8 Steps to Tighten up Remote Work Security for Your Wisconsin Business
An approximate 16 million U.S. workers started working remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The instant shift to remote working has exposed businesses and their employees to new cybersecurity threats. Businesses have witnessed a 667% increase in spear-phishing email attacks related to COVID-19 since the end of February this year.
According to William Altman, Senior Analyst at the Global Cyber Center of NYC “organizations of all kinds are facing an uptick in email-based threats, endpoint-security gaps, and other problems as a result of the sudden switch to a fully remote workforce.”
Strengthening remote work security is, therefore, no longer an option, but a necessity. Ignoring this aspect can cost your Wisconsin business big.
Different Ways to Maintain Security When Businesses Work Remotely
The work environment in offices consists of different levels of security controls. However, remote work doesn’t always have the same security measures. Here are a few ways you can maintain your business’s security when your employees work remotely.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Set-up
Employees working remotely often use public internet or weakly secured Wi-Fi networks for accessing confidential business data and sharing sensitive files. This can give cyber-attackers an opportunity to intercept the private data. You can secure your business with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when your employees work from home.
VPN can help establish secure connections between your business network and the devices used by your remote employees by creating a virtual tunnel between them. It protects the data traveling through this tunnel through encryption and security protocols, thereby keeping the data secure and confidential.
You should take a proactive approach when dealing with a remote business network. It will give you a clear idea about your business’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. As a result, you will be able to mitigate cybersecurity breaches in advance. Here’s how you can do it.
Scanning a remote system becomes easy through a vulnerability scanner. You can use it to check vulnerabilities that cyber-attackers can exploit. Once you discover these vulnerabilities, you can patch them and create a robust remote security network for your business.
As a business owner, you must know exactly how secure your business network is with respect to remote access. Penetration testing acts as a simulated cyberattack against your remote business system and checks for exploitable vulnerabilities. It consists of the following five phases:
- Gain of access
- Maintenance of access
- Coverage of tracks
All in all, proactive testing can assist you in determining the effectiveness of your remote defenses and processes. It will also prepare you to take corrective measures beforehand and maintain a secure remote working environment.
Limited Access Control
Leveraging Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) will enable you to give access to specific employees on the basis of their authority level and responsibility.
Simply put, the employee’s role determines the specific permission the business system grants them. For instance, you can designate whether an employee is an administrator or a coder and accordingly limit their access to specific resources and tasks only.
RBAC adds an important layer of security over the business’s remote network. By analyzing and implementing access control, you can minimize the risk associated with human errors and insider threats.
Enterprise Content Management
Leveraging Enterprise Content Management (ECM) can help you manage your remote business security effectively. Enterprise Content Management Services can help your business migrate to an all-digital format and grant remote employees access to critical documents, thereby reducing insider security threats. Simply put, ECM ensures that the right information ends up in the right hands at the right time.
Further, ECM ensures compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS through seamless management of huge amounts of data. You can hire a local IT company to deploy ECM for maintaining your state-specific compliance laws. For instance, businesses in Wisconsin can leverage Milwaukee outsourced IT support for adhering to their local regulatory standards.
With an increase in remote work, more employees are connecting to their business’s network through home computers, laptops, and mobile devices. The increased network access has led to the requirement of endpoint encryption. It can protect your business from malicious activities and data leaks by securing the various endpoints of your company’s network.
In other words, endpoint encryption completely encrypts your business data on endpoints, including laptops and mobile devices. It also encrypts the data in individual folders, files, and removable storage devices such as USB drives. As a result, it blocks unauthorized access attempts at these points of entry.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
A simple and effective method of protecting your remote business system from threats such as phishing, spear phishing, credential stuffing, brute-force attacks, and man-in-the-middle attacks is by using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). It works as an additional security layer and needs multiple types of credentials to verify and confirm an employee’s identity to access an account.
When employees log into their account with a username and password, they are prompted to enter an additional credential to gain access to their account. These factors include a one-time password (OTP) or biometric elements, which are privately sent to the employees register mobile number or email. As a result, even if cyber-attackers steal an employee’s login information, they won’t be able to gain access to the device.
Employee Training and Education
Employee actions can also lead to data breaches, either intentionally or unintentionally. While malicious insiders do it deliberately, ignorant employees can also cause data leaks by falling for cyber scams such as phishing emails that installs malware in their devices.
It is worth investing your time and money in facilitating cybersecurity training for your employees. The training will make employees aware of how to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats. It will also prompt them to report and respond to cybersecurity incidents as soon as they occur.
Cyber-attackers can exploit weaknesses in outdated software and gain access your devices. Software providers release updates for their products to mitigate security threats and improve functions. Installing regular updates fixes potential vulnerabilities to enhance protection against data loss and theft.
Moreover, installing software updates as soon as they become available reduces the amount of time cybercriminals get to find and leverage these vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity threats are increasing during the ongoing pandemic. Companies are required to scale up their remote workforce security to mitigate the security threats. You can use the above-mentioned strategies to create a robust cybersecurity environment. Implementing security practices such as setting up a VPN, supervising access control, incorporating end-point encryption, and employee training can go a long way in securing a business’s remote network from possible cyber-attacks.
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.