With more companies switching to a remote environment and constant changes in technology, cybersecurity is more relevant than ever. As an employer, keeping your employees and business safe is an effort that goes beyond the IT team.
Whether physically in the office or fully online, there are certain considerations that should be made to help prevent data breaches and avoid cybercrime.
Here are five steps you can implement within your business to keep the digital identities of your employees protected.
Choose difficult passwords and enable multi-factor authentication.
The simpler the password, the easier it is for hackers to access sensitive information. Each company will have its own minimum requirements set for passwords. However, general guidelines for a strong password call for at least 10 characters, a mix of upper and lowercase letters, and at least one special character. You’ll also want your employees to use different passwords for different accounts, that way all accounts are not impacted in case of a breach.
If you’re an MSP, you can also utilize MSP password management. With this type of password management solution, login credentials, documents, and other sensitive data are stored securely for the end-user. Within this secure vault, options such as self-service resets can also help reduce the IT helpdesk workload. All employers should also consider multi-factor authentication (MFA) options for an added layer of protection.
Always use a VPN connection.
Many businesses that were forced to go remote may already understand the importance of using a VPN (virtualized personal network). In a work from home environment, it is imperative that employees dial into the company’s network via a secure and encrypted connection. An unsecured Wi-Fi connection could be considered a pathway toward a major security breach.
There are several types of VPNs to protect IP addresses and user privacy, selecting the right one comes down to the specific needs of your company.
Do not engage with unfamiliar emails, links, and pop-ups.
By now, we should all be familiar with phishing schemes. Even so, companies like Microsoft, Trustwave, and even the FBI issue warnings about new scams nearly every month. Employees need to monitor their email boxes regularly and are able to identify the signs of a suspicious email. Equally as important is having a mechanism in place for employees to report suspected phishing emails.
Proper web browsing etiquette can help prevent the risk of malicious attacks with links and pop-ups. Inform employees how important it is to use company equipment for work-related activities only—this means no uploading a private photo to the shared Google Drive. This also goes beyond laptops and desktops, as downloading Snapchat on a company phone could also have serious security implications.
Stay on top of regular software updates.
When in the middle of a meeting or working on a tight deadline, it can be easy to just click “cancel” on an update notification. As easy as this is to ignore, it is much harder to fix a security issue after it has occurred.
Stress to employees the importance of regularly scheduled software updates. The protection provided by these updates far outlasts the time it takes to download. Updating software provides security fixes, patches to existing bugs, new features, and a myriad of other improvements that improve overall stability.
Train employees on a consistent basis.
Obtaining the right software and issuing guidelines is just the being of keeping your employees safe online. Continuous training on proper cybersecurity protocols is key to maintaining a secure environment.
Use training as a time to go over app installs, scheduled software maintenance, proper reporting procedures, and password changes.
By keeping safety at the forefront of your employees’ minds, you build a stronger overall awareness that can go even beyond the workplace.
For example, instead of storing those personal photos mentioned earlier solely on iCloud storage, an employee might opt to use a private picture sharing device.
If employees are protecting themselves away from the office, they may also be more inclined to do so while on the clock.