The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses across the U.S. to perform one of the quickest collective pivots in recent memory. Operations were suddenly occurring from employees’ homes, and businesses found a way to adapt to what was at the time thought to be a temporary situation. Fast-forward almost 20 months however, and 45% of full-time U.S. employees worked from home completely for a part of the week, according to Gallup’s September 2021 update of its monthly employment trends.
Those figures point to the remote work trend continuing into the foreseeable future. If that’s the case, businesses will have to take the necessary measures to ensure every ounce of data transferred across their networks is secure. Fortunately, companies don’t have to take on cybersecurity on their own. Here are six tools or measures businesses can take to prevent online security from faltering within their remote workforce.
Virtual private network (VPN)
A VPN encrypts data and hides users’ IP addresses by moving network activity through a secure chain to a different server in another location. The services’ data encryption features can keep confidential information private. This is ideal in a remote work environment because employees can review sensitive documents on their home computer without the fear of unwanted eyes looking at it.
“Effective cybersecurity starts with the employer,” Dogtown Media co-founder and CEO Marc Fisher said in a recent Forbes Technology Council Expert Panel. “One critical factor that improves remote security is requiring employees to use a VPN while using work devices. Employees’ traffic is encrypted, making it harder to sustain an attack.”
Malware (malicious software) refers to any software designed to damage computers or computer systems, such as viruses, spyware and ransomware. Employees’ personal computers left unprotected could be vulnerable to device-based attacks, leading to stolen credentials or private customer information. Anti-malware software is by no means the last line of defense for remote workers’ online security, but it remains a key piece of the puzzle as it can perform tasks such as signature matching and AI-base detection.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning
Cyberattacks can happen at any time of day. Embracing AI allows companies to detect potential threats before they can do any harm in real time. These technologies not only analyze millions of data sets and discover cyber threats, but their continued learning capabilities allow them to use past experiences to discover future threats, according to the Institute of Electrical Engineers Computer Society.
Credit and digital identity monitoring
A predominately remote workforce doesn’t just put a company’s information at risk, but its customers’ as well. Businesses can deploy credit monitoring technology to help keep both their employees’ and customers’ private information safe. Credit monitoring can alert a business if someone’s identity has been compromised before the cybercriminal can use any personal information to request a ransom, according to CSO. Similarly, digital identity monitoring tracks information like Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and emails to sound the alarm if such data were to be leaked online.
Implement a solid remote security plan
Sometimes the best way for a company to shield itself from cyberattacks is to make sure its remote workforce understands best practices. Companies that don’t have a policy in place should look to set up basic guidelines around remote access to their information systems — especially if employees plan to use personal devices to conduct business, attorney Christopher Buontempo told the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Businesses can also warn employees to avoid opening suspicious emails as well as clicking on unfamiliar attachments or links. Requiring workers to encrypt any private information that might be stored on, sent to or from a remote device is another good policy a company should add to its remote workforce security plan.
“Full disk encryption of the computer’s hard drive ensures that if the device falls into the wrong hands, the company’s data is not accessible,” Tony Anscombe, chief security evangelist at IT security company ESET told SHRM.
How Faronics can help
As remote workforces become the rule rather than the exception, it’s imperative that companies make sure all cyber-related matters are as secure as they would be in their physical office.
The Faronics Anti-Virus security solution makes sure business’ IT assets remain in safe hands. The solution provides virus, spyware, rootkit protection, as well as firewall protection for comprehensive security. Our technology detects the most complicated malware without impacting your employees’ machines. Meanwhile, Faronics’ firewall protection assets offer multiple layers of protection, offering peace of mind against attacks coming from a network or the internet.
Additionally, Faronics’ Deep Freeze ensures businesses’ virus definition files remain up-to-date even if a computer is in a “Frozen” state.
Our easy-to-use device management tools provide maximum control over your enterprise systems, helping your organization stay secure no matter how much your team grows.
If you’re interested in getting started with an automated onboarding and provisioning tool, contact us today.