Guide to Keeping Your Company’s Remote Workers Safe Online

Many companies and organizations are finding it difficult to ensure the security of their remote workers. With the increasing risk of cyber-attacks, and the lack of on-site IT support, it is essential for both employers and employees to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

It is evident that not everyone will possess the same level of understanding or approach to cyber security, despite some individuals potentially being more tech-savvy than others. As a consequence, it is essential to ensure the highest level of protection for remote workers and equip yourself with the most effective tools to combat any potential cybercriminal activity. To help in this regard, methods that have proven successful in maintaining a company’s security while the owner is away are outlined below.

Identify Danger

Email is a common method of infiltration for cybercriminals, and some of the threats can be hard to identify. For example, emails claiming to offer a free trip are usually fraudulent, but others may be more difficult to detect. It is important to remain vigilant and be aware of the potential risks posed by emails.

The 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) revealed that 94% of malware was delivered over email, thus rendering employees of all levels susceptible to attack. Given that employees are unable to communicate with one another with the same degree of ease as in a traditional office environment, these emails may potentially be more successful than usual at present.

If you receive an email from an unknown or suspicious sender, it is advised to exercise extreme caution. There are various ways in which malicious emails can be identified, however it is important to remain vigilant and look out for these signs:

  • Addresses for electronic mail that include extra characters
  • The use of incorrect language and spelling
  • The feeling of urgency has intensified
  • Email attachments that are irrelevant to the subject matter

It is important to be aware of common phishing email techniques, particularly in the new context of remote working and the security of remote employees. Refreshing one’s memory on such matters is essential.

At any time there is cause for concern regarding the authenticity of an email, it is recommended to contact the IT staff at the company to discuss the worries. Companies are taking several measures to protect against potential risks, such as the implementation of Identity and Access Management solutions. This includes systems such as single sign-on, multi-factor authentication and zero-trust access. It is important to be aware that a careless mistake by an employee could lead to security issues throughout the organization.

Make Sure Passwords Are Secure

When it comes to safeguarding the data of remote workers, an organization’s approach to password management is paramount, as just one compromised password could put the entire system at risk. Unfortunately, the importance of passwords is not fully appreciated by many. According to a Google survey, 52% of users use the same password across multiple accounts. Consequently, if there is a security breach on one site, the intruder will have access to all other accounts that utilize the same password.

Many organizations have adopted password management solutions such as LastPass to manage their password requirements. These solutions make it easier to manage separate password vaults, add or remove personnel, and synchronize across devices in the cloud, making the process highly efficient. As passwords are such an easy target for cybercriminals, it is important to prioritize their protection for remote employees.

Maintain Constant Equipment Upgrades

Software incompatibility is a common source of cybersecurity concerns, with 27% of respondents in a Tripwire poll reporting that their workplace has suffered a data breach due to an unpatched vulnerability. This figure rises to 34% in Europe. As technologies evolve and develop at varying speeds, it is important to ensure that systems are regularly updated to avoid security risks.

When it comes to safeguarding the data of remote workers, it is essential to ensure that all hardware and software is kept up-to-date. Regular patches or updates should be implemented in order to close any identified security vulnerabilities. To ensure optimal computer performance, businesses should actively encourage the monitoring of updates and regular computer reboots.

It can be tempting to delay installing system updates, as this may require a restart of the computer. However, neglecting to install updates for an extended period of time can lead to more serious issues for the organization. Establishing a culture of strong cyber security protocols can help to create positive habits and save resources for the enterprise.

Cybersecurity for Remote Workers: A Vital Topic

It is imperative that all staff understand the importance of following the remote workers’ cybersecurity guidelines. According to a survey by Shred-it, a document shredding business, 96% of Americans believe that employee negligence is a contributing factor to data breaches at U.S. corporations. If employees do not view the training as important or do not adhere to the policies, a company’s efforts to educate them will be wasted.

It is advised that, in addition to engaging in external cybersecurity courses, a tailored small business cybersecurity checklist should be established for your needs. This checklist should be stored in a centralized and easily accessible location, and should include not only the standard procedures that should be implemented, but also any new procedures that the company may be introducing. Such strategies may include establishing mandatory password policies, utilizing company-issued devices and avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi. Furthermore, recording all of these details in a comprehensive guide or handbook can help reduce the risk of false information being circulated and simplify future training.

In order to demonstrate their commitment to the subject and offer their employees an opportunity to broaden their understanding, companies may benefit from providing regular cyber security training.

A recent survey conducted by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) found that 36% of respondents felt their employer should provide more cybersecurity training, with nearly a third stating that much more training was necessary. It is essential that all employees, regardless of their role, have a basic understanding of cybersecurity, although certain positions may require a more comprehensive knowledge.

No business, regardless of size, should neglect cybersecurity for remote workers. A Fundera study revealed that “43% of cyberattacks target small businesses”, despite some owners believing their company is too insignificant to be hacked. This represents a staggering 424% increase from the previous year, and could be linked to smaller organizations often having fewer cybersecurity measures and being more susceptible to attack.

It is possible to reduce the risk of successful phishing attacks by providing training to employees to recognize potential dangers and ensuring they remain vigilant when working remotely. Establishing robust password policies can help ensure that everyone adheres to the required security levels. Outdated hardware may still be vulnerable to exploits from older software, but this can be remedied with regular updates. Improving employee knowledge and understanding of the importance of cyber security and its implementation can help to foster cooperation.

It is essential that your organization and its employees are equipped with the necessary security measures to protect their data in the digital space, as this is essential for the growth and success of the business. As remote working continues to increase, the importance of ensuring these measures are in place for all workers is paramount.

If you are in need of advice on effective remote working practices, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our services have enabled many businesses to source, recruit and retain the highest caliber of IT professionals, worldwide, in order to better manage their remote workforce.

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