The new normal for almost all of our customers is to have at least 50% of their employees now working from home. For many, it's over 80% (NetCare for example).
Given the immediate rush to move everyone to some sort of remote working arrangement has passed, the next priority is to circle back around and make sure that our rapid introduction of work-from-home solutions hasn't compromised our business security.
What’s one of the most vital considerations when transitioning your business to working remotely?
Cybercriminals are already taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak by actively looking for weaknesses due to companies adjusting their business operations. Having workers from multiple home networks connecting to your company data, cloud accounts, and network offers multiple risks if those connections aren’t secured with good IT security protocols.
Businesses may have initially reduced their normal security policies in order to urgently enable remote logins for their team, which can open up opportunities for data breaches. But it doesn’t have to stay that way - now's the time to adopt good telecommuting security practices.
Here are several tips to help you ensure good IT security when your workers are running your business remotely from their homes.
Ensure a Secure Wi-Fi Connection
Your employees will be connecting from multiple networks. Most will be from their homes, but exceptions might still apply (for example an employee is spending an afternoon with an elderly relative).
You want to ensure that everyone is connecting through a secure Wi-Fi network if possible, which means their home network should be password-protected, and public Wi-Fi should be avoided or at the very least secured.
The problem with unsecured Wi-Fi is that a hacker can invoke a “man-in-the-middle” attack, which is where they get between you and the Internet connection and can intercept the data that you’re sending back and forth.
One of the best ways that you can secure home worker connections is through the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN can be used on computers and mobile devices and it encrypts the communications between the device and Wi-Fi that it’s connected to, even if the wireless signal is public and unsecured.
Use Secure Remote Access Connections for BYOD computers
If your employees are using their own home computers and devices (i.e. bring your own device/BYOD), then it’s best to have them use a tool, such as Business Access Pro from Splashtop to connect remotely.
This tool allows employees to have a secure connection to their workstation at the office so they can access files from another computer, tablet, or mobile device. It also provides admin-level control, functionality, and monitoring of the connection. Most importantly, it does this in such a way that no business data is downloaded to the employee's home computer.
This type of remote access tool gives you several important capabilities for accessing systems at the office, including:
- Remote print
- Two user access to the same computer
- Remote wake & boot
- Multi-monitor remote view
- Share desktop via a weblink
Users Should Secure Home Workstations
When switching between work and home computers, users can tend to get lax on security, because they’re not at the office. But this is the time to increase the security of home devices as well as ensure any work computers taken home are as secure as possible.
This includes physical security, such as passcodes being put on the computer, or in the case of a family that uses the same home PC, setting up different users so others can’t access the user account being used by an employee for work.
Computers should also be patched with security updates and any antivirus/anti-malware software updated regularly.
Employees should basically use the same cybersecurity practices that are used to protect data at work, including being on alert for phishing and reporting suspicious activity to internal IT or their managed services provider (MSP).
Coordinate with Your IT Department or MSP
It’s vital that employees stay connected to their IT support team when working remotely. This includes asking for help if unsure about security settings on a personal device or how a particular security protocol for remote logins works.
Users should coordinate with their managed services provider or internal IT department prior to working remotely so they can go over all security protocols and any adjustments needed to their home connection or computer to ensure they’re working securely and according to best practices.
Extend Enforcement of Company Website Access Policies
As many as 77% of businesses around the world suffered at least one DNS attack in 2018.
That’s a URL, or link-based, attack resulting from an employee visiting a malicious website that downloads malware onto their computer or uses a spoofed form to steal account login credentials.
Until very recently, of course, most employees worked in the office, and this meant that DNS protection was typically provided by a business-grade firewall that has been expertly configured.
But today, it's all different and employees are not at all likely to have a business-grade firewall expertly configured in their home! its The fall-back option is to install software on the employee computers like Webroot DNS Protection that bolster your company website access policies. This will go a long way to help employees avoid falling victim to web-based cyberattacks. It can also allow you to block access to dangerous or illegal sites that could put workers at risk, even though they're now working outside the company network.
Using DNS protection can prevent as many as 88% of threats at the network’s edge before they put your data in danger.
Secure Your Remote Workers with Help from NetCare.
Sydney area businesses can get the help they need to quickly set up and secure employees working from home by working with NetCare. We’re here to help you transition quickly and safely in the face of the new normal.
Contact us today to learn more. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.