Best Practices to Reduce Cyber Threats for your Remote Workforce

The proliferation of remote workforces has been a responsible, sensible response to a worldwide pandemic.

Interestingly, this shift in the business model might be more permanent than its initial position as an emergency measure. Through collaborative technologies such as Microsoft Teams, organizations have found that work can get accomplished and cohesiveness maintained. All without paying as much overhead for office space.

However, this dramatic shift in how we do work has come with its adjustment phase.

Equipping a remote workforce – one that used to be in-office – with acceptable cybersecurity practices isn’t a matter of snapping your fingers. Cybercrimes are proving to be a significant problem for remote workers. One survey shows that 90% of IT leaders think remote workers are a security risk to their organizations.

Fortunately, we have some insightful best-practice tips on how your remote workforce can mitigate cyber threats.

#1: Invest in Cybersecurity Training 

Knowledge is power. And you can’t expect your team to be aware of best practices without putting time and money into learning and application. See how your firm stacks up with a free IT security audit.

 #2: Keep Software Up to Date

Think about this:

One survey found that in 11 countries, the average annual total cost of cybercrime per company jumped from $11.7 million to $13 million between 2017 and 2018.

This stat means that cybercriminals keep getting smarter and make a habit of staying ahead of the game. If your remote workforce is equipped with outdated, unpatched software or operating systems, they’ll be left extremely vulnerable to attacks.

Conversely, the up to date software will prove a wise investment that saves you from costly headaches.

#3: Routinely Change Passwords and Don’t Use Duplicates

Having different passwords for different services prevents a hacker who might successfully get into one account from gaining access to others. Plus, if you’re continually alternating your password, a cybercriminal might only gain access once – and never again.

#4: Don’t Communicate Financial Information over Email

It’s worth reiterating that today’s cybercriminals are savvier than ever before. They might be able to hack their way into an email account with relative ease, despite other measures in place.

This is why discussing financial matters, indicating approvals,  and other delicate information over email is a 100% no-go. That is the last line of defence against someone who’s successfully breached an email account.

#5: Only Use a VPN for Work Activities

VPN connections bolster security because it encrypts all inbound and outbound traffic between your computer and your office network.

While this makes for a simple home workplace solution, a VPN isn’t without some cracks in the foundation. As such, remote workers should only use such a connection for work-related tasks to mitigate the risks from recreational internet activities.

#6: Any Work Device Taken Home Should Be Encrypted

Your company needs to protect work devices from being exploited when they’re taken to a remote location. Encryption on laptops and work phones then become a must because all data becomes an unreadable code. So, if a hacker steals equipment, they won’t be able to make use of the data that is on it.

All these DIY tips will keep businesses relatively safe and secure, as will taking the following DIY cybersecurity measures:

  • Don’t use personal email addresses for work purposes.
  • Connect with your direct reports via daily video chats.
  • Do not save work-related data locally.
  • Use approved and secured central or cloud storage.
  • Invest in cloud backups for remote workers.

#7: Hire a Managed IT Provider

However, one last integral layer of your security should be hiring a managed IT provider to help you eliminate risks altogether.

F12 serves clients with Managed IT Services across canada