The rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted business on a global level. The implications of such an easily-spread illness have forced employers to let their employees work from home— an entirely new practice for many businesses. During this era of shelter-in-place and self-quarantining restrictions, many business owners, supervisors, and team leaders are managing remote workers for the first time. All across the globe, employers have had to figure out quickly how to foster at-home efficiently while learning how to secure their businesses’ data.
Securing Your Out-of-office Employees
When all of your employees work from the same place, it isn’t too difficult to enforce the best security practices. However, remote work, while convenient and often more efficient, opens the doors to new security vulnerabilities. As an employer or manager, it’s your job to educate your employees about online security. Before you grant access to work materials, be sure to discuss the following precautions with your staff:
- Do Not Leave Laptops or Other Devices Unattended
This tip should be fairly obvious; however, it’s good to remind employees of even the simplest preventative measures. Instruct your workers to take physical care of their devices. They should not leave laptops, tablets, cellphones, or any other business property in plain sight in their cars. If your employees work in public spaces, they should not leave items behind when they step away to take calls or use the restroom. Doing so invites theft, even in seemingly safe places like coffee shops.
- Block Lines of Sight When Working in Public
Not only do employees need to protect their work equipment, but they also have to guard insider information. Whether they’re working at a cafe, library, or cowork space, eyes can wander to their screens and see sensitive work and data. Employees should always be aware of their surroundings and pay close attention to people nearby. If they can, they should sit in the corner of the room with their backs to the wall or use screen guards to protect their laptops.
- Avoid the Use of Public or Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
If your workers must access a Wi-Fi network outside of the office, your best option is to have them set up personal hotspots with their cell phones or use a virtual private network (VPN). Both of these measures eliminate the use of public or unsecure private networks, which can leave data vulnerable to cyber attacks or online theft. While using hotspots or investing in VPNs may cost money, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to online security.
- Encrypt Sensitive Data
All employees should encrypt any sensitive data on their devices as well as emails. Storing confidential information on a computer or tablet or sending it via email is always a risky proposition. Protecting all company emails with some form of encryption will help prevent them from being intercepted by someone outside of the organization.
Also, make sure that all employee laptops are configured to encrypt all data stored within the hard drive. Team members should use multiple passwords and change them often. Remind them to avoid anything that can be easily guessed, such as birthdays. Random sequences of letters, numbers, and symbols make the safest passwords.
- Install Cloud Anti Malware Software
When it comes to security, investing in cloud anti malware software is often the most economical and effective way to protect your business. This specific type of security software does the majority of its work online, outside of employee PCs or laptops. In turn, it doesn’t require much storage space on device hard drives. Compared to other forms of malware protection, cloud-based anti malware detects and identifies threats much faster.
Leading a Secure Business
Managing remote workers can be very different from leading a group of people in person. Especially if your business handles a lot of sensitive or confidential data, you need to take extra security precautions when employees take their work out of the office. As an authoritative figure, you should remain vigilant in protecting yourself and your employees as well as your business’ and clients’ private information. The best way to keep data safe is to communicate with all employees and make sure they understand the risks of malware and security breaches.