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8 Ways to Ensure Secure Remote Work Across Your Company by@vasiliy-ivanov

8 Ways to Ensure Secure Remote Work Across Your Company

Vasiliy Ivanov  Hacker Noon profile picture

Vasiliy Ivanov

The founder and CEO of a KeepSolid, a company that builds modern security and productivity solutions

As the world of work rapidly becomes “remote-first”,  and our reliance on virtual tools grows daily, cybersecurity has emerged as an urgent priority for almost every employer.

Across the globe, organizations are finding new ways to protect sensitive data. Bigger corporations can afford comprehensive solutions, and small family businesses may rely on their employees’ scrupulousness--but there are several key tips that are critical for every employer to follow if they want to withstand cyberattacks.

1. Ensure that screens are locked when devices are inactive

This option is available on every computer and mobile device, and you can manually set a specific period of “idle time” after which the screen will be locked automatically. This time period can always be adjusted to reach a balance between needing to keep your device active and needing to ensure you lock your screen when you’re called out for an urgent meeting.

2. Enable full-disk encryption

Working remotely can increase the risk of your devices being stolen or lost in a public place. One of the most secure ways to protect the sensitive data on your computer is full-disk encryption, which is done at the hardware level.

When full-disk encryption is enabled, it’s impossible to access data on your computer without a disk-level password--even if the hard drive is removed and placed in another machine. However, this security measure comes with a risk: If the user forgets the disk password, there’s no way to access any of the information stored on the drive.

3. Update software regularly

Even the best-operating systems and browsers have vulnerabilities, or “security holes”--and once they are discovered, they become an easy target for cybercriminals.

Software updates provide patches for these vulnerabilities, and regularly updating your applications is an important preventive measure against malware attacks. 

When software updates are neglected, the results can be disastrous: One notorious example is the Equifax data breach, in which the sensitive data of 148 million people was compromised. Password manager software is no exception, and you should seek out products that offer regularly scheduled updates. 

4. Delete unused accounts

The old, unused credentials of former employees are an easy way for hackers to access corporate networks. As a result, onboarding and offboarding processes for new employees must include the removal of corporate accounts and credentials that are no longer valid. Depending on the scale and the needs of the company, this can be done manually, with password management tools, or with complex credential management systems used as part of public key infrastructure (PKI).

5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

2FA is an extra layer of security that requires a user to provide additional information after successfully entering their username and password. The most common types of two-factor authentication are SMS or voice messages, software tokens, and other types of push notifications.

6. Use firewalls

One of the most popular types of cyberattack is phishing; setting up conventional or DNS firewalls can preventively block the suspicious links and pop-up windows that are the source of phishing attacks--making them invisible to employees, so people won’t mistakenly click on them.

7. Set up a VPN connection

Encrypted connections that use Virtual Private Networks have already become a gold standard for remote work. When working in the office, employees can always connect directly to their employer’s internal network, but when they leave the security of the workplace, they need a secure end-to-end encrypted connection to protect internal applications and data. VPN services provide this protection, creating a single, secure shared network between multiple locations. 

8. Use a Password Manager

Choosing a password manager to generate and track passwords for every account and user can significantly simplify password management. Password managers generate highly secure passwords, and update them regularly to prevent potential breaches.

They can also allow password sharing, to enable team members to update your website, post to your social media accounts, or run tests. The best password managers also safeguard other sensitive data, such as corporate bank accounts, credit card numbers, or employees’ files.

The world of remote work is new for most of us, and we’ve had to adjust to having limited access to protected office networks. The steps outlined here can serve as guidelines for how to protect your data from all vantage points. While even a single security measure can mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, adopting all of them can ensure airtight security for your company--anywhere and at any time.