Work from home (WFA) has now become an acronym and employers have realized that having employees work remotely can be a bonus.

With the pandemic forcing businesses in Tucson and throughout the country to operate remotely, companies were initially thrown for a loop. But now, many of them see the benefits of utilizing a remote workforce, either part or full-time.

Benefits include:

  • Improved productivity
  • Lower physical office space needs
  • Cost savings (for both employer and employee)
  • Lower stress
  • Fewer time off days taken

But wait? Aren’t there any downsides to having employees work from home?

It’s true, not everything is perfect when employees are working remotely. A big downside (but one that can be mitigated) is the risk of a data breach.

Remote security can be a big challenge for companies that are used to doing everything on-premises, including applying business IT security measures.

36% of surveyed organizations said they experienced a security incident due to an unsecure remote employee.

With the proper remote security best practices in place, you and your employees can enjoy the flexibility of working remotely without paying a big cybersecurity cost.

Keep Remote Workers Secure Using These Tips

Whether you want to allow employees to work from home or not, the pandemic has shown us that it’s not always a choice. In the event of a crisis that requires you to leave your office, working remotely is the only way to stay operational.

So, you might as well be sure that it’s done safely! Here are several “must do” tips to make that happen.

Have Employees Connect with a Business VPN

Unless you want to go around to each employee’s home and secure their router, you’re going to have to assume they’re working on an unsecure Wi-Fi and take necessary precautions.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that will encrypt connections to the internet and make the user’s IP address anonymous. VPNs can be used on computers and mobile devices from anywhere. It will act as a secure tunnel to keep data transmissions private, even if on an unsecure public Wi-Fi.

Can I have employees use a free personal VPN?

No, not really! It’s best to use a business VPN, that way you get business-grade security, can control users that are added to your account, and have important reporting.

Make Sure All Devices Are Updated Regularly

Whether an employee has their work computer at home or is using their personal PC to access their work, those devices need to have regular security patches and updates applied.

In 2019, 60% of security breaches involved system vulnerabilities that had a patch, but the user never applied it.

How can you make sure employees are keeping their devices at home updated? Here are two ways:

  1. Use managed IT services from an IT specialist that will handle all that computer security stuff for you; or
  • Use an endpoint device management app that will give you visibility into all staff devices and allow you to apply updates remotely

Use the Router Segmenting Trick

When an employee computer is on a work network, it’s like hanging out in the business district. Devices are all suited up properly and have business-minded security.

But when a work computer is being used at home, you don’t know what kind of neighborhood it could be exposed to. You have the corner of risky voice assistants over here and teen gaming computer boulevard over there.

The point is that if you have a work device with sensitive data on the same Wi-Fi network as less secure family devices, it’s at a bigger risk of being breached.

One way to remove that threat is to put it in its own separate Wi-Fi neighborhood through router segmenting.

  • Add a guest network to your router
  • Change the password of your current network (so work devices don’t connect automatically)
  • Put all higher risk devices on the existing Wi-Fi network
  • Put all work devices on the new guest Wi-Fi network

Use Important Device Protection Applications

There are a few key security applications that should be on all devices that remote employees are using for work. These work together to help stop things like phishing attacks and malware infections.

They are:

  • AI-powered antivirus/anti-malware
  • Anti-spam/anti-phishing application
  • DNS filtering (also called web protection)

Use a Cloud Access Security App

Cloud account security becomes even more important when you have employees accessing your business apps from multiple locations. It makes it easy for a hacker to pose as an employee and breach your account.

A cloud access security app is like a firewall for all your cloud accounts. It controls access to your cloud platforms, monitors for any suspicious activity (such as a login from outside the U.S.), and can implement companywide security and compliance policies throughout your different applications.

Are Your Remote Workers Properly Protected?

Deploying a remote workforce doesn’t have to be a security nightmare. ECN IT Solutions can work with your team to ensure they’re using best cybersecurity practices.

We’re here… just waiting to help you. Reach out at 520-355-7553 or through our website.