Working from home part 1: Cybersecurity
The pandemic proved that most companies can cope with their teams working remotely. But it’s still a shift that comes with new challenges. This series explores the ins and outs of the distributed workforce, starting with cybersecurity.
If you’ve been on LinkedIn lately you’ve probably seen a poll or post about the distributed workforce.
There are definite positives. If most or all of your employees work from home or the field, you can reduce corporate rental costs, cut commuters’ carbon emissions, and even unlock new pockets of productivity.
Then again, skeptics argue that most people just don’t have the discipline to work while their comfy couch is calling. Plus there’s the impact on culture, and the loss of chance connections that can spark great ideas.
It’s an ongoing debate, but there is one thing every business leader should agree on. Moving to a distributed model makes it more difficult to protect your organisation from cyber threats.
So, what steps can you to take to ensure your distributed team delivers safely?
Prevention is still better than cure
We assume most people understand the basics of digital security. But do you trust your team to spot a sophisticated phishing attempt? Or to make sure they don’t download anything from a dodgy website?
Whether working from home or the office, the truth is as much as 95% of successful cyber threats are the result of avoidable human error
It’s a worry, but your employees can also serve as your first line of defence.
Regular cybersecurity training should be your first safeguard.
How to spot phishing scams, where to safely download software and browser extensions, how to set security on sensitive documents, who to call if something happens – these are all essential lessons that empower your team to keep the business safe.
A CTO KNOWS: Cybercrime never stands still. Invest in ongoing training programmes and testing to keep the team clued up.
Cybercriminals are also working from home
Cyberattacks have gone up since the pandemic, but there are ways to reduce the risks.
Cost-effective steps like offering access to a VPN, or helping employees to reset their default Wi-Fi passwords, can help.
Those who can issue company-owned devices have a number of options.
Firstly, run a password audit to ensure that there are no former employees with access to your network.
Next, make sure to run regular remote software updates. This will ensure that any malware lurking in the network is detected early. You should also insist on daily backups to limit the impact of any harmful incident.
Finally, get your crowd on the cloud. Apart from the convenience of truly remote file access and simplified version control, using a Cloud solution means that no critical data is stored locally – so even if your servers, network, or individual devices are attacked, you remain secure.
A CTO KNOWS: EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) solutions allow you to secure everything from point of sale machines to connected personal devices. They’ll even warn you when they’re under threat.
To improve cybersecurity, plan for the worst
You (hopefully) have clear protocols in place in case of an emergency like a fire, and you need to do the same for cyber threats.
It’s important to identify capable, calm team members who can assess the situation and follow the correct procedure – whether that means shutting down a device or the whole network.
You can even put a crisis communication place in place to update your clients as quickly as possible.
However, none of these steps will work if your team is too afraid to speak up when they’ve made a mistake. Replacing threats with compassion and clarity will serve you better in the long run. Remember, this is all new to your team, too.
The distributed workforce is now a reality for most businesses. It can make your team more productive, save you money, and help keep the lights on – but it puts your organisation at risk, too. Make sure you have the cybersecurity training, technology and teams in place to keep cybercriminals at bay.