Working remotely from home became an essential part of maintaining many businesses during the pandemic. Unfortunately, working from home securely was perhaps less emphasized than it should have been. With little time to prepare, many companies saw multiple security breaches, some of these in giant companies. A ransomware attack caused a six-day shutdown of Colonial Pipeline in May 2021. A month later, both McDonald’s and Peloton revealed they were targeted by hackers. By July, Volkswagen and Audi released a statement that hackers accessed basic customer data, advising customers to be wary of emails requesting further information.
COVID-19 not only forced working from home to increase but increased the conversation around network security. After more than a year, many companies remain unprotected from outside threats that might cost them millions. Continued failure to ensure employees are working from home securely, as they would be from an office, will continue to allow data security failures.
As COVID cases begin to climb again in many parts of the country, workers may not return to the office full-time as soon as previously expected. Additionally, many companies are embracing the freedom, flexibility, and overhead cost reductions that remote work provides them. The world continues to lean toward the continuance of remote work: Is your company safe? Scale Technology provides IT services in LR and other areas, and we have seen a lot of fatal network security mishaps. To help you avoid data security concerns, this article can act as a checklist to ensure your company’s employees are working from home securely.
Company Checklist for Working from Home Securely
There are multiple things an organization can do to minimize data security risks as employees continue to work remotely.
- Utilize Two-Factor Authentication. Do not rely solely on passwords and logins. Use mobile phones and email to implement two-factor authentication (2FA), making your websites and information more secure.
- Align Remote Work with Company Policy. Analyze your work-from-home systems, and establish clear guidelines for remote workers that align with your company policies. Provide employees with tools to prevent outside intruders and protect against data loss and theft.
- Always Back Up Your Data. The “321 Rule” is a great option for data security. Keep three copies of your data. Keep it on two different types of media (disc and tape), and keep one copy offsite for disaster recovery.
- Ensure You Have Enough VPN Licenses. More remote workers means more virtual private network (VPN) licenses and network bandwidth are needed.
- Provide Limited Use of the VPNs. Regulate the use of your VPNs and have employees change login information regularly. For example, allow 12 hours of daily VPN use and log users off when the VPN is not in use.
If you need help getting started with any of these network security measures, reach out to the IT experts at Scale Technology. We will make sure you are working from home securely.
Employee Checklist for Working from Home Securely
Instating guidelines for employees to follow when working remotely can help ensure the whole organization is protected against data security dangers. Implement this checklist for remote employees.
- Do Not Use Personal Computers. Provide work computers for employees. Personal computers have fewer security measures than company-owned computers, making them vulnerable to data attacks. Make sure your employees understand that company-owned hardware is for employee use only; other household members should not use work computers.
- Strengthen Security If Employees Must Use Personal Computers. If workers absolutely have to use personal hardware, ensure it stays as updated and as close to company computers as possible. Provide security software, protection guidelines, and prohibit personal/professional mixed-use browsing.
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi. Use company-provided VPNs at all times. Connecting to public Wi-Fi opens the door for hackers. Employees should stick to using company-secured VPNs.
- Utilize Split Networks. Employees who work from home can utilize split networks to separate work activity from home activity. Employees who have a router or switch with a virtual local area network (VLAN) functionality can activate it and dedicate a VLAN for office work only.
- Prepare Backup Solutions for Remote Workers. In case something goes wrong, having backup data is vital. Depending on your computer's operating system, different solutions may be available to protect employee computers.
- Don’t Be Fooled by Online Scams. Online scams have skyrocketed over the last year. Unfortunately, scammers use dicey situations to exploit the system and scam trusting internet users. Scams can be sent through email, text messages, fraudulent apps, malicious websites, and other media. They may claim to have pertinent information, including company updates, shipping notifications, COVID-19 updates, emails that appear to be from supervisors, computer update requests, information update requests, and other information easily assumed secure. Be wary online, and ensure your employees understand the risks.
- Ensure Gateways and Routers Are Secured. The router is the entry point for all internet-connected devices in the home or office. Attackers can easily compromise routers and breach your network security. Regularly change router passwords for more secure internet usage. Additionally, using multiple characters, capitalization variations, and special characters increases network security more than simple passwords do. Ensure your router is updated to the latest version of firmware. Routers issued by internet services providers (ISPs) usually have automatic updates, but added security measures can be used by updating routers through web consoles.
Increase Remote Security with Scale
Could your security measures use a boost? Keeping up with IT security is a full-time job. Not sure where to start? Scale Technology is an IT company in Little Rock, AR. We can help you devise a data security strategy that works for your company.
Scale Technology will help you ensure your network security stays solid and your employees are working from home securely, despite the threats of remote work. We can also help you understand data security threats and industry regulations in relation to your business. If you are searching for IT services in Little Rock, let Scale get a handle on your IT concerns today!