Telework was already on the rise before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced organizations of all sizes to rapidly adopt remote work at scale. According to a recent Gartner survey, 82% of companies plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time after the pandemic ends, while 47% plan to allow employees to work remotely most of the time.
With so many people now working outside of the traditional office setting, organizations need to be extra vigilant about protecting their data and systems from cyberattacks. Here are ten steps you can take to keep your remote workers safe from cyberattacks:
1. Educate your employees about cybersecurity risks
The first step in keeping your remote workers safe from cyberattacks is educating them about the risks. Employees should be aware of the most common types of attacks, such as phishing and ransomware, and how to protect themselves from them. They should also know what to do if they suspect they’ve been attacked, such as reporting it to their IT department or security team immediately.
2. Use strong security tools and protocols
Organizations should also have strong security tools and protocols in place to protect their data and systems. This includes things like firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. Remote workers should have access to these tools and know how to use them properly.
3. Keep your systems up to date
Another important step in keeping your remote workers safe from cyberattacks is making sure your systems are up to date. This includes installing updates for your operating system, applications, and security software as soon as they’re available. Attackers often target known vulnerabilities, so it’s important to patch them as soon as possible.
4. Use secure connections
When remote workers need to access sensitive data or systems, they should do so using a secure connection, such as a VPN. This helps to protect the data in transit from being intercepted by attackers.
5. Back up your data regularly
Regular backups of your data are essential in case of a cyberattack. This way, you can restore your data if it’s encrypted or deleted by an attacker. You should store backups offline, such as on an external hard drive or in the cloud, so they can’t be accessed by attackers.
6. Implement access control measures
Access control measures, such as user authentication and authorization, can help to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data and systems. For example, you could require employees to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication when logging in to corporate accounts.
7. Monitor activity for suspicious behavior
Monitoring activity on your network can help you to detect suspicious behavior that could indicate an attempted or ongoing attack. This includes things like unusual login activity, strange file activity, and unapproved access to sensitive data.
8. Respond quickly to incidents
If you do experience a cyberattack, it’s important to respond quickly in order to minimize the damage. This includes taking steps to contain the breach, identifying the scope of the incident, and restoring any affected data or systems. You should also notify law enforcement if appropriate.
9. Learn from your mistakes
After a cyberattack, it’s important to take the time to learn from your mistakes. This includes conducting a post-incident review to identify what went wrong and what could be improved. You should then update your security procedures accordingly to help prevent future attacks.
10. Get professional help
If you don’t have the in-house expertise to effectively manage your cybersecurity risk, you may want to consider working with a managed security service provider. These providers can help you with things like identifying vulnerabilities, implementing security controls, and responding to incidents.
By following these ten steps, you can help to keep your remote workers safe from cyberattacks and protect your organization’s data and systems.