During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies made a quick pivot to remote work. Now, the business world has adapted to a new normal — one where working from home is a standard offering.
For workers and businesses, the approach can offer some major advantages. However, the pivot to remote work may also come at a serious cost.
Remote teams can be much more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Telecommuting employees working on insecure devices and connections may expose company networks and confidential files to attackers — potentially opening a business up to a data breach.
With the right practices, it’s possible to protect your web development company from cyberattackers — even when your entire team is working from home.
1. Begin With Basic Cybersecurity Practices
Good security policies typically start with the basics — like ensuring that employees are using secure devices and accessing the company network via secure connections.
Most companies provide employees with a virtual private network (VPN) service that provides secure end-to-end encryption of data transferred between their home computer or device and the business’s network.
Ensuring that employees follow basic cybersecurity practices at home will also help.
If employees are using a shared home computer or personal device to work, they should avoid keeping sensitive data stored on that device. Instead, that data should be stored on the office network.
Asking that employees keep their antivirus software updated will help protect your employees from malware and viruses.
Strong and unique passwords can also go a long way in keeping both employees and the business safe while the team is remote.
Many cybersecurity experts recommend that you encourage the use of password managers, which allow employees to generate unique, high-strength passwords for each of the services and sites they need to access. With these managers, employees will only have to remember one master password, which they’ll use to log into the manager service.
Employees should also avoid using public Wi-Fi. If employees have no other option than to use public Wi-Fi, then a VPN can help keep transferred data secure.
Your company may rely on legacy apps and services that can’t be accessed remotely. In this case, employees shouldn’t necessarily install these apps on their personal devices. Instead, they can remotely connect to an office virtual desktop environment. This will help ensure critical data and applications won’t need to be stored on a personal device outside of the office.
Many businesses also require that employees regularly back up critical files to the cloud, which is one of the best ways to keep data safe when users are working from home.
2. Train Employees to Spot a Phish
When trying to breach a company’s network, most attackers take advantage of the weakest link. In some cases, this may be unsecured personal devices or connections. In many others, it may also be employees with little to no security training.
One of the most common types of cyberattacks is a phish — typically in the form of an email from an attacker impersonating a trustworthy source. The attacker’s email address is designed to encourage a target to divulge personal information or download a malicious file.
Training employees to spot the common signs of a phish can go a long way in preventing these attacks from being successful.
Some businesses also stage security training in the form of simulated phishing emails. If employees fall for one of these simulated phishes, it can be a sign that your team may need more security training.
3. Implement Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication (MFA) requires that users provide an additional form of identification when logging into a business service. Often, this extra form of identification is a code sent to that user’s phone or over email. The code will act as a one-time password (OTP) they’ll need to enter when logging in.
MFA helps ensure users who have access to critical files or broad security privileges are less likely to have their accounts compromised by hackers.
While MFA can make logging in more cumbersome, the approach may help a business avoid user accounts becoming compromised. However, the business should also ensure their use of MFA doesn’t prevent users from logging in entirely. Like any new piece of tech, it may be a good idea to test out an MFA solution on a small scale first.
4. Protect Your Site From Attacks
Web development companies should take steps to protect their business site from cyberattacks.
Simple tweaks like the use of HTTPS, switching to a security-minded hosting provider, and requiring that customers use strong passwords can make a big difference when it comes to keeping customer information and your site secure.
5. Track Unusual Activity
Many modern cybersecurity platforms come with tools that will help your security team track unusual or suspicious network events. Investigating these events can help you determine whether an attacker has gained access to the network or if they are in the process of attacking your network.
These tools can also help you manage security privilege groups and manage user access — potentially reducing access that a hacker would have to your network if they gain control of an employee account.
The Best Cybersecurity Practices for the Age of Remote Work
Remote work can offer some major advantages for businesses and their employees — but it can also make workers much more vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Good security practices can help companies prevent data breaches even when their team is working from home. Technology like VPNs, cybersecurity platforms, and multi-factor authentication can help keep company networks secure. And security training can help ensure that workers avoid security mistakes that may lead to a data breach.
Guest Author: Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.