Working remotely is a trend that continues to grow more popular with many businesses. Letting employees work remotely from the office provides numerous benefits, but it also creates several risks. A few examples of IT security risks include handling of sensitive data, data breaches, ransomware, and phishing scams.
Educating your employees about these dangers is essential to remote working security. Failure to take these risks seriously can lead to significant financial costs and damage the reputation of your company. Staying up to date with these evolving dangers is also important for maintaining security.
Choosing to invest in the right technology is a key aspect of cyber security. Working with a Managed IT Support provider can also give you an additional layer of protection against these threats. These IT security professionals will partner with your team to develop work from home policies for your staff while giving you access to the latest technology to maximise security for your remote workforce.
Processes: Work from Home Policy
Creating a work from home policy is essential to limiting the chance of a cyber security incident. Managed IT support can develop a detailed policy for maintaining cyber security standards, such as the use of device encryption, multi-factor authentication, endpoint security, and mobile device management.
A work from home policy will also evolve over time due to the ever-changing nature of cyber threats. Educating your team about the risks of working remotely is also key to limiting costly mistakes that can lead to downtime or a data breach. A proactive approach to cyber security is critical in staying ahead of these attacks.
Going over the details of a remote work policy is a necessity to ensure everyone is on the same page together. Making it easy to communicate is important if an employee ever has any questions or needs support. A Managed Service Provider is always available to provide assistance for any technical issues.
Technology: Essential Remote Working Cyber Security Controls
Cyber security controls such as continuous network monitoring, attack surface analytics, and data protection are all vital in protecting remote workers against a wide range of IT security threats. Your Managed IT support provider will oversee these cyber security controls to ensure your remote team is well-protected.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Passwords for user accounts can easily be hacked if you don't use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for an added level of security against cyber threats. MFA involves verifying the identity of a user by sending them a temporary code or a push notification to a mobile device which must be verified before they are allowed to access an account.
Only Use Company Assets
An employee may make the mistake of using one of their personal devices for work-related purposes. However, using a personal device creates significant risks for your business due to it not having the same level of security protocols or monitoring as a company-approved device. Having a device compliance policy enforced will avoid customer data or sensitive data being stored on devices that are not secure or in compliance.
Endpoint Security Must Go Beyond Anti-Virus
Endpoint security involves much more than installing anti-virus software to keep your remote workers safe against cyber threats. Endpoint security must include at a minimum anti-virus. However, the device must be continually patched, have limited rights and be enrolled in a compliance eco-system that enables your business to manage risk. New features in Microsoft Identity protection can help you achieve this.
Proactive Threat Detection
Cyber attacks are always evolving, as staying proactive against these threats is a necessity for businesses in any industry. Using Managed Detection and Response (MDR) technology is key in identifying any threats or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber criminals. These tools do not work like antivirus applications that are generally based on known signatures, they work by identifying behaviours or suspicions applications together with an alerting and remediation platform. Imagine these tools to be like the motion sensor in your home alarm. The sooner you know there is malicious intent in your IT eco-system you can respond and limit potential damage.
No Local Administrative Rights
Choosing to remove local administrative rights from remote devices is important in preventing malicious attacks. Reducing these gaps in IT security makes it more challenging for hackers to cause extensive damage due to them not having the freedom to download any programs or execute malware that can cause widespread problems across your network.
Applications are widely used by remote workers to perform a variety of activities. Keeping these apps up to date with the latest patches is essential in limiting vulnerabilities and preventing cybercriminals from gaining unauthorised access to these applications.
A lack of encryption on a device greatly increases the risk of a remote employee becoming the victim of a data breach. Enabling device encryption makes it impossible for intruders to access this confidential data without the use of a password or PIN number.
Mobile Device Management
Mobile device management is a requirement for creating a secure environment for remote workers. Microsoft Intune is a popular cloud-based service that gives organisations the flexibility to manage mobile devices, and it can even isolate personal data from company data for additional security.
Secure Remote Connectivity
Secure remote connectivity is the process of preventing any unauthorised users from gaining access to the network of a remote worker. Using these security tools allows remote employees to work outside the office, maintaining network security, while still keeping their data safe against IT threats.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Creating a secure network for remote employees is essential to limiting the chance of a cybersecurity incident. Always-On VPN from Todyl is a cloud-based platform that is specifically built for managed service providers to provide the highest level of protection by combining Advanced Threat Detection, Wi-Fi Security, Next-Gen Firewall, Content Filtering, and much more.
People: End-User Training
Cybersecurity incidents often happen due to employees making a few simple mistakes without realising the consequences. One way to limit these incidents is to invest in end-user training. KnowBe4 is one of the largest security training platforms in the world that uses simulated phishing attacks, ransomware simulators, and other training options to prepare your remote workers on how to respond to a wide range of situations.
The main purpose of auditing is to evaluate the technology infrastructure, operational processes, policies, and applications by comparing them to established standards. Performing an audit helps to ensure that all of the technology assets are aligned with the short-term and long-term goals of the organisation.
These audits are often conducted on a yearly basis. A managed IT service provider will also ensure you are maintaining compliance standards for your industry to avoid costly violations while also improving data security.
Consider the Following for Permanent Remote Working
Transitioning to a permanent remote working environment for your employees offers a variety of benefits. However, it's always important to invest in the right technology and ongoing training to maintain security. A lack of security can lead to significant costs and hours or even days of downtime.
Establishing remote work policies, mobile device management, and multi-factor authentication are just a few of the many requirements for allowing employees to work outside of the office. Scheduling employee IT training on a regular basis is also important to improving cybersecurity.
Ultimately, creating a secure remote work environment is an ongoing process due to the ever-evolving nature of cyber attacks. Choosing to use managed IT services is a great way to implement all of these different security precautions to maximize protection for your remote workers.
Consider Migration to SharePoint and OneDrive for Data Security
Data security remains a priority for any business. One data breach can lead to substantial costs and ruin your reputation with clients. Choosing to migrate to SharePoint and OneDrive is often recommended to improve data security for remote workers, never mind the significant productivity and collaboration benefits of such systems.
Both of these platforms use cloud computing to make it easy to share documents with others without having to be in the same location. SharePoint easily integrates with Microsoft Office, while OneDrive is also used with Microsoft programs.
A managed IT service provider can migrate all of the data from remote workers to either one of these platforms. Using this technology makes it easy for employees to collaborate in real-time. Your employees can also reach out to an IT provider if they ever have any questions or need assistance.
Consider Deploying Virtual Desktops for Remote Workers
Choosing to deploy virtual desktops is another popular option for remote workers. Azure Virtual Desktop is simple to deploy and configure while using a remote server. It's also easy to scale up or down to best meet the ever-changing needs of your business.
Connecting to a virtual desktop helps keep your files secure, as Microsoft invests more than €1 billion in security each year. You can easily assign users or view diagnostics from a simple user interface due to the Azure Portal. Everything operates through the cloud, which makes it a perfect option for remote workers.
Virtual desktops can also be accessed easily from any device. Ultimately, this added level of flexibility is one of the main reasons why it's a great choice for working outside of the office.
Finding ways to maintain security for remote employees will continue to be a top priority for small and medium-sized businesses in any industry.
Partnering with managed IT services offers an added level of security, whether it's proactive threat detection, device encryption, mobile device management, or virtual private networks.
End-user training, information auditing, and endpoint security solutions also play a key role in boosting remote work security.
Cyber threats will continue to change but working with managed IT services offers the best protection by providing a secure environment for your remote employees.