Remote work is the new normal. While many professionals are working from home or from the road at least part-time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, now individuals in most white-collar professions are working from their homes – and it’s driving security professionals crazy. That’s because remote workers have a poor grasp of digital security threats, and that can put the entire company at risk.
And more importantly, this isn’t a temporary decision. Most companies assume at least a portion of their staff will be permanently remote post-pandemic, which means strengthening remote security practices should be a top priority.
How can leadership establish more reliable remote security practices? It’s all about keeping it simple. These four basic rules can minimize the risk of attacks by encouraging company-wide compliance, no matter where team members are located.
Establish Your Stack
Your stack refers to the collection of applications your company uses to perform various tasks, but over time, many businesses lose track of some of those elements. Take some time to inventory your application stack, eliminate extraneous programs that could serve as entry points for cyberattacks, and ensure that your stack is secured end-to-end. This needs to happen before you start providing employee security guidelines.
Think Zero Trust
Over the last several years, companies moved from basic password-driven security to two-factor authentication or even higher levels of security. This has brought us to the new fold standard: zero trusts. Zero trust acknowledges that passwords and two-factor authentication don’t do enough to ensure real security, and so it supplants these with certificate-based authentication. The zero-trust approach to security emphasizes encryption because privacy is at the heart of security.
Equip Your Team
Once your business has a clear understanding of the internal landscape, it’s time to start providing your team with the information that they need to make better decisions and to protect your company’s data. For example, many remote workers have been targeted by phishing attacks since the widespread shift to remote work. When introducing phishing prevention software, then talk about what these attacks look like and why they might be vulnerable.
Comprehensive security emphasizes visibility throughout the system, but it also requires that your company be transparent about potential threats – that will help staff act with greater caution and critically consider the implications of their online actions.
Emphasize IT Support
Before transitioning to remote work, most IT functions probably happened in the background or at least seemed to happen in the background from the perspective of other employees. Once the staff is working remotely, though, they’ll likely need to work more closely with the IT team. Streamline this process by developing a ticketing system, as well as a framework for information sharing, so that staff gets the answers they need as quickly as possible, allowing them to get back to work.
By the time your company is ready to shift back to office-based work, everyone will recognize IT’s role at the beating heart of the organization. They always have been, but because of the new risks associated with remote work, everyone will be able to see everything they do to keep your company running.