Proven Strategies to Ensure Security in Remote Work Environments
Remote working has become the new normal since the emergence of the Covid19 pandemic. It has proven cost-effective for most companies as they don’t have to invest in onsite workstations. It also gives them the power to work with the best talents worldwide without the need to move around.
However, it has its share of cybersecurity threats, as each worker can be a link to a cyberattack. You need effective strategies to secure their environments and protect sensitive company data. Meraki Sytems Manager offers you a go-to solution for securing remote workers’ devices and implementing your organization’s security policies to prevent attacks. Here’s a detailed overview of proven strategies to ensure security in remote work environments.
Use a Secure Internet Connection
When working remotely, it’s common to find workers preferring to work in a nearby coffee shop to break the monotony of home environments. They may have to use public Wi-Fi when working, which, if not secure, could lead attackers to your company database. To avoid such scenarios, remote workers should use a secure virtual private network (VPN) when using a public internet connection.
VPNs encrypt the internet traffic from public Wi-Fi and inspect any infections before establishing a network connection. Having a VPN is not enough, as not all VPNs are secure. Verify the safety of the VPN you want your employees to use by checking whether it provides all the security parameters you need.
Always Use Supported Operating System Versions
Operating systems developers only support and maintain the latest few versions of their product, as maintaining all versions isn’t cost-effective. The unsupported versions are easily cracked and exploited by cybercriminals, as they don’t get security patches on possible vulnerabilities.
They may expose your devices to attacks and sensitive data misappropriation risks. As such, it’s a best practice only to use the supported versions of your OS and, if possible, upgrade to the latest version if your device can run it.
Most OS developers have a pattern of supporting their latest three releases, and you can always visit their websites to check the supported versions.
Invest in Antivirus, Firewall, and Email Security
Antivirus software detects viruses in your computer systems and removes them before they corrupt your files and stored data. Such an antivirus works as a prophylactic, removing the detected virus and preventing attacks. Firewalls, on the other hand, block unwanted traffic into your remote work website.
You also need to implement adequate email security standards, as emails are key targets for attackers. They use emails to spread malware and lay other intrusion traps. Email security protects sensitive information in emails, restricting unauthorized access or compromise of information. Ensure you have enough Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DMARC, and Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) policies to protect your company data against phishing and spoofing.
Use an Authenticator Application and Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication system controls access requiring two pieces of verification for anyone who tries to access a restricted device or file. It can reduce the risk of malware infections and phishing emails, offering an added layer of protection even if an attacker gains access to your password. To successfully log in, they still require access to the system that generates your one-time verification code—your security key or authenticator application.
The second layer of protection can take various forms but push notifications or one-time codes are the most common. Though highly convenient, you should refrain from using SMS as your second authentication factor. Attackers have developed ways to deceive telecommunication companies and swap phone numbers to new lines via social engineering.
Use Data Encryption Tools
Data encryption software transforms information into an unreadable format called ciphertext. Only a person with an encryption key or the intended recipient can read the data. You can use several encryption software and protocols, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, which can help secure your remote environments. Installing these protocols, like the SSL certificate on your remote working platforms, conceals the data in transit to an indecipherable format —protecting it from unauthorized access.
Boost Security by Establishing a Device Standard
If possible, let all your employees use a standard computer the company provides to ease the process of securing them. With standard devices across the workforce, it’s easier to keep all the devices up-to-date as you only have one set of updates. You can also secure them under one security solution, thus proving cost-effective in the long run.
You can provide your employees with devices depending on their roles, and work demands, as not every employee requires the same devices as all others. For example, programmers and graphic designers may need a professional workstation, while a reliable laptop can be a good fit for office workers. The focus shouldn’t be on attaining uniformity but on platform consistency for more manageable security solutions.
With all devices running on the same OS, it’s easy to keep track of any updates and update all at once. Also, since they can run the same types of software, updating them to the latest versions will be more manageable.
Keep Your Remote Work Environment Secure
While cybersecurity remains a significant threat even among the most prominent companies globally, you can take steps to minimize the risks of attacks and keep your data safe. Using secure network connections, constantly updating your systems, and encrypting your devices are essential strategies for protecting your remote work environment.