Remote work has become one of the biggest trends in 2018. This kind of approach to work is known to increase productivity and potential by allowing employees to change their work environment and organize their time according to their needs. While most workers are happy to take their laptops and work outside the office, they are often unaware of the potential security threats lurking online.
There’s no doubt that remote work has brought many advantages to businesses worldwide. Besides increased productivity and effectiveness, companies get to keep their best employees no matter their physical location, as well as hire freelancers at lower rates. However, despite all the benefits, there are many risks and concerns tied to this trend.
While working in the office, employees can rely on the IT department to ensure security and install all the anti-virus programs and firewalls. Now that many employees are taking their work outside the office building, they are left open to numerous security threats, from malware attacks to data theft. The reason companies are concerned about remote workers is because they are more difficult to control in terms of security. And this leaves confidential business data and client information at risk.
Below is a list of several essential security tips that apply to both business owners and remote workers. Whether you’re about to start working remotely or you have a group of employees who work from different locations, you should stick to this list and make sure to implement every single strategy when it comes to securing your business data.
Limit Employees’ Access
The first advice on our list is for the company owners who employ remote workers. The first step toward securing the confidential data and information is through limiting the access of each remote worker on board. It is one thing to trust your employees with relevant data, but you can never be sure how well they are going to protect it. For that reason, it’s best to limit workers’ access to the amount of information they need for their tasks. There’s no need for them to access sites and pages that are unrelated to their job duties.
Teach Them What They Need to Know
As a business owner, it is your job to make sure all your employees are properly educated when it comes to online security and data protection. It is recommended to organize regular meetings and discuss different security measures, from simple password protection to more advanced methods such as using free VPN. Make sure all your employees are following the set security protocol to avoid unwanted threats and incidents.
Stay Away from Public WiFi
Remote workers like to change their environment when working because it increases their productivity and helps them focus. However, this can be a major security threat for a company because of all the data that ends up unprotected. Using free WiFi in a coffee shop might sound convenient, but it creates many security concerns that can lead to unwanted consequences. Public networks are the easiest targets when it comes to cybercrime. This means that hackers can access confidential business data. The best way to ensure security when working remotely is to use a Virtual Private Network to encrypt your data and hide it from third parties. You can find VPNs online, but downloading a paid VPN version with extra features is the best choice if you want to protect your online activity and encrypt confidential files.
Don’t Use USB Drives
USB drives are an excellent solution for storing files on external devices. However, they often present a security threat, as these small drives can get lost or stolen. This means that anyone who finds your USB drive will have access to all the confidential data stored on it. Besides, hackers often use USB drives to spread malware on people’s devices. You can never be 100% sure that a malicious virus hasn’t infected your USB. The best way to protect your data and device from this is not to use USB drives at all.
Install Tracking Programs
Speaking of stolen devices, working remotely leaves you open to other potential issues such as having your mobile device or laptop stolen. This can also compromise confidential business data and put your company at risk. Keeping a tracking program on your device will allow the police to locate the stolen item and return it to the rightful owner as quickly as possible. This will give you a chance to save any business data that might have been exposed.
Keep Your Devices Updated
One of the simplest ways to increase online security and protect business data is to keep your device up to date. System developers create updates for a reason. Each update improves system security and patches the holes that were previously detected or exploited by hackers. Regularly updating your device will make it more difficult for hackers to break in and access confidential data.
Have a Back-Up
Having a secure back up of confidential data and your completed work will come in handy in case of an unwanted security incident or theft. There is nothing worse than losing important files or not being able to access documents you’ve been working on for the past few weeks. Therefore, save yourself a headache and back up all important files onto a secure cloud storage location (remember, don’t use USB drives).
Remote work has brought many changes to businesses worldwide and, despite all its benefits, this trend has also introduced new security concerns. Luckily, by implementing the necessary security measures, employers and remote workers can work together to ensure better security for confidential business data. As long as you back up your files safely, use a free VPN or a paid encryption solution, and stay away from unprotected networks, you won’t have to worry about the common security threats.