Social distancing measures taken by responsible employers have greatly increased the number of employees working remotely. Even in the midst of this crisis, some companies and their employees can enjoy the objective benefits of not having to waste time and money on long commutes. At the same time, plenty of businesses really didn't have the structure in place to support a vast, full-time work-at-home workforce with the security or business processes they needed.
Remote Workforce Security Challenges During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Because employees or departments scrambled for ad-hoc solutions to remote working, they sometimes sacrificed robust security to get up and running as quickly as possible. Sadly, cybercriminals can also work from home or other remote locations, and many saw the rise in remote workers as an opportunity.
For example, one survey of security professionals found:
- A majority of security employees struggled to offer strong security solutions to remote employees.
- At the same time, almost half of the respondents reported seeing an increase in phishing attempts.
- Most of these corporate security pros had concerns about their ability to scale security, respond to abrupt environmental changes, and the difficultly of controlling employee use of unknown and untested software.
Five Best Security Practices for Remote Employees
With the increase in cyberthreats and the concerns of security professionals in mind, it's a good idea to consider some best practices to help keep business systems free of threats and just as important, to ensure compliance with rules that govern privacy and security in different industries.
1. Two-Factor Authentication
With two-factor authentication, sometimes called 2FA, users have to finish their login with a code that gets sent to another device, typically a cell phone. It takes a few seconds longer to access the system, but it provides better protection against phishing attacks. One CTO found that this simple measure reduced security problems in his company by almost 40 percent.
2. Use Secure Connections
Obviously, most of these home workers will rely upon their home Wi-Fi connections. Without any other protections, your security will only be as good as whatever the employee's home internet company, router, and password can provide. To boost security, you might have employees login through a VPN or other method of encrypting communication between their home device and your corporate systems.
3. Endpoint Security and Monitoring
No matter how well you protect logins and communication, you still can't always avoid the threat of malicious code entering your system. On your server end, you can employ software to block threats and monitor system usages.
Even though most threats may stem from accidental vulnerabilities, it's impossible to ignore the rise of inside jobs as a source of risks. Not only will these systems provide a firewall against malicious software, they can also send automatic alerts for unusual data use and provide a clear audit trail just in case something does happen.
4. Develop and Create Clear Security Policies
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, companies grappled with security issues that stemmed from remote workers and the rising use of personal devices.
- In some cases, you may allow personal devices, so long as employees adhere to other security policies. For instance, you may require installation of approved security software and only let employees login to your network through your corporate VPN.
- In other cases, you may ask employees in sensitive areas to only use the laptops or other devices that you have issued to them and to only use them in approved ways. For example, you may restrict these company-issued devices to work and not allow employees to use them to watch videos or browse social sites.
In any case, it's important to develop clear policies. In addition to communicating these rules, you should also ensure that employees understand why they're important and that they can incur consequences for ignoring them.
5. Deploy Secure Information Systems
Deploying intelligent and robust document and data management systems may not take as much of an effort as you think it will. These systems come designed and built to offer robust security and rule-based access for both in-house and remote workers. They also provide audit trails and guarantee recoverability, so if something suspicious happens, it's easy to trace the issue to its source and remediate it.
How M-Files Offers the Best Solution for Remote and In-House Employees
Companies that already employed a smart data management system like M-Files didn't have to worry about an abrupt change from working in a corporate office to a home office.
- Access to documents could already have been set by role, so the people who needed information would have an easy time accessing it, according to their security levels. To others, that same information would be invisible. The right people could view, change, add, or delete information, and others would not even see it exists.
- With built-in encrypted access and simple rollbacks for recoveribility, M-Files also has already been certifed as an ISO-27001 Certified Provider. This standard meets the requirements for the most sensitive data and systems.
Besides security, the intelligent features of M-Files can help improve your business processes. To learn how M-Files can help protect your business, employees, and information, schedule a custom demo today.