Not only have we seen a quick shift from in-person work environments to virtual or hybrid models this year, but we have also seen productivity remain stable. In fact, according to a 2020 study, remote employees reported working 1.4 more days per month than their office-bound counterparts. Another study reported that the percentage of individuals who are permanently working remotely is expected to double in 2021 due to the increased productivity exhibited this year. From less water-cooler talk to eliminating traffic stresses and delays, remote work has actually been a boost to productivity.
The next step? Securing these remote employees. Here are 5 best practices to do just that.
Implementing and enforcing two-factor authentication across business lines will reduce cybersecurity risk and provide greater application access control. One technology company reported a 38.2% reduction in security issues after adding two-factor authentication across their organization.
This is an evergreen data security best practices, but may not have been high on your priority list prior to this year. However, given the number of remote workers and corporate equipment out in the world today, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a plan to either track and recover the equipment or remotely delete the information from the device.
For example, businesses with a work-from-home policy or employees who traveled often for business prior to the pandemic may have opted for VPN access for these isolated use cases. However, transitioning the entire workforce to a remote environment has changed the game. VPN is often not robust enough to handle the increased load on the network as all employees attempt to log on and perform their job functions at the same time. This is particularly true if you have a large employee base. Instead, look for alternative solutions like remote access with clearly defined user access permissions.
You may also consider leveraging a password manager like LastPass to reduce the risk of lost or shared passwords. Instead, team members will be able to access the credentials necessary for their job function, and admins (likely IT) will have admin control over all company passwords to ensure security and compliance.
The best way to know if your remote workforce is secure is to conduct an internal audit and enlist the help of a third-party security advisor, like Security Pursuit, to assess any weaknesses. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to devise a plan to shore up any security risks.
Effective training is a great offensive measure to combat security risks across your workforce. Yet, despite its effectiveness, it can be easy to push off or ignore completely. And after the challenges, disruptions, and stressors presented this year, it’s no surprise that the training line item fell off the radar for many teams. In 2021, it’s critical that IT security teams revive the focus on staff training to prevent security issues before they happen.
Some additional training topics to consider:
IT teams should take the lead on this training, offering live training events, key takeaway materials, and even quizzes or knowledge test games to help reinforce the information.
It’s important to take a proactive approach to your security plans and protocols in 2021 and beyond. New cybersecurity threats are emerging every day, with more sophisticated cybercriminals at the helm, just waiting for an opportunity. Through effective training, added security measures, and planning, your team can significantly improve the security of your remote teams.