Introduce to Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted the traditional customs of business. With shelter in place orders in effect and limited customer occupancy rules enforced, companies all across the globe have had to rethink how to conduct business. For many, that meant transitioning to remote work.
With more and more employees working from home, new problems arise that haven’t been accounted for in the past. One of the most pressing issues is security—now that employees are out of sight, how can managers and business owners ensure confidential business information is kept that way?
If you’re a business owner managing a remote workforce, don’t fret. Throughout this guide, we’ll go over how to keep your business information secure while working remotely. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing customer information, business credit cards, product details, and other details about your company are safe and secure.
1. Hire the right employees
Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely ,First and foremost, you’re going to want to ensure you have trustworthy and responsible employees working for you. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, so you don’t want to onboard staff that lack the knowledge or moral compass to keep private and sensitive business information confidential.
To ensure your staff is trustworthy, make sure to run a background check during the hiring process. Background checks can uncover a lot of eye-opening and helpful information, such as:
- Criminal history
- Current and previous addresses
- Credit score
- Previous places of employment
- National Sex Offender Registry
If a candidate happens to fail a background check, making the decision of whether to hire them will become much easier. However, it’s important to know both state and federal hiring laws and that you cannot discriminate based on certain factors. With solid evidence from a background check, making a case for yourself can be much easier should a job applicant take your case to court.
2. Create a cybersecurity policy
Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely , Now that you have all of your employees hired, it’s important to establish a cybersecurity policy. Believe it or not, some employees might not know the risks cybersecurity breaches pose, which means they can accidentally leak private or sensitive information. To prevent this from happening, make sure each and every employee is up to date on your current cybersecurity policy.
In your cybersecurity policy, detail the various security protocols that you expect your staff to comply with. Your policy should also include an agreement that employees have to sign for legal purposes. This way, should an employee fail to abide by your company’s protocols, a contract will hold them liable.
While you go over your cybersecurity policy, you should also take the time to educate your staff on cybersecurity, such as the importance of creating strong passwords, working in safe spaces where onlookers can’t see what they’re working on, and only accessing safe sites.
3. Use a secure internet connection
Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely , Believe it or not, cybercriminals can easily hack one of your employee’s computers just by using the same internet connection. So, if an employee decides to spend their work from home day in a coffee shop, local library, or even use a shared WIFI connection at their apartment complex they may be at risk.
Rather than forbidding your employees from leaving their cave (aka their home office) to change up their work environment, you can require workers to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN allows users to send and receive data across a shared or public network as if it were a private network. For example, let’s say one of your salespeople decided to go to Starbucks and crunch some numbers using its free WiFi connection. By signing into your company’s VPN, it would look as if your employee was connected to a private connection rather than Starbucks’ free WiFi.
VPNs don’t just hide a user’s location. Other safeguards VPNs provide include shielding a user’s browsing history, keeping online activity private, hiding a user’s location, and protecting any shared devices. If there’s one safety measure to invest in, VPNs are the way to go.
4. Use password managers
Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely , Businesses have numerous accounts they need to keep track of. Customer relations management database, bank accounts, shared cloud drives, emails—these are just some of the accounts businesses use on a daily basis that often require a password. Because they’re used so often, you may want to use a simple password to avoid the annoyance of typing in various numbers, letters, and symbols. Doing so, however, can land you in some deep troubled waters.
Passwords are often the first line of defense when it comes to protecting important information. With that said, using a password manager can be a great way to track all of your important passwords and safeguarding all of your business accounts. As you set up your company’s password manager, make sure to give your employees password security training and educating them on the importance of using unique and complex passwords and not sharing them with others.
5. Enable two-factor authentication
Keep Security When Employees Work Remotely , Sometimes, a password isn’t enough to prevent hackers from breaking into a computer. To take security a step further, enable two-factor authentication on all of your business accounts, such as email, banking, and other accounts. With two-factor authentication enabled, those looking to log in to an account will not only have to enter a password but will either have to enter a secret PIN sent to a mobile phone, answer a security question, and enter another type of special code.
Thanks to AI and machine learning, you can even go further with multi-factor authentication, which can require verification based on biometrics, such as fingerprints, retina, or voice recognition. Depending on how confidential your business information might be, looking into these security measures can ensure your sensitive data remains bulletproof.
The bottom line
As a business owner, whether it’s of a new startup or a large corporation, it’s important you keep your business information secure. With more employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic or because they’re a freelancer, it’s important they understand internet safety. With these tips, from using a secure internet connection to enabling two-factor authentication, you’ll be able to keep your business information safe while employees work remotely.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365 Business Tips as well as runs a personal blog, Mixed Bits Media. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.