How to Maintain Security When Employees Work Remotely (Key Points)

How to maintain security when employees work remotely
How to maintain security when employees work remotely

Remote work, formally known as Work from Home is now a common work model adopted by most employees and employers in the post-pandemic situation. Moreover, people are enjoying this leisure yet balanced model of work more, and are not willing to get back to the office sooner. Therefore, the need to educate and make the workers/employees more aware of the Cybersecurity issues while working remotely has topped the list. But many companies are still not able to figure it out, “How to maintain security when employees work remotely?

How to maintain security when employees work remotely?

To maintain security when employees work remotely, you, as an owner of the company, should;

  • Create a clear work and data security policy.
  • Provide proper training.
  • Empower and trust your employees.
  • Provide your employees with the right security tools.
  • Always update your network security system.
  • Supervise the use of personal devices.
  • Implement the Zero Trust approach.
  • Make sure that all internet connections are secure.
  • Educate your employees to use strong passwords.
  • Invest in a premium password manager.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. 
  • Don’t stress your VPN connection.
  • Monitor employee work with the help of dedicated software.
  • Use a professional CRM solution.
  • Conduct independent risk review.
  • Built strong security to avoid cascade effect.
  • Hire a Chief Information Security Officer.

Continue reading, for a detailed analysis of how these solutions are helpful in maintaining security when employees work remotely.

Create a clear work and data security policy:

As an owner of a company, you should always consider creating a clear work and data security policy, to avoid any security breach in the future. Plus, thoroughly discuss it with your employee, so that he/she can be clear on how to handle the company data and what to do if a data security breach occurs.

Similarly, include a clause in the policy where it states the consequences of a data breach and what actions can be taken against an employee if he/she tries to sabotage the company’s image by selling the data to rival companies or using it for personal purposes.

Provide proper training:

After creating a strict policy for work and data security, just aim to provide proper training to the employees, where they are thoroughly taught about different types of cyber security risks and how to avoid them.

More the training is precise and strong, lesser the chances of any type of mess while dealing with a compromised device. 

For example, many employees don’t know how to differentiate between legitimate email and spam or malicious email.

Thus, by giving proper cyber security training, the risk of your employee clicking on malicious emails and links will get substantially low. 

Empower and trust your employees:

Always, I repeat always, try to create a working environment where employees are not scared but feel trusted and valued so that he/she won’t even think to backstab you by leaking the data to your rivals. In fact, it will only create a strong bond between you two, and the employee will start considering the company as his/her second home.

Provide your employees with the right security tools:

Always try to provide your employees with the right set of security tools such as; antivirus software, firewall, VPN, password managers, so that your employees spent less time worrying about the policy, and more time in increasing their productivity.

Always update your network security system:

Yes, always keep your network security system updated to avoid any type of cyber-attack. For instance, keep the security tools like antivirus, firewall, and spam filter updated, so that there is a zero-loophole left for a hacker or an attacker to attack. 

Similarly, consider investing in a remote device management platform, that will help you to erase the entire data of your company when a device is lost or stolen. You can consider it as same as the “Wipe my phone remotely” feature available on your smartphone device, which helps you to wipe the entire data stored on your mobile phone in such situations. 

Supervise the use of personal devices:

Many companies have a “Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD)”, where an employee needs to use his/her personal device to work. 

So, if you are someone who is following the same approach, I advise you to minimize it as soon as possible and provide your employees with your own system that has all the security tools pre-installed, because if your employee is using his/her personal device, then it is not possible to maintain a strong security policy. Plus, as it is their property, you can’t stop them from watching videos or downloading movies.

Implement the Zero Trust approach:

Microsoft team has developed an approach that revolves around one principle, “never trust, always verify“, aka “Zero Trust Approach”, where every device is continuously monitored for its identification and services.

Thus, try using this approach and treat each device as unsafe, to ensure zero data breaches.

Make sure that all internet connections are secure:

Tell your employee that he/she should avoid the use of an unsecured Wi-Fi or internet connection i.e., open or public Wi-Fi, if possible. However, if they want to visit a cafe a few times to work, then they should use a strong VPN connection, as well as an antivirus system, to avoid data breaches.

Educate your employees to use strong passwords:

You won’t believe this, but many people usually set up their password as, “1234” or “qwerty” or the most popular “password”, which is completely unethical and unsecured. 

Therefore, it is mandatory to educate your employees to use a strong password, which will eventually help in maintaining security when working remotely. Also, tell them to avoid using the same password everywhere.

Invest in a premium password manager:

Now that you have educated your employees in creating and using a strong password, it is time to invest in a premium password manager, that will help you and your employees in keeping your password safe and encrypted.

Plus, some password managers help you to create a new and strong password every time you try to log in, which in turn will save you from a lot of trouble.

Use multi-factor authentication:

Multi-Factor Authentication such as 2FA, security questions, push notifications, personal identification numbers, and biometrics, should be used on and often, so that even if someone has your login credentials, he/she will need to bypass the second method, for successful system access.

Don’t stress your VPN connection:

A VPN is the ultimate solution when it comes to securing your internet connection. But, don’t try stressing it out, as it will cause the internet connection to slow down drastically, which in turn will affect the productivity part.

Although there are some ways that can help you prevent a slow VPN connection, and they are:

  1. Opt for a VPN provider that has a large server network.
  2. Opt for the closest VPN server location, to get better speed and stable connection.
  3. Opt for those VPNs providing a Split Tunnelling feature. 
  4. Monitor who is using your VPN and for what.
  5. Limit the use of VPNs for specific purposes. 

Monitor employees with the help of dedicated software:

Try using the monitoring software available in the market, to track every move of your employees, so that it can help you identify a security breach as soon as possible.

However, some employees might revolt against this idea, and therefore it is better to inform them about this in advance that you will be tracking their every move, to ensure that they are following the company’s remote work security policy correctly.

Use a professional CRM solution:

Many companies use Slack, Office, and Dropbox to store important customer data. But, do you think these apps are well sufficient and secure? Well, in my opinion, I would disagree, and suggest you to invest in a good professional CRM solution, to get the best out of it.

Plus, tell your folks to get a good internet connection, so that they don’t feel like storing it on their local drive, which is again risky.

Conduct independent risk review:

Always try to conduct independent risk reviews that will help you to identify the risk areas according to the levels, so that you can prioritize the highest risk areas first and mitigate them.

Basically, mitigation takes in the form of training, process changes, and technology implementation.

Built strong security to avoid cascade effect:

Many a time even after strong data security policy implementation, some systems fall prey to security breaches and hacking. And therefore, it is necessary to build strong security to avoid the cascade effect or in simple words to avoid multiple security breaches.

Hire a Chief Information Security Officer:

Lastly, every company whether it be small or large should definitely appoint a Chief Information Security Officer who is responsible for daily routine check-ups, such as ensuring the integrity of data, client information, and systems.

Moreover, in a remote work environment it is very essential to secure the endpoint, remote monitor work machines, establish a Strong Single Sign-on (SSO), and implement 2FA practices to help protect employees and customers.

Final Remarks on “how to maintain security when employees work remotely

As most employees and employers have witnessed the perks of working remotely, it is for sure that this comfortable yet productive way of working is not going to end soon.

And hence, it has become very essential to educate your employees and make them follow these methods that will help you in maintaining security when employees work remotely.