Just 15 years ago, having employees work remotely from home was a novel idea, and not one that many companies looked at seriously. There were too many challenges when it came to having telecommuters connect to business software and files that had to be overcome. But flash forward to 2020, and companies here in Rhode Island and around the globe have been exploring the cost saving benefits of a remote workforce. One of the biggest drivers that helped them get over those earlier hurdles was the widespread adoption of cloud solutions that allow access to business apps from anywhere. Over the last 10 years, the number of remote workers has grown 91%. Another recent event that’s causing the number of remote workers to skyrocket (even if only temporarily) is the coronavirus pandemic. The need to socially distance to prevent the spread of the virus has caused many companies to send their employees home to work remotely. When you have your team accessing business apps, talking to customers over VoIP, and logging in remotely to workstations, a big challenge that comes up is how to keep all those connections secure. Cybersecurity can often be an afterthought with a transition to remote workers, especially when it’s done with little advance warning. But without it, your entire business could be at risk due to a ransomware attack or data breach of an employee’s home network. Following are the ways that Onsite Techs of Rhode Island keeps our clients’ data and networks secure when their business is operating virtually from several locations.
Security Best Practices for Telecommuting Employees
When your company’s technology infrastructure is now spread out over multiple employee homes, data security is more challenging. But with certain best practices in place you can ensure the same solid network security that you do when everyone’s working from the same office. You’ll find that many of these best practices are included in our managed IT services plans that make technology security easy for companies (because we handle it for you!).
Make Sure Devices Have Patch/Update Management
The computers or mobile devices that your employees use to work from home leave your business data at risk if they’re not updated with security patches in a timely manner. 60% of the data breaches in 2019 were due to unpatched vulnerabilities. A good patch and update management plan means that all devices have software and operating system updates applied shortly after they’re released. We handle this remotely through our managed services. Whether your employees are using their own personal computers or have brought home their office workstations, update management ensures they’re not left vulnerable to a data breach.
Use a Business Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN allows internet connections to be encrypted and secured, even if employees are connecting from an unsecure Wi-Fi. Virtual private networks redirect your internet connection through their servers, which have several safeguards that ensure a hacker can’t intercept your data. VPN software is simply downloaded on all devices (computers and mobile devices) and the user connects through the VPN software when going online.
While you may have a firewall at your office, that onsite solution isn’t going to protect computers that employees are working from at home. Each device should have an antivirus/anti-malware solution to ensure malware isn’t downloaded that could then be passed through to cloud storage or other file systems. Managed antivirus allows your employees to focus on their work rather than having to worry about updating the software or what threats it may be stopping. Instead, it’s monitored and managed remotely by IT professionals who can ensure all safeguards are keeping your team protected.
Web Protection (DNS Filter)
There are already multiple phishing attacks related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) being sent out by scammers. These are in addition to the regular phishing campaigns that offices see in user inboxes on a weekly basis. The main tactic these scams use is a link to a malicious website that can be used to steal login credentials or download malware on a computer. Having your remote workers use a web protection software (also called a DNS filter), keeps them from accidentally vising a malicious website and infecting their computer. This type of app checks an address before allowing the user’s browser to load the site. If the site is malicious, it redirects them to a warning page instead.
Cloud Backup Systems
Employees may be saving work product on their personal computers while working at home. You want to ensure that those files are backed up safely, so they aren’t lost in the case of a hard drive crash or ransomware attack. The easiest and safest way to do this across multiple locations and devices is through an automated cloud back up that is managed. A managed backup means there is an IT pro keeping an eye out to ensure no backups have run out of space or otherwise gotten stuck in the backup process.
Automate Your Remote Worker Security with Managed Services
You can ensure that your entire remote workforce is secure, and your data is safe by working with Onsite Techs of Rhode Island. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.