During the advent of the pandemic in March 2020, the number of remote workers peaked at more than 83 percent of the US workforce. At the time, commentators believed that the number would rapidly return to baseline once risks subsided. But that didn’t happen. Even by September 2021, more than 67 percent of workers still worked partially or exclusively from home.
In light of this, remote cybersecurity is now business-critical. Moreover, it brings up new challenges that don’t arise in conventional, office-based setups.
Why Cybersecurity Is Important
Many firms outsource their security to professionally managed service providers that continuously monitor network traffic and block suspicious activities. As a result, most company networks are difficult for hackers to crack.
When workers are remote, though, that approach becomes more challenging. Employees and contractors prefer to use their own devices, which don’t offer the same level of cybersecurity protection as enterprise-level solutions.
During the pandemic and the shift to remote working, many cybersecurity incidences rose across the board. The movement created new attack surfaces for cybercriminals to exploit, increasing the risk that companies face. The departure from previous methods of working increased insider threats substantially, both deliberate and inadvertent.
How To Set Up Cybersecurity For Remote Workers
According to a Microsoft Digital Defense report, there are some relatively simple steps that employees and organizations can take to bolster security in this new environment.
- Mandating better passwords. Passwords such as “password123” or “mypassword” are easy for hackers to crack and provide almost no defense against a breach. Therefore, when operating a remote working model, companies should insist that employees choose passwords that are at least 12 characters long and contain both upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers.
- Insisting on two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication reduces reliance on passwords. Even if criminals obtain correct passwords, they still need access to a trusted device to breach network security.
- Ensuring that all devices are fully patched. Downloading the latest updates guarantees that your network has the best protection currently available. Today, there are enterprise solutions available that tell you which remote devices have the latest patches, and which don’t. Some allow you to insist that users download and install the latest patches before granting access to the network.
- Using VPNs. If hackers can track your IP address, they can find out who you are and where you are located. VPNs mask your original IP and hide your identity when interfacing with the internet.
- Using 5G. You might also want to experiment with using 5G, a technology that has built-in anti-spoofing and anti-tracking tools. It may be more secure than conventional Wi-Fi.
Of course, these are all partial solutions. The best solutions are comprehensive and employ multiple lines of defense.
Which Providers Are The Best For Remote Worker Cybersecurity?
If you lack the necessary in-house skills to improve your security arrangements, you can get assistance from cybersecurity firms that specialize in remote security. Providers such as Millennia Technologies implement a range of measures designed to prevent network breaches and confidential data from falling into the wrong hands.
The best cybersecurity firms start by creating a formal data security protocol. This process takes into account:
- The range of personal devices that employees use for work
- The type of data stored on those devices
- Whether these devices regularly connect to company infrastructure
- A plan if personal devices are lost or stolen (such as shutting them down remotely before third parties or criminals have a chance to access remote data)
- Software that allows firms to monitor any unauthorized usage of remote employee devices
Good cybersecurity firms also encourage companies with remote workers to use secure, cloud-based applications. They implement up-to-date security measures that actively monitor for breaches. Even if employees have their devices stolen, these firms maintain the integrity of the business network.
Ultimately, without a remote working security specialist on your team, evaluating your company’s needs is challenging. Existing in-house IT professionals often don’t have sufficient incentives to switch from their current roles to security-focused ones. And even if they do, it is hard for them to provide the necessary level of oversight to prevent threats from materializing. They’re too busy with other tasks.
The cost of hiring a cybersecurity firm for companies operating remote teams is usually less than that of a single salaried worker. Overall, it’s an investment that most companies find is worth making. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can bolster your company’s security!