Is The Network Used by Your Remote Workers Safe? 5 Things You Should Know
by Kirk Studebaker // President on Dec 10, 2019 12:03:12 PM
Remote workers can bring a lot of value to the workplace, they’re cost-efficient, can work from a variety of locations, and can frequently show signs of increased work productivity. That being said, there is some risk associated with employees working outside the office. The main risk is that you are unable to control the hardware or wireless connections used by your employees working remotely.
Your employee's laptops, tablets, and smartphones are all susceptible to vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain access to your company’s website, network, and other sensitive data. There are plenty of myths about cybersecurity but regardless of where your remote workers are operating from, there are a variety of things that you need to watch out for in order to keep your company secure.
Is The WiFi Secure?
Most employees will be using a laptop in order to execute their daily tasks, many times outside of any secured office, and possibly even with a public WiFi connection. Popping into a local cafe or library to use public WiFi may be convenient, but these networks can also be vulnerable to an array of cyber threats. Public WiFi is typically not very secure, making information on your employee's devices, including sensitive data like log-in credentials and company information, easy for hackers to intercept. Unsecured WiFi networks also give hackers the chance to distribute malware by spoofing a public network in order to draw in users and capture their data.
Another threat to be aware of is WiFi phishing in which a hacker creates a web page that looks like a legitimate page on your company's website, such as an employee log-in page. The remote employee unknowingly enters their credentials, unaware that they are giving their information away to a hacker. To avoid these problems, instruct your remote employees to use a virtual private network (VPN) that enables users to connect securely to your company, even on a dubious public WiFi network. Your employees could also use a personal WiFi hotspot that avoids the issue of public WiFi entirely.
You can give your employees as much security technology as you like, but you still need to educate them on cybersecurity best practices. Even in the best cases, people are prone to error, and so, they are always vulnerable to cyber threats. We have all made mistakes and it’s likely that at some point your employees will click on a malicious attachment, fake web page, or trick URL. With the right training, your remote employees can learn what to look for in order to detect a phishing email. More and more small to medium-sized businesses are investing in cybersecurity training as a solution to tackle cyber threats, according to the Spiceworks 2019 State of IT Survey. By setting up regular employee meetings to discuss training, you can review the latest cybersecurity threats, study how to spot scams, and help employees understand company policy for reducing risk. A lot of small to medium-sized businesses turn to outside companies for help with their security training due to their limited resources. At Coordinated Business Systems, we offer comprehensive security training and informative resources that help keep your company proactive when it comes to cybersecurity.
If you are unfamiliar with endpoint security, it refers to securing local resources such as software, applications, and operating systems that employees use on their devices. For companies that utilize remote employees, endpoint security is the last line of defense against cybercriminals trying to attack integral systems. It can be applied in a number of ways, usually by updating software and operating systems with anti-virus software, or installing network firewalls.
Patching critical software and operating systems can be very time consuming and make sensitive data and systems vulnerable to attacks. During that time a cybercriminal could exploit outdated software to gain access to your network and access valuable targets like administrator credentials, intellectual property, and even customer data. Ensuring that all of your browsers, systems, and apps are updated can put a stop to potential vulnerabilities.
Most of the time a data breach is going to occur because of stolen credentials, with most hackers gaining access through obtaining or even guessing passwords. Two-factor authentication (2FA) lessens the success rate of hackers immeasurably. 2FA requires two methods of proof that the user accessing the system is who they say they are before they gain access. For example, you have to log in with your username and password but then you would type in a code that was sent to your mobile device. This would mean that in the event your remote employee lost their laptop, or if their password was compromised, your onsite data would be safe and secure because anyone trying to access your information wouldn’t have the second part of your 2FA.
Monitoring Employee Devices
By monitoring your remote employees’ devices you can help boost productivity by making sure they are only using their device for work-related activity. But you can also ensure the security of your company’s important information. Monitoring gives you a glimpse into which applications your remote workers are using, how much time they are spending on different projects, but more importantly, you can receive better insights about where your employees are spending their time so that you can see whether they’re exposing your business to security threats. This also helps ensure that remote employees are adhering to your company-wide security protocols.Don’t leave your remote employees, and more importantly your business, open to cyberattacks because you don’t have the resources for an in-house solution to your problems. Contact us and let us help you better coordinate your cybersecurity setup. At Coordinated we pride ourselves on our vast array of Managed IT services, including: Network and Security Audits, Security Training, and Network, Monitoring & Support.
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