In February 2020, 4.7 million U.S. workers were working remotely according to statistics by Flexjobs. That is over 3.4 percent of the American working population — a number that has spiked dramatically over the last few months.
With companies now being faced with the very real task of transferring its work environment into a remote working set-up, a key question every company will be asking is: how can we avoid the common cybersecurity pitfalls?
From prepping your IT team and securing the right anti-virus or malware software to training your employees on the best cybersecurity habits, it is definitely a team effort.
As remote working continues to be cited as the future of work, it is now more important than ever that remote workers and their employers alike place increased emphasis on avoiding common cybersecurity mistakes and practicing good remote habits.
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Working With Outdated Computers, Smartphones, And Software
It is no secret that remote working can increase cybersecurity risks for a company. Often when computers are infected with malware, they are not running the most up to date software or security protection and therefore not able to detect any threats until it is too late.
In the workplace, it is recommended that companies follow a regular company-wide system and software update schedule — and it is no different when working with remote employees.
Some recommend setting aside one day a month to software and anti-virus updates and for hardware.
It is also highly recommended that you activate automatic alerts and downloads for system and software updates so that you can stay on schedule.
Forgetting To Update Their Skills To Match Changing Technology And Software
The technology market is booming, no doubt. With every new month, companies are seeing hundreds of new programs and developments being introduced all with their own benefits and purpose.
However, many remote workers forget to spend time getting used to these new innovations and instead, they tend to figure it out as they go.
However, some of them can require specialists or basic training if your employees are going to reap the maximum benefits.
Certain programs like reMarkable, Monday or other remote team management technology and apps are key to productivity but need to be learned.
If your team is remote, it may be worthwhile offering a short specialist training session on the tools you will be using in your remote working set-up.
Doing so will help to minimize employee errors that may compromise confidential information. Being certified in cybersecurity training can be a great bonus addition and will look impressive on a CV, which should appeal to your team.
Alternatively, you can choose to offer online training for your employees to complete on their own time before they start work.
Getting Too Relaxed About Remote Security Access
Another cybersecurity concern about remote working is the limiting of access to the corporate network. When working on-site, employers can ensure company computers and devices meet standard security compliance benchmarks.
Also, they can draft their cybersecurity policies with their corporate software in mind. For example, it’s easy to arrange regular employee training on-site or provide cybersecurity checklists for their IT department.
With remote working, this element of control is reduced since most workers will be using their personal computers and devices, which may or may not comply with corporate security protocols.
To remedy this, consider assigning company devices for remote workers. If this proves to be too great of an investment, have your IT department vet personal devices before switching to remote working.
Cybersecurity threats are evolving all the time and as a result, businesses must be ready to adapt.
By reminding your remote team to stick to secure networks and continually reviewing the safeguards you have in place, you can avoid the typical cybersecurity mishaps and ensure your business continues operating without disruption.
Author: Jane Naylor