Staying Secure in a Work-From-Home World
Working remotely has been a growing trend for a while now. And recently, with Coronavirus, even more organizations are sending their employees home from the office. Technology has made it possible to work from basically anywhere, but it may not be as straightforward as it seems, especially when it comes to security.
So, how are you handling security for your organization?
BYOD & Cybersecurity
One of the biggest challenges of implementing a secure work-from-home policy is resources. There are organizations out there that have the resources available to send their employees home with company-owned and company-managed devices. By providing staff with devices, businesses have more control over their security. They can set up each device with anti-virus, the latest updates, and any other security tools needed.
However, for many more organizations, this is just not possible. They don’t have the financial flexibility to provide these types of supplies for their entire team. So instead, they adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. And while just letting your employees access any and all data from their personal devices is not the best idea, you can layer security on top of a BYOD policy as an effective solution.
So, what should you be paying attention to when you’re putting together your security plan?
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
When it comes to security, you need to ensure that your employees are using a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to work resources. If you are putting your remote desktop server on the internet freely, you’re basically opening the door for hackers.
Instead, use a VPN. A VPN creates a secure connection over the internet between a computer and an office network. Employees will still be able to remote into their desktop and access necessary resources, but it won’t be exposing your organization’s network to the entire internet and any bad actors that are lurking.
Mobile Device Management
Another security consideration when implementing a BYOD policy is mobile device management (MDM). MDM software gives organizations more control over their data and resources, even when they are being accessed from personal devices.
One excellent MDM software is Intune, which comes with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. With Intune, you can set up several parameters to improve cybersecurity. You can automatically push out software updates across all devices. You can require certain software, like anti-virus, be present on a device before allowing the user access to company resources and data. And you can set up parameters for what types of information can be shared or printed.
Intune works with a variety of device environments and allows you to manage devices, apps, and users. With this type of tool, you can improve security while leveraging BYOD.
At your office, all devices and workstations are most likely protected by powerful security software, such as anti-virus. These measures work to combat malware and can block employees from installing certain applications or clicking on certain links.
Without these security tools, a device can be left vulnerable to hackers. So, with a BYOD policy, you need to provide and require employees to install these types of software on their own devices. We recommend Sophos Intercept X, which provides robust endpoint protection. Intercept X is cloud-based and AI-powered. It’s one of the best solutions out there for protecting your organization from malware and other types of threats.
We can’t stress enough how important setting up multi-factor authentication is — whether in or out of the office. It’s an easy first step to creating a layered approach to security and protecting your data.
Passwords are the first line of defense against hackers, but unfortunately, hackers can break them fairly easily if users aren’t following strong password guidelines (which most aren’t… more on that later).
By setting up and enforcing the use of multi-factor authentication, you are adding one more level of security on top of passwords.
Formal Guidelines and Policies
IT leaders at your organization can set up a VPN, multi-factor authentication, and MDM software. However, the actions of everyone at the organization can still present security risks. That’s why you need to create a formal, written security policy on top of the tools and technology you put in place.
Educate your employees on cybersecurity and how their actions can make a big impact on the overall protection of the organization. This should include topics such as passwords, phishing, Wi-Fi, and more.
We already mentioned that many people aren’t committed to a strong password game on their own, so train your employees on it. Provide them with access to a password manager to make it easier for them to create unique and strong passwords. Educate them on the do’s and don’ts of passwords, so they understand the importance.
You should also be regularly training your employees on the latest types of cyber attacks. Teach them how to spot phishing emails and to be wary of clicking on links or downloads. These types of attacks prey on human behavior, so give your employees the tools to know what to look out for. You can even run phishing simulations, analyze how your employees did, and create trainings based on this information.
You’ll also want to outline Wi-Fi guidelines in your written security policy. Wi-Fi is another potential risk for your organization and certain networks can be more dangerous than others. You may not want your employees ever connecting to public Wi-Fi. Make this known in your policy. The people in your organization need to understand what leadership expects of them when it comes to security. Most individuals are not actively thinking about the potential risks, so you need to bring it to the front of their minds.
The possibility for employees to work from home is extremely beneficial for many organizations. They can continue operating even when employees are not allowed to come to the office. And thanks to technology like video conferencing and file sharing, teammates can continue to work together and create meaningful solutions.
However, one obstacle to remote working is keeping up with security standards, especially with BYOD policies. Rest assured though, your organization can adopt strong cybersecurity measures in this situation. By creating layers of protection, strong, secure BYOD environments are entirely possible.
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