Security has always been a hot topic around businesses. From client information to sales models, it is important to keep proprietary information confidential. The difficulty in protecting the things that make your business run has only increased as technology has grown.
A new trend in having remote employees has given the freedom to companies and workers alike, allowing for a whole new kind of business experience. With this freedom comes added safety risks, however, as employees connect with various devices over the internet. Everyone has a story to tell about a scam they’ve seen on the internet, but not everyone has a solution to the growing concern of being hacked. Having professional help is the safest way to go.
The burden of safety doesn’t fall solely on the company, however. There are many ways a worker can protect the private information of their company, keeping all interested parties feeling safe. Read on to find five ways remote employees can protect the company network.
| Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication seems to have hit the field hard in recent times, and no wonder when it is so effective. The main purpose of two-factor authentication is to have redundancy in place in case a user’s information is compromised. In today’s world of cyber threats, a good password is no longer the standard of protection.
Typically with a two-factor authentication set-up, a user will have a special means of contact ready to receive a one time pin to be entered on the site. For example, an employee who logs into the company’s network will receive a text on their cell phone with a code to be entered before access is given. This ensures that the person attempting to gain access is really who they say they are.
| Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a commonly used method of security in business today. VPNs are secondary connections that allow users in different places to connect to the same network without the information being shared along public internet connections. These networks are able to be managed and secured from a member of the business, allowing the protocols to be specific to your needs.
If a VPN sounds confusing, they really are not. The idea is that a “tunnel” is built and protected on both sides by various security measures. Like logging into your email or social media accounts, the only way to access the “private” side of your data is to enter through the protected gate.
| Better Passwords
There have been jokes about lax password protection as long as passwords have been around. The problem with coming up with a password is making it memorable without tying it to something easily found by prying eyes. Gone are the days when your birthday or daughter’s name was enough to keep you safe.
The common suggestion is to use a phrase, rather than a word that contains special characters as well as numbers and mixed capitalization. By mixing up the expected, it becomes magnitudes more difficult to guess or stumble onto the correct combination. Try using numbers or symbols in place of letters, but maybe not the one that is expected; an e does not always need to be a 3.
An additional password tip is to never leave your password written down somewhere, as this is the easiest way for that type of information to get out. Also, do not use the same password for multiple accounts and logins, personal or otherwise, as this will allow one breach to turn into many. Finally, do not share your password with anyone, not coworkers or family as secrets stay secret when we don’t share them.
| Use Secure Wi-Fi on Provided Device
Publicly provided wi-fi may seem like a boon to many a teenager on their parent’s data plan, but in a world of data breaches, this type of connection is strongly advised against. By opening up your data to anyone who can also access this wi-fi (and that is everyone as these are not password protected), you are setting yourself up for disaster. Always use a connection that is secured by at least a private password, if not by two-factor authentication.
Another safety precaution is to access sensitive data by using only company-provided devices. Personal devices are subject to less rigorous security measures, as there is not a whole IT team monitoring your iPhone. Many company-provided devices are set to run with optimal security settings for the types of data you are expected to access for your role.
| Follow Policies
There are always handbooks full of rules for employees to follow. They are well thought out and reviewed to maximize the effectiveness across a number of positions and occasions. This should be no different with network security, it deserves just as much attention as building protection.
Though the idea of following policies must be preceded by the implementation of policies by the employer, it is important to know and respect security protocols. As with company-provided devices, policies are put into place to protect the type of data that you are expected to be handling. For different types of information, there are different levels of sensitivity that must be examined.
It is imperative that security policies are given to employees and refreshed as situations change. The worker can only follow protocols that they are aware of. By keeping policies fresh and in front of the employee, you will be sure to limit disputes and the likelihood of network breaches.
Business security is everyone’s business, not just managers and not just IT. Each member of a company has a role to play in protecting the information that they handle. By taking small steps towards safety, a big impact can be made.
Make sure to have a VPN with good passwords that are doubly protected by two-factor authentication. Then it is the job of protected devices and well thought out policies to carry out network protection. With these measures in place, remote employees are sure to protect your network wherever they go!