Five simple methods to secure your remote staff
The coming of a remote working environment has thrown up new challenges for a business. With employees now working from outside the traditional office setup and devices, there is likely a chance of your staff using public WiFi system and other unsecured networks to complete their assignment. As a result, there is a higher risk of compromising data to hackers and their devices misplaced or stolen.
In this article, we will look at security tips suggested by Malwarebyes after their detailed study on how companies can protect both employer and personal devices in a remote working environment.
Give your employees the necessary tools to succeed — both devices and data access.
Giving more devices to your employees means more points of access and more access points and thus more prone to a vulnerable environment. You may want to give a new employee with the latest smartphone so that he or she can work from home. But, think again, not everyone needs the latest device to complete their job. Assess their job profile and their needs accordingly and give devices as per their job requirements.
For instance, your customer support team which help clients who are outside the country will require devices having international calling plans, but your front office staff need not use smartphone devices at all to perform their work.
In addition, give data access to only those employees who need to perform data-related tasks. Fewer people having access to sensitive data means lesser chances of a security breach. Just as not every employee does not require smart devices, not all your employees need deeper access to your company’s data and cloud accounts, either.
Require all employees to use passwords on company-provided gadgets.
To protect your company’s devices and ensure security, all the gadget that is assigned to your employees must be password protected. They should treat company provided-gadgets like the laptop, smartphone and tablet just as their own personal devices. If an unprotected device is lost or stolen there is every possibility of crucial data being in the hands of dangerous elements. From the company’s emails to clients’ sensitive data could be compromised. It could bring a bad name to your company if the news gets out.
Some of your employees may also use cloud services to store apps, files and other work-related documents. These critical data must be password protected and your company must use password managers that come with two-factor authentication (2FA) process. This will not only save a lot of time for the employees as they don’t have to remember dozens of passwords, but also make company data more secure.
Use single sign-on (SSO) & 2FA for all business services.
To limit the loss of sensitive data from lost or stolen company devices, you must implement an SSO solution when staff want access to data which are available on your platforms or server.
A single sign-on (SSO) comes with two benefits. One, your workers need not have to remember a host of passwords for every application. Second, you can easily set up an SSO service that will require a secondary method of authentication — often an SMS code to a mobile phone – when they want to log in. If you can implement these two security measures, the thief will not be able to access any important online accounts. You can check out Okta and OneLogin – they are the preferred single sign-on providers for small and medium businesses.
Install remote wiping features on company-provided gadgets.
Let’s assume that your company-provided gadgets have been password-protected and fitted with a two-factor authentication process. Very Good! But, how do you protect your company from an employee who has gone rogue?
To mitigate this security threat, you must install remote-wiping applications on all your company-provided gadgets. The software will empower your company not only to wipe clean the device but also locate him and lockout the current user. Some phonemakers have included features like Find my iPhone (Apple) and Find my Mobile (Samsung). These two features enable companies to locate the holder of the smart devices, lock the screen and erase all locally stored data.
Implement and ensure better policy on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
It makes sense to have to Bring Your Own Device policy as employees prefer using their own devices with which they are much more familiar. IT will also cut down your hardware costs. But, this convenient method comes with high-security risks. What happens when their personal device is lost or hacked? Sometimes there are also chances of higher expense even if BYOD is followed. Your company may have to spend extra money on buying licensed software which will be installed on your employees’ personal devices. Besides, the personal devices could also be used by employees’ family members during which they could inadvertently access, send, and even delete your company data.
To address these risks, you must ensure strict policies when employees use their personal devices to do their jobs. Some of the things you could implement are:
- Encrypt all local data on employees’ personal gadgets.
- Use passcode/password on all personal gadgets.
- Install and Enable “Find my Mobile” or similar security features on all personal gadgets.
- Do not permit jailbreaking of personal gadgets.
- Allow only select devices for select employees.
To effectively secure your workforce who work remotely from home and other places requires a multi-pronged approach. Implementing some of these security measures will ensure the safety of your data and employees devices from being misused.