The outbreak of Covid 19 is forcing many companies to plan for increased levels of remote working in their organisations. While much of the focus may be placed on maintaining productivity levels – it is even more critical that businesses provide a secure environment for remote working, to protect the business, customer data and staff. Any short cuts in relation to security could expose your business to a whole new set of risks and have devastating consequences for your business. It is critical that you involve your IT department or IT service provider throughout the process.
Here are just a few tips to ensuring your remote working strategy is as secure as possible:
Secure Work Devices - Where possible, provide your staff with work devices which are properly protected with firewalls, antivirus, device encryption web filtering and other security software. If employees are using their own devices, you should install the relevant security software on their devices also.
Internet Connection – Staff will need access to good internet connection – and where possible staff should use a VPN when working from home. Employers may need to provide technical assistance to staff members to enhance the level of broadband at home.
Access to Work Files – Relevant applications and files should be accessible on the devices. Companies using a Cloud based platforms will benefit from easy and secure access for their staff. Multi-factor authentication should be used by all staff when accessing work related systems and files.
Increase Awareness of Cyber Security Policies. Staff should be trained up on company cyber security policies. It is critical that you increase awareness of cyber threats, such as phishing emails, ransomware and other potential threats. Stress the importance of effective passwords and ensure all staff are aware of the risks associated with sharing password details on emails. Staff should also be aware of the risks associated with clicking on email links form unknown sources and accessing the internet in public spaces, using public Wi-Fi.
Use IT Systems to Boost Productivity – Utilising technology to the maximum will boost efficiency for your business. For example, video conferencing options are a very cost effective, time efficient alternative to the ‘face to face’ meetings. This will also help engagement among staff who might otherwise find remote working very isolating.
Before you roll out remote working across your company, test the approach with a small team initially to help identify any teething problems. It will place you in a much stronger position should you be forced to roll it out across your company. While Covid 19 may be the catalyst for greater of remote working – if it is introduced effectively and is managed securely - this may reshape how companies view remote working in the longer term.