Remote teams are exposed to more cyber security threats due to an expanded attack surface. With an exponential increase in the number of endpoints, cybercriminals can gain access to sensitive company data.
Enhancing cybersecurity awareness for remote teams is essential, and here are five tips to help with this.
1. Set up remote work security plans
It is important to set standards, expectations, and processes for remote teams. Basic areas to address include whether employees use company-provided or personal devices and a VPN or remote desktop.
Many remote teams use personal devices and home networks. Simply saving a document to a desktop without up-to-date antivirus software could cause an issue.
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies need to be clearly spelled out to prevent remote employees from exposing sensitive company data.
Frequent computer cleaning is crucial for remote workers’ cybersecurity, especially if they use a personal device.
The junk spots stored among unused files can contain potentially harmful documents and take up too much space. Remote teams need a tool and instructions on how to remove them.
2. Offer regular, mandatory cyber awareness training
The human factor is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cyber security.
Cyber security awareness involves delivering training to remote employees to help protect against potential security threats.
By creating a cyber security-conscious remote workforce culture, remote teams will be mindful of threats and how to recognize them.
By knowing what steps to take, remote teams can proactively reduce threats and the impact they could have on the company’s bottom line. Recognizing early warning signs before too much damage is done is often the best way to prevent data breaches.
Once-off training is not enough. It is vital to conduct regular training and make it mandatory for every employee, whether through internal training or an external course.
3. Underpin training with robust policies and procedures
Robust policies and procedures will help to underpin cyber security training. Companies must have policies in place covering aspects such as internet usage, use of the equipment and social media. Specific rules for emails, browsing and mobile use should be in place.
Remote workers need the right access to the right applications to do their work.
Employers must determine which employees need access to the whole internal network and which may only need access to email and cloud-based services.
Implementing “least privilege” or minimum permissions reduces threats without affecting productivity.
4. Make remote teams aware of network security
Employers should discourage remote teams from using unsecured public Wi-Fi. Many remote workers use their personal Wi-Fi network, and they need to make sure it is set up securely.
Experts suggest remote workers connect to a company’s internal network using a VPN. This helps to maintain end-to-end data encryption. Employees need to know that they must keep patching VPNs with the latest security fixes.
When they use multifactor authentication, it adds another layer of protection against increasing VPN phishing attacks.
5. Implement cyber security drills
Remote teams won’t know if their cyber awareness measures are up unless they put them into practice. Regular cyber security drills can help them to recognize various cyber security threats.
When they can try out their skills on simulated threats, they learn lessons that can help them when faced with real threats. For example, employers could simulate a phishing scam to see how many employees click on or open attachments.
Policies and processes
Remote work is expanding the surface of attack threats. Companies need to develop policies and processes to protect against them. They need to train their remote teams and create a culture of cyber awareness in order to proactively prevent attacks.