Working from home has its perks (i.e., bunny slippers for the conference call, anyone?). Unfortunately, when your company’s workforce is distributed, you are also more vulnerable to cybercrime. Since working from home may not be going anywhere anytime soon, it is vital to educate yourself (and your employees) about how to stay ahead of the hackers. Here is our list of the top 6 ways you can use technology to keep your team members and sensitive company data safer than ever.
- Educate your employees: While it may come to some surprise, the single biggest risk when it comes to business data breeches is your employees. The best thing you can do to protect your company is to educate your employees on how to be more aware of common cybercrime tactics and phishing scams. There are plenty of online educational tools out there for teaching good technological hygiene to employees, but one of the most effective ways is to work with an agency you trust. That way, employees can ask questions, engage with an actual human (imagine!), and get personalized feedback on best practices.
- Protect your passwords: Get this. As of 2020, “123456” was still the most commonly used password worldwide. No wonder data breaches are so common! But even if your passwords are a bit more personalized than this, it’s easy for hackers to guess commonly used passwords based on the personal data available about you online (Exhibit A: Everything You’ve Ever Posted on Facebook). Make sure you’re choosing different passwords for every site you use and include a variety of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols. For important log-ins such as email accounts, set a reminder to change your password every 3 months at minimum and consider using two-factor authentication, an extra layer of security in which you present a second set of evidence or proof of identity to access the account. Face recognition or fingerprint security are even more secure methods that are commonly supported on newer devices (and, added bonus, you might just feel like you stepped into a Bond-flick every time you use them).
- Keep software updated: Those pop-up notifications reminding you to update your device’s software system may be annoying, but staying up-to-date with your, well, updates is one of the best ways to protect your computer against security threats. When a system updates, security holes are repaired that prevent hackers from accessing your data. And here’s a technology hack for you: Turn on automatic updates for your device so you never have to see those dreaded pop-ups again. Annoyance terminated. Voila!
- Install anti-malware software: Don’t let your computer face cyberattacks unarmed. Always make sure that you have anti-malware software installed on your employees’ devices. And while companies install anti-virus systems to company computers when employees are on-boarded, many remote employees use personal devices for work tasks as well. To ensure no employee falls prey to a cyber threat, require all employees install anti-virus software to any computer they use for work assignments. Antivirus software is ever-evolving based off reports of new viruses, but even with these near-constant updates, new malware does crop up and can infect even the most secure devices. Due to this, it’s imperative to back up everything on your devices on an on-going basis as well.
- Increase email security: Business email accounts house our most sensitive and important company information. In addition to communication between employees, file sharing is often transmitted via email. When it comes to keeping your remote employees and data safe, email security should be one of your first priorities. In addition to setting a secure password and establishing two-factor authentication (as we mentioned earlier), require your employees to update passwords at least once every three months. If employees have a hard time keeping track of passwords, a quick and easy fix is to install a password manager like LastPass to their devices.
- Manage mobile devices: When employees are at home, they’re likely using a shared cable network in order to access WIFI, and there’s a high likelihood that there are hackers on the same network. This is much less secure than when employees are in the office and have access to dedicated internet and a corporate network dedicated to each device. To properly manage mobile devices for remote workers, the first step is engaging with a trusted partner to install a monitored antivirus system. A monitored system means that a trained IT professional will be alerted every time the antivirus isn’t working, isn’t up to date, or there is an attempted breach –– meaning, every time there is an increased chance for a data breach, your company receives an alert and the device is locked until the risk is neutralized. Next, you must encrypt all data on company devices. Encryption, or translating data to an unbreakable code, guarantees that even if a file or device is compromised, the hackers won’t be able to translate it into anything that makes sense. Once you have steps in place, it’s important to have a system that tells you if your company devices are up-to-date with regular back-ups, data encryption, security patches, and antivirus software. Normally, this is called remote device management and is performed by an outside firm. (Psst, like us. Contact us here to get a free quote.)
How STEADfast IT protects your data
At STEADfast IT, we can quickly assess your company’s technological vulnerabilities and implement solutions to keep your team and your data secure.
You can reach out to our experts and discuss a personalized cybersecurity solution for your business through our free network assessment.