Cybersecurity Awareness Month Series: Securing your Remote Employees

This week’s Cybersecurity Awareness theme is “make your home a haven for online safety”, captivating the importance of retaining cybersecurity best practices even when outside of the office. We all have a shared responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, and our businesses from cyber attacks. If you have remote employees, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to minimize cyber threat risk. To do so you should follow three best practices:

1. Install a VPN

Cyber criminals often create fake Wi-Fi hotspots disguised as trustworthy Wi-Fi sources to gain access to connected data over their unprotected hotspots. For example, a Marriott might have a Wi-Fi called “Marriot” and a hacker might create one called “Marriot Free”. Anyone connected to “Marriott Free” has exposed all their data from anything they have accessed while using the fake Wi-Fi. This “Man-in-the-Middle” attack is very common with public Wi-Fi’s. Working on public Wi-Fi makes your corporate data an easy target for hackers. The best way to prevent such an attack is to omit from utilizing public Wi-Fi for anything other than casually surfing the web unless you have a VPN (a secure tunnel back to the office).

A VPN is an encrypted “tunnel” between a user’s computer or mobile device and a server connected to the internet. With a VPN, all traffic between the company server and the user is encrypted, which would prevent a Man-in-the-Middle Wi-Fi attack. A VPN will give your employees access to company data and software resources right at the source rather than creating duplicates on their individual devices, which are innately less secure. Your cybersecurity policies should outline the importance of avoiding public Wi-Fi and always utilizing a VPN.

2. Enforce All Cybersecurity Policies

Sufficient cybersecurity policies won’t mean anything without enforcement. Your policies should reiterate the importance of minimizing cyber risk in the office and when working remotely. Ongoing education for all employees is critical for policy enforcement. By continuously learning about and practicing good cybersecurity hygiene when working remotely, you will help reduce the possibility of your data being breached.

3. Protect Your Technology

In addition to enforcing cybersecurity policies, you should always take preventive cyber breach action by protecting your technology. Allowing employees to work remotely without protecting your technology with security software is the equivalent of driving a car without wearing a seatbelt; you may or may not crash. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

It is inherently common for SMBs to utilize the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach. In a previous post (found here) we discussed the importance of adapting Mobile Device Management (MDM) in correlation with the BYOD approach. This ensures that you are keeping your corporate data and processes safe without intruding on your employee’s personal space. In addition to this tactic, there are many others you can utilize to protect your corporate technology. This includes antivirus, web filtering, next generation firewalls, device and email encryption, and multi factor authentication. All of which establish a more secure remote environment.

For more tips minimizing cyber risk, download the “Hacker Report” using the button below. Remember to utilize this week to evaluate your current remote worker policies and procedures and take progressive action. Follow our blog all month long for more awareness tips.

 

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