One key element of the remote work movement is making sure everything stays safe and secure—a task that is challenging in a decentralized workspace. Here are a few things to consider to keep your business secure as the shift toward remote work speeds up.
The State of Online Security in the Remote Work Era
The pandemic led to a rapid shift to a remote framework for many businesses. However, since then, it’s become clear that most employees don’t see the world going back to pre-pandemic ways.
Nearly three out of four professionals see remote work as the standard of the future. In addition, 61% prefer working fully remotely and 97% don’t want to go back to full-time in-office operations.
With that said, this new emphasis on a distributed work environment opens up the doors to an already old enemy: cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity risks have been a thing for years now. However, the new focus on remote work environments has dramatically increased the threat as employees log in from an endless variety of devices and networks located all around the world.
How to Keep Your Remote-Friendly Business Secure
Remote work is here to stay. That means business owners and managers need to figure out how to keep their virtual work environments safe moving forward.
There are many specific ways to do this, and each situation warrants its own tailored solution. However, there are several tenets to the remote-work cybersecurity mantra that can be applied everywhere. Here are three essential areas of security that companies must address as they move into a remote-friendly 21st-century world.
1. Set Up the Right Tools and Processes
It’s difficult to maintain security if you don’t have the tools to do so. With that in mind, start the process by identifying the best tools and business processes required to keep your remote team safe. This process will vary depending on the remote infrastructure that you have in place, but there are a few common factors.
For instance, choose tried and true remote work tools like Zoom, Slack, and Box. Well-established third-party SaaS tools have a built-in responsibility to stay up-to-date, functional — and safe. In addition, make sure to utilize safe security measures as you set up accounts and passwords. IdP software solutions are constantly creating innovative security solutions, like Okta’s single sign-on (SSO) solution, that enable employees to quickly and safely access the areas of your remote network that they are privy to.
2. Keep Hardware Safe and Up To Date
Along with setting up secure tools and procedures, it’s important to maintain and update your team’s hardware. Alan Paller, the director of research at the cybersecurity-focused SANS institute, suggests two ways to do this.
First, make sure that your employees have installed security software on all of their remote devices. There are many reputable third-party providers, like Norton and McAfee, that make this possible. Second, encourage them — through training, reminders, etc. — to maintain good computer hygiene. This consists of basic-yet-essential activities, like installing security patches as soon as they arrive and using the latest versions of your software tools.
3. Train Your Staff
Forbes previously asked several of its council members about how to preserve security in a remote work environment. The first response on the list came from Josh Eaton, CEO of Reaktiv, who chose to focus on two critical areas.
First, Eaton suggested putting a clear security policy in place to guide your business. There are many templates available that can help streamline this process.
While this is a good initial step, though, the CEO recommended following this up with training. Again, this doesn’t have to be a complex or expensive endeavor. It simply involves taking the time to inform your staff about security concerns and train them to on things like how to use good computer hygiene. This ensures that your employees are aware of the threats that they face and are able to take steps to prevent them.
The remote world is a blessing in many ways. However, as with all business-related activities, there’s always a “two-edged sword” element to consider. In the case of remote work, one of the biggest concerns is keeping a business secure. Make sure that your company is considering the foundational cybersecurity elements listed above as you lead your company into the brave new world that lies ahead.