Remote work is critical as employers establish their new normal, but it’s also a gateway for cyberattacks. Weak defense systems are easily breached by attackers who are constantly finding loopholes in the overall security systems of large and small enterprises. Not only are attacks on the rise, but some data is destroyed, not just encrypted.

How do organizations fight back? By asserting that cybersecurity is every employee’s responsibility. Below are some tips to empower your staff:

Employee Training

Human error happens, and it’s one of the most common risks to network and IT infrastructure.  Companies need to provide employees with the tools and knowledge to circumvent a potential cyberattack. Start by setting up regular trainings. Topics should include corporate VPN use, secure routers, password updates and suspicious email avoidance, which are critical to maintaining always-on corporate networks.

Control Access

A mistake that often goes unnoticed is providing the permissions of systems, applications or resources to everyone in the company. Encourage your IT staff to define access and user management permissions. For example, an operations manager doesn’t need access to proposals in the marketing department.

Network security relies on both the employee and the employer. Procedures should be developed to ensure employees report issues or possible breaches as early as possible.

Don’t Share Sensitive Information Over Email

Sharing sensitive information (like login credentials) over email invites trouble. (This happens more often than you’d think.) Since emails aren’t encrypted and are transferred as text, hackers may find a loophole in the network and gain access.

IT policies should restrict the use of chat messages, emails and instant messaging platforms to share confidential details that may impact a company’s data security.

Ditch Public Wi-Fi

We’ve all used free public Wi-Fi to access emails or login to our work account. However, public networks aren’t secure and give cyber criminals an easy connection to sensitive data. Security experts recommend not using public Wi-Fi connections for online banking, sharing confidential business details and logging into a company portal.

Company Devices Only

Company devices (such as laptops, smartphones and tablets) are always equipped with an additional layer of security, which has been vetted by your IT department. Corporate equipment is updated and well-protect against security threats.  

Employees who use their own devices for work tasks present a higher cyberattack risk since most off-the-shelf products lack basic defense systems. Moreover, personal devices also are more susceptible to security breaches when they are connected to public Wi-Fi. Organizations should require employees to use company devices and password protected Wi-Fi while they are working.

Regular Data Log Reviews

Every organization must routinely review data storage along with storage hardware and methods for enhanced security.

Remote work demands the precise curation of data logs and access lists recording along with the correct date and time. This strengthens the overall line of defense against unauthorized access with timely reporting to minimize the loss. Consistent monitoring of these data access logs also minimizes risk.

The hybrid workforce will be one of the long lasting impacts of the pandemic, and this environment is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. However, proactive corporate policies, enforcement and educating your workforce are positive steps to reduce the threats.

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