In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded 1.4 million cybercrime complaints – an increase of around 750,000, from the year prior. The most numerous complaint was identity theft – and the time period reported in these statistics correlates directly to the shift from office work to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This should serve as a stark warning to businesses and individuals to harden cybersecurity – since a large amount of workers are still fully remote, and the rest on some sort of hybrid schedule. It’s clear that remote work is not going away, so business owners need to think about ways to protect the information they store online and in the cloud. Here are some low cost, simple remote work cybersecurity solutions to consider.
Train Remote Work Employees on Basic Cybersecurity Practices
Implementing a training program for remote work employees is the first and most important step to combating cybersecurity issues. Policy changes (such as making sure to read destination URLS and full email addresses to avoid phishing attacks) coupled with basic internet security training (such as not clicking suspicious links or using company property for private browsing/downloads) can make a huge difference. Aside from taking time, this solution is free and will drastically improve your remote worker’s cybersecurity.
Establish a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network (VPN) is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connections through the use of dedicated circuits or with tunneling protocols over existing networks, and is a great way to protect sensitive information for remote workers. VPNs allow users to send and receive data as if their computing devices were connected to a private network like the would be at a brick-and-mortar office. However, understand that while VPNs can protect IP addresses and add encryption to a remote worker’s physical connection – they are not antiviral or antimalware solutions. Additionally, not all VPNs use the same security standards, so you should do some research before getting your team on a VPN.
Revisit Your Password Policy
Gone are the days of the post-it note on the corner of the monitor! Having a strong password policy is key in the remote work era. Enabling 2 or multifactor authentication can be a great step if paired with training, and the use of password manager can prevent keyloggers from stealing keystrokes, Password managers both store passwords in an encrypted database and generate passwords on demand – with nothing more than a click.
Update Your Software
On both your website and productivity suite, an outdated program is a vulnerability (indeed, the vast majority of updates are security related). Be sure all of your software is frequently updated manually or set to auto-update.
Access Tiering and Restriction
Employees should be able to access the systems and files they need to do their job – and that’s it. Isolating users and systems protects the whole sytem from cybersecurity threats, because if/when a user is compromised, they will naturally have limited access to your data.
Create Backup, Lockdown, Clean Sweep, and Restore Protocols
Planning is key, and you should absolutely have a periodic, rolling backup for all essential files and information. With a reliable backup – you can then establish procedures that lock your system down in case of a breach, delete everything sensitive, and get you back online with only a short downtime.
Hackers, scammers, and phishers can’t gain access to your vital systems if you don’t have them in-house. Protecting sensitive parts of your business (like payroll!) via outsourcing can be the difference between a bit of down time and a total business loss.
The Remote Work Era Requires New Security Practices
Businesses need to put cybersecurity practices at the top of their to-do lists, especially in the current economic reality we find ourselves in. While some of the measures listed here aren’t free, they cost far less than a breach. As mentioned above, outsourcing is an excellent method for protecting your security interests in the age of remote work. Whether you’re a small, medium or enterprise level business, we provide an outstanding outsourced payroll solution. If you’re ready to learn more, fill out the form below!