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Remote working tips from a cybersecurity advisor

14 Apr 2020

We’re in a time where remote working is becoming the norm. While there have always been remote workers, the current climate has made working from home or another space is a necessity, not a choice. As this continues, companies must position themselves to protect their sensitive data, while considering the environment of their workers.

 All over the world, companies have to use common sense for their infrastructure no matter where their workers are. For workers who need to hide their identity, this New Zealand VPN solution can make a difference.

Why would a company want to have a solution that makes it seem like their workers are somewhere else? By masking where employees are working, it adds an additional layer of protection for the worker and the company. 

This means the connections are encrypted and hackers or cybercriminals will have a harder time trying to access information from a genuine employee (or that’s what they would think).

Getting the best options for remote workers and how companies can guarantee the stability and the protection from a cybersecurity advisor makes sense. They are able to pinpoint any inconsistencies and lend advice for best practices the company should follow. 

Here are their recommendations:

Hardware

Hardware is one of the most important elements when setting up for remote work. Companies must determine from the very beginning if they will provide computers for the workers or the remote worker will be able to use their own device. While it may be cost-effective for companies to allow workers to use their own devices, there is a lot of risk involved with that.

A company-owned computer will allow the company to install their own antivirus software and any other protective measures to ensure their infrastructure is not compromised. They will also be able to make sure the firewall is in place and accessibility on the computer is restricted to the worker’s duties. If a company allows a worker to use their personal computer, they must equip the worker with the tools and software to ensure the integrity of their infrastructure on the company side.

Accessibility

Remote workers need immediate access to continue daily operations. One of the best solutions is to use a VPN gateway and a remote computer access service.

What is a VPN gateway? This is a virtual private network where all transmissions between the remote worker and company are encrypted at high levels. It is important to make sure the remote worker’s computer is infection free, because it is possible for infected files to reach the main computer if not careful. A remote computer access service allows a remote worker to connect to an office computer while all data and information remain at the office. While this is a good option, if the worker’s hardware is not configured the right way, problems will ensue.

Multi-factor authentication

Remote workers should use multi-level authentication to get onto the server. This makes it hard for a cybercriminal to infiltrate passwords and access the system. This is one of the best defenses against this happening. This type of authentication uses text push messages, text messages and in some cases, biometrics to ensure the identity of the user. Although biometrics is growing in popularity, backup solutions should be in place as this software may have a glitch or two.

Technology

To have an effective remote workforce, modern technology is key. Collaborative programs that are password protected helps team members communicate in real time with the access they need to sensitive company data. This way, everyone is on the same page with the same expectations and rules. The more modern the technology, the easier it is for remote workers to work effectively.

Access privileges

Every remote worker should have designated access privileges that allow them to access the parts of the network that pertain to what they are doing for the organization. One of the biggest issues in company infrastructure is not setting enough protocols within the office, leaving the system vulnerable to threats by their own employees. Administrative access should never be placed on a remote worker’s computer unless they are a manager or higher.

Keep up with the patches

One of the best things a company can do is make sure all patches are installed when they are released. One of the biggest ways a data breach can occur is through vulnerable systems that haven’t kept up with their software patches. Patches should be made available to remote workers as well, ensuring their systems are up to date.

Safety checks

The IT department of the company should be able to run safety checks and performance protocols for all remote workers before they begin working. By doing this, they can make sure the company’s infrastructure is protected while making sure they are able to get their work done.

Training

Companies who take the time to train their employees on how to effectively work remotely will help them keep the lines of communication open and protect the investment of the company. The objective is to make sure they know and understand all protocols. Remote workers who are trained on cybersecurity basics will know how to spot malicious activity on their computers and stop phishing.

How can remote workers be effectively supported?

Before sending remote workers off on their own, having an in-person meeting with everyone to discuss expectations, schedule training and provide a team atmosphere even though everyone will be in their respective spaces makes the difference. It’s important to trust remote workers to do their jobs correctly and employ best practices when working from home. 
Using collaborative platforms such as videoconferencing software is key, but it is important to make sure all meetings are password protected and require passwords to enter. This cuts down on the likelihood of infiltration during the meetings.

Getting an assessment from a cybersecurity advisor helps the company move forward in designing the right policies and procedures for remote workers to follow. It also provides a guideline for the IT team in dealing with situations that may occur when everyone is working remotely.

This is one of the reasons why a VPN is so important. Virtual private networks are used by companies and individuals because of their capabilities and anonymity. Using a VPN masks what is being done and can provide the illusion of being in one place while actually being in another. 

Almost everything is done on the internet, so ensuring confidential information remains safe is critical. Taking the necessary steps and advice of a cybersecurity professional ensures the integrity of the company while protecting the employees and company data.

Putting the company first in ensuring remote workers are fully equipped with the tools and guidance they need can help counteract any cybercriminal targeting that may be going on in the background. Cybersecurity advisors are well-versed in these types of attacks and can provide the best and most current information on what a company should be doing to keep their infrastructure and remote workforce safe. 

The world as we know it is changing, and the “office” is now everywhere. Safety, security and best practices should always be at the forefront of this change, now and in the future.