7 Important Considerations for Remote Employee Security Awareness

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7 Important Considerations for Remote Employee Security Awareness

Having employees working remotely has become the norm for many businesses in Columbus and beyond. Even once the pandemic has subsided, this is a major shift in the workplace that is going to remain for most companies.

80% of surveyed business leaders state that they are allowing employees to work remotely, and 47% of them say this will continue for the long term.

Companies have had an adjustment phase over the last year and a half to a remote work environment, and this transition has increased network security risk in many cases. 

20% of companies say they’ve had a security breach within the last year due to a remote employee.

While securing an expanded network does take some additional planning, with the use of good employee training on best practices and a remote security mindset, companies can successfully secure remote teams. 

Here are some of the employee awareness topics to keep in mind so you can enjoy the additional flexibility and productivity without increasing the risk of a malware or ransomware incident. 

Phishing Identification

Phishing emails are the main conduit for all types of attacks, from fileless malware to credential theft. When employees are remote, they can be at higher risk of falling victim to one of these attacks because they don’t have a co-worker to turn to for a second opinion when they get a strange email.

Conduct ongoing phishing identification training for your team, which includes topics such as:

  • How to reveal a fake URL by hovering over it with a cursor
  • Viewing the header source to identify a faked sender
  • Latest scams to watch out for
  • What to do if an email looks suspicious
  • Never opening file attachments from unknown senders

Use of Strong Password Security & MFA

77% of cloud account breaches are due to compromised passwords. With so much infrastructure for most companies now in the cloud, there is a lot of data only protected by user passwords.

Remote employees should use a combination that is proven to stop most fraudulent sign-in attempts, which is the use of a strong password coupled with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Network Security/VPN

It’s a challenge to keep employee data secure when it’s being transmitted over networks that you can’t control. Home Wi-Fi networks are also often less secure than corporate networks. 

You can improve remote network security with the use of a business virtual private network (VPN). It’s an easy application to use and will encrypt all data being transmitted through an employee’s device.

All users need to do is download the VPN application on their work devices, sign in with the designated account and turn the VPN on.

Wi-Fi Segmentation

A best practice for further securing communications when on a less secure network is to use Wi-Fi segmentation. This is the tactic of setting up a “guest” network on Wi-Fi and then attaching only work-related devices to that network and keeping all other home devices on the other home network.

This improves security because work devices holding sensitive business data aren’t sharing a network with less secure devices, such as a child’s Alexa device or teen’s gaming computer. This reduces the risk that a less secure device will be hacked and that hacker also being able to compromise a work PC on the same network.

Keeping Devices for Work Only

When employees are using a company-issued device at home, the line can often get blurred between “work” and “personal” use of that device. It’s important to have a policy in place that employees are to only use their business computers for work-related activities. 

Additionally, the use of the PC by other people (family, friends, etc.) should be prohibited. This can lead to a compliance breach simply based on the fact that an unauthorized person has access to sensitive business data if they use that PC.

Prompt Installation of Patches & Updates

Keeping devices promptly updated and patched is a basic best practice of IT security. If you’re leaving this in the hands of your employees, then it may not be getting done in a timely fashion. 

It’s best to use remote managed services for WFH employee PCs to ensure they’re getting updated regularly and maintained for optimized performance.

Where to Go for IT Help

Staff can often feel cut off from the support systems they had in the office when they are working from home. This can lead to security and other computer issues if they attempt to solve issues on their own that really should be handled by a professional.

Provide a resource for employees to contact by email, chat, or phone if they run into any technology issues. This increases security and can improve productivity as well because employees aren’t struggling for hours with a tech problem on their own.

Get Expert Help Managing a Secure & Productive Remote Team

AhelioTech can help your Columbus area business put remote team security and support in place to keep your business optimized no matter where employees are working.

Contact us today for a free quote. Call 614-333-0000 or reach out online.

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