is totally up to us. But working remotely from home poses challenges and exposes our business to cybersecurity risks.

Let’s see a few practices, which can help us and our employees to keep sensitive data from anyone, who has no business seeing it.

Antivirus, making the internet really a safe place.

If you have security measures at your office, why not provide the same protection to your employees working remotely?

An effective tool for protecting sensitive data during remote work is an antivirus suite covering everyone. Cybercrime accounts to more than 1 billion USD damage to businesses around the world, which come in the form of ransomware attacks, DDoS attacks, malware, spyware and all kinds of breaches.

What antivirus does is to offer automatic security during remote work against all of the above plus trojans, phishing scams, etc.

It does so running silently in the background on the employee’s computer, not disturbing them during their work.

Employee education and training.

Your employees have gone through several trainings during the onboarding process, so some education concerning remote work shouldn’t come as a surprise.

You should remind them to handle their work tools as such, even at home, so remind them to keep their devices safe, and not let other family members access their computers. The importance of password strength also can’t be overemphasized. But strength is not everything of course, even the strongest password can be cracked sometimes, so employees should take heed and update their passwords regularly from time to time.

But the first thing you should start with, is to create a well-documented, easy-to-read security policy for remote work, which should cover everything your employees should keep in mind when working from home.

Strengthening your VPN.

When emplyees work remotely from home, they’ll probably use a Virtual Private Network to connect to the database of your business. But this connection opens new tunnels and back doors for hackers to infiltrate your sensitive information network.

So first and foremost, you should exploit ways and opportunities to make your VPN as secure as possible. You can do this by implementing a very strong authentication method. VPNs can be limited to access using specific usernames and passwords, but the smartest and most secure way to do it when dealing with remote work would be using smart cards. But amplifying the encryption method for VPN by upgrading tunnelling protocols would make all your IT professionals sleep easy.

VPN should also not be used all the time, instead employees should use it when they need it and switch it off if they are surfing the internet for personal and private use. 

An other thing to keep in mind is that even though your employees are using a well-secured VPN, they are doing so with their home networks and internet connections. So a part of the employee cybersecurity training could be how to keep their own networks safe with certain configuration and firewalls.

Store your data in a centralized way

When it comes to cybersecurity in remote work, keeping everything at the same place doesn’t make you vulnerable, quite the contrary

By now, your business is probably storing your data on a cloud or on a server, which is wise, and you should therefore ask your employees to use said storage. Make sure they are aware of your storage policies and are familiar with how to do so. 

In remote work, workers are tempted to store their work files locally, which makes your business data and sensitive information vulnerable. Try to push them towards storing everything instead in your centralized storage, which is much easier to protect with a firewall safeguarding it.

This way, if anything goes missing, it is much more likely to have a back-up of it, thus saving your company and business a lot of trouble.