Home offices are here to stay. While remote employees value telecommuting more than a pay raise, businesses save tremendously on office rent and equipment. However, remote companies are at a higher risk of being hacked than on-site organizations. Not only is it harder to make sure workers access data via a secure Wi-Fi connection, but there’s also a greater chance of employees forgetting to update software and using work devices for personal use. That’s why it’s essential that remote companies have strict cybersecurity policies and the right software in place. Here, we compiled seven of the best tips to secure your home office:
Have Work-Only Devices
It’s common practice for traditional businesses to give employees the devices they need to perform their roles. But that’s not what happens in remote companies, where employees often use their personal laptops and smartphones for work. While we understand that small businesses may not have the money to invest in IT equipment, it’s highly recommended that employees have separate devices for work and personal use.
People might be more careful when they browse the web while on the job, but the same can’t be said when they’re relaxing after work. From installing pirated software to visiting unsecure websites, there’s a high chance that an employee may accidentally infect their computer, which will then infect the company’s network.
Protect Your Network With a VPN
On-site businesses spend a lot of money ensuring that the office network is as secure as possible. Usually, there’s an IT team on top of all the security settings and making sure that best practices are being followed. However, remote employees will either use their own network or public Wi-Fi. This is extremely unsafe, as hackers can easily access employees’ devices by exploiting a network’s weaknesses. Fortunately, VPNs are an easy way to fight off these criminals, as they encrypt data before it leaves an employee’s device. In other words, even if a hacking attempt is successful, the hacker won’t be able to decrypt the information and see what the remote worker is doing.
Use Secure Cloud Data Storage
All companies need to have a smooth information flow to succeed. After all, businesses can only thrive if there’s teamwork amongst employees. But how do you safely share important documents full of sensitive information when everyone is working from home? Obviously, you can’t use an internal network, so your best option is to get secure cloud data storage. Since everything is stored on the cloud, employees can safely get the documents they need whenever they want. Just don’t forget to use a VPN while downloading and uploading files to make sure hackers can’t steal information while in transit.
Create Strong Passwords
Having strong passwords is essential to guarantee security for both on-site and remote businesses. But it’s even more important to follow password best practices when employees work from home. The reason is very simple: remote employees usually have more platforms to log into, which increases the number of credentials to manage. As you probably know, using repeated or easy-to-guess passwords is a big no-no, but it’s also true that no one is able to remember dozens of long and completely random passwords. That’s where password managers come in, as they save credentials in secure vaults and allow for secure password sharing.
Communication is vital for any business. Employees need to exchange ideas, follow up on tasks, and provide performance reports. These conversations often include sensitive information regarding your services or customers, which can ruin your business if accessed by a third party. So, it’s essential to use communication platforms that offer end-to-end encryption, allowing employees to speak to coworkers without the fear of someone eavesdropping. In cases where email is still a prevalent form of communication, we also recommend using a secure email service.
Update Your Software Regularly
There's no such thing as perfect software. That's why developers need to continuously fix issues, even years after an app has been launched. While some of these updates correct small bugs and glitches, others have important security fixes. Hackers are always on the lookout for these major changes, as they know that some companies take a long time to update their software, making it easy to exploit businesses using outdated versions. If a remote worker fails to update their software right away, then they're putting the entire company in danger. Antiviruses are even more important to update, as their malware databases are constantly being expanded and improved – essential to protect the user's computer.
Employees will only apply all of these tips if they get proper cybersecurity training. It's important that managers explain the dangers lurking online and give specific examples of how a successful hacking attempt can mean a business's demise. So, take the time to properly train remote workers on how to be secure while working from their home offices.