An industry report earlier this year stated that 79 percent of businesses are concerned about the security risks of an increasingly remote workforce. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks have increased, in part because many organizations have failed to implement adequate cybersecurity measures and procedures.
Furthermore, there is a global shortage of cybersecurity professionals in every industry. Investing in educated cybersecurity professionals is critical to defending your remote workforce against a cyberattack. They can assist in the implementation of an updated cybersecurity strategy as well as training employees on how to stay safe online, among other things.
Rethink Your Cybersecurity Plan
Cybercriminals’ tactics are constantly evolving, and businesses must keep up with security measures. There are additional risks with a remote workforce, such as using personal devices and working on unsecured networks. To stay current, organizations must constantly update their cybersecurity strategy. A cybersecurity strategy, according to the TechTarget guide, “is a high-level plan for how your organization will secure its assets over the next three to five years.”
Assessing the threat landscape is the first step in developing a cybersecurity strategy. Then, evaluate your current strategy to see if you have the appropriate programs and applications in place to protect your employees. Is your IT team capable of executing an effective strategy with the resources that have been assigned to them?
Once you have a clear picture of your current situation, you can look into ways to update and improve your cybersecurity strategy, ideally focusing as much as possible on preventing potential cybercrimes rather than reacting to them. Make sure to document your strategy and keep all relevant employees up to date. Don’t forget that employee training should be part of your cybersecurity strategy.
Employee Cybersecurity Education
There are numerous online and in-person cybersecurity employee training programs available, both free and paid. Cybersecurity training should be ongoing for your entire team and should be part of the new employee orientation process. Ongoing training should include, but is not limited to, instruction in:
Security Threat Types (malware, phishing, ransomware).
Security and password management
Logging in using a personal device or a device not connected to the network.
How to Recognize Suspicious Behavior
What should they do if they believe they have been targeted by a cybercriminal?
Setup Remote Desktop and Multi-Factor Authentication
To mitigate the increased risks posed by remote and hybrid employees, it is recommended that they use a remote desktop setup, such as a VPN, as well as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). To successfully log in with MFA, a user must provide two or more verification methods. According to Microsoft engineers, 99.9 percent of compromised accounts do not use MFA.
Never use an insecure network.
Working from home can often mean working from a coffee shop for remote employees. Data is encrypted when working on a secure (password-protected) network, as opposed to plain text data. Almost anyone with basic malicious cybersecurity knowledge can intercept plain text data. Encrypting data significantly improves security. This includes mobile devices and tablets, as well as laptop computers. Even checking email on a mobile device while connected to an unsecured network can result in a security breach.
Never connect to an insecure network.
For remote employees, working from home often means working from a coffee shop. When working on a secure (password-protected) network, data is encrypted rather than plain text data. Plain text data can be intercepted by almost anyone with basic malicious cybersecurity knowledge. Encrypting data improves security significantly. This includes mobile and tablet devices, as well as laptop computers. Even using a mobile device to check email while connected to an unsecured network can result in a security breach.
Password Management and Security Have Been Improved
You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating: don’t use “password” as your password. The same is true for “password1” and “1234”. Criminals can use a variety of algorithms to guess commonly used passwords. Here are some best practices for passwords:
Use distinct passwords for each login.
Passwords should not contain any personal information (pet or street names, or important dates).
Never give out your password to anyone.
The longer the password, the more difficult it is to guess.
If you want to keep your passwords safe, use a password management system.
A cyberattack can be devastating to a company. Organizations must prioritize protecting their remote workforce’s online activities from cybercrime. It all begins with hiring the right cybersecurity professionals, developing a cybersecurity strategy, and educating employees on how to stay safe while working from home. Having a plan in place can help protect your company, data, and employees.