As more companies expand to include employees at remote locations, remote access security has become a top priority for many business leaders. This article will walk you through the surest ways to protect data.
How to Ensure Remote Access Security
Companies everywhere are beginning to rethink the value of having only a traditional in-person workforce. With advances in remote computing and mobile processing, more industries are turning to remote workforces to take care of important tasks.
Remote access, however, creates unique security concerns. Employees often access sensitive company data from their own devices and make changes over unsecure networks. Cyber criminals can more easily monitor employee communication, gain unauthorized access to accounts, and manipulate remote user networks when employees are working on their own unsecure devices.
Here are some key ways your company can keep your data secure and avoid dangerous data breaches:
Use Company Devices When Possible
Remote employees using their own devices to access company information is one of the biggest security risks for an organization. While company devices are usually equipped with firewalls and anti-virus software, personal devices often lack extensive security protections, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The most secure way to remedy this is requiring all work-related tasks to be completed on company devices. For some companies, this isn’t especially easy. If you have a large workforce or one with a high turnover rate, providing company-issued devices may just not be possible.
The best alternative to company-issued devices is giving employees direct access to the applications their work requires, without allowing them access to the whole company network. Limiting individual employee access protects data breaches from escalating and spreading to the rest of the network.
Many companies are increasingly making the switch to software defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), which allows a centralized virtual operator to route network traffic among remote users. The software is programmed to detect and dynamically respond to network conditions—such as signs of a security breach. SD-WAN offers companies with a remote workforce another option to defend against cyber criminals.
Protect Data with Automated Passwords
One of the easiest ways to ward off data breaches is keeping critical company information locked behind a password. To reduce the chances of a cyber criminal from gaining access employees should be required to regularly update their passwords.
This can be achieved more simply with automated password rotation software. The software automatically changes employee passwords and avoids the common pitfall of a new password that too closely resembles the first.
A single password might not be enough in all cases. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to your data. Users must log in with another identifying credential to get access to the company’s system. This can include a pin number or approval on a second device. Either one can act as a doubly secure way to ensure that the correct person is attempting to log in.
A final defense should be disabling automatic log-in for company accounts on all devices. While automatic log-in is convenient, it poses a major threat to data security. The wrong person can easily get access to company information without a secure log-in procedure.
Encrypt Company Data
Despite a company’s best password protection efforts, unauthorized access to company data still occurs. Encrypting company data is the next important step in ensuring remote access security.
Data encryption means your company’s information is translated into a secure code. This code can only be read by a receiver with an authorized key. Encryption is essential not only for company data, but also for email communication and any other transfers of sensitive information. From seemingly harmless emails, hackers can glean important information—like account details or employee information—that can help them gain unauthorized access to company accounts.
End-to-end encryption is the surest way to keep your company’s information safe. With end-to-end encryption, only those with authorized access can view company data and communication. If a company device is lost or stolen, end-to-end encryption can protect sensitive data from getting in the wrong hands.
Have Remote Workers Install a Firewall and Anti-Virus Software
Most company devices have already installed firewalls and anti-virus software on their devices to keep cyber criminals at bay. When remote employees are using their own devices, one of the biggest security risks is their lack of pre-installed security software.
Firewalls are designed to act as barriers between the company’s trusted network and unknown external networks that your employees will be using. As they monitor network traffic, firewalls follow pre-set security rules when determining user access permissions, meaning they can help prevent employees from engaging with untrustworthy sites and networks. Meanwhile, anti-virus software detects and eliminates many common types of malware that cyber criminals use to gain information and access to company networks.
To best protect your remote employees’ devices, instruct remote employees to install company-approved anti-virus software and firewalls.
Train Remote Users on Cybersecurity Protocol
Your most critical asset to cybersecurity is an educated, aware remote workforce. Your employees can be better protected against cyberattacks if they are properly trained on how to handle their work accounts and what to do if a problem arises.
The first step for your company should be to create a detailed cybersecurity protocol. It should outline how remote employees should access, store, and interact with company data. Cybersecurity training should review log-in procedures, two-factor authentication, and password rotation, so remote employees know what to expect.
Remote employees should also be comfortable using company-issued devices and immediately reporting suspicions of security breaches. Awareness is the key to security. Cybersecurity training can cultivate a healthy awareness in your employees to help them quickly address security threats.
While cybersecurity protocol is critical for all employees with access to company data, remote employees are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. Comprehensive cybersecurity training is your best protection against accidental mishaps.
Following these best practices is key to ensuring remote access security for your business. Improved Telecom Solutions takes your business’s security seriously. From software defined networks to fiber optic networks, Improved Telecom Solutions will work closely with your organization to make sure your internet connection is as secure as possible, while also ensuring you the highest quality data service.
A data breach can seriously jeopardize your organization and its reputation. You’ve worked hard to get your company to where it is today, and you don’t want that to happen to you. Take these steps today to keep your information secure.