Remote work comes with several advantages and disadvantages. Today, we’re going to focus on one of the disadvantages – potential security breaches – and how you can decrease the security risks inherent in remote work.
When all of your employees are in-office, it’s much easier to notice potential security risks, and to address those risks before they develop into something more problematic. With at-home setups, you have less control – so it’s important to spend the time to set things up properly.
Setting your remote network up right
The first step to addressing cybersecurity concerns is ensuring that your team’s home offices are properly configured. There are a number of steps you can take to accomplish this.
First, your team member’s home office setup should be as similar as possible to their at-work setup. That means every device should be connected to the computer – and to other devices – in the same way as they’re connected to each other in the office.
It can be helpful to make a checklist of every item your team members will need. You should also encourage (or even require) your team members to take pictures of their setup, to ensure that everything remains consistent.
Using software for added security
From there, there’s a lot of technical setup to be done. Some of it is relatively easy to explain. These steps include:
- Ensuring every team member has automatic Windows Updates enabled, and checking for updates
- Ensuring that anti-virus/anti-malware software is up-to-date
- Explaining how to connect to the company’s VPN, and ensuring that the VPN isn’t connected to automatically
- Uninstalling old/outdated/unnecessary programs
- Uninstalling as many Chrome/Firefox extensions as possible (many older extensions have security vulnerabilities or were purchased by malicious actors)
Then, there are things that are a bit more complicated to set up. Everyone working remotely should use a separate network for their work and home devices. Not every router is capable of doing this – and if you’re not tech-minded, a secondary network can be a hassle to set up.
You’ll also want to ensure that computers on your network are equipped with DNS filters. They can block access to malicious websites. There are many other security features that become more important when you have a remote network, like managed detection and response. When your network is more vulnerable, you want to deploy as many security measures as possible.
Work-from-home best practices
Many of the security threats posed by at-home work don’t come from malice – they come from ignorance. A child might decide to play on their parent’s work computer, find a password scribbled on a note, and download malware. A team member might decide that checking their personal email and downloading an exciting new game on their work computer is a good idea – only to find they’ve been phished.
These are the types of scenarios that can only be controlled by disseminating knowledge of best practices. Team members working remotely should be strongly encouraged to:
- Use different passwords for their work computer
- Not leave passwords lying around
- Not open their personal email/social media/etc. on their work computer
- Avoid clicking suspicious links/opening suspicious emails
- Reporting suspicious behavior to their IT department
This is only scratching the surface of the many steps you’ll need to take to ensure your network is secure when your workforce goes remote. If you’re feeling overwhelmed already, don’t worry: we’re here to help. Our San Antonio IT Services include comprehensive support for your remote workforce, whether you’re already working remotely or you’re just beginning to transition to remote work.