Working remotely has continued to gain popularity among American businesses. A recent survey by PwC on American CEOs asserts that 83% of employers who made the switch to remote work by allowing remote access to online workplace environments are now reaping numerous benefits. Some of these benefits include greater work flexibility, cost-effective operations and increased overall productivity.
Being out of the workplace environment no longer implies a halt in business operations as workers can now effectively send emails, reply to requests, complete tasks, join meetings and host presentations from various locations — even from outside the U.S. Business owners can also share files, assign tasks and communicate ideas, leading to a smooth flow of business activities.
However, these glaring benefits of remote work are inseparably associated with increased concerns about file security. The surge in remote work has seen a proportionate rise in cyber attacks and data theft over the last decade. A KPMG survey revealed that 83% of companies in the U.S. experienced a data breach or cyber security incident in 2021, with remote workers being the most targeted. Also, in the U.S. alone, a cybercrime is reported to occur every 39 seconds. This has left many companies on edge as they struggle to implement policies and security protocols to safeguard their resources against cyber attacks and security breaches.
What Is Remote Work Data Protection?
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and cybercriminals are becoming more skilled, employing a wider range of strategies. These include the use of sophisticated ransomware, malware and social engineering. To secure a company’s remote system, network and data from cyberattacks and unauthorized access, it is necessary to introduce technologies and methodologies that guarantee increased file security and protection.
Remote work data protection is a coalition of strategies and policies under the broad field of cybersecurity. It ensures a company’s information or data is protected from breaches or unauthorized access and malicious activities, such as phishing attacks and hacking, while it performs its remote operations. The process of data protection often demands a compilation of a comprehensive inventory of company data and the identification of possible security risks and resolution of these problems to increase the organization’s overall security position. Examples of high-risk areas include the use of outdated antivirus and firewalls, unpatched operating systems, unsecured networks, software and servers and poor password hygiene. Remote work data protection typically involves the following areas:
- Network security – Focuses on protecting your network from intruders or malware. Network protocols, firewalls, wireless access points and servers and hosts are all included.
- Cloud security – Ensures that your data is secure in the cloud.
- Application security – Addresses security risks on your company applications.
- Operational security – Includes measures and restrictions for determining access to data assets in work environments. It includes ID and permissions.
- Disaster recovery – Ensures a timely comeback in the event of a network breach. This ensures the restoration of business function and shortens downtime when it occurs.
Why Is Data Security for Remote Workers so Important?
Information has never been more highly valued than it is in today’s businesses. Corporate bodies and individuals trust the businesses they work with to protect their private data, including communications, transactions, knowledge archives, assets and worksheets. This trust is violated when a breach takes place, which damages one’s reputation. Also, the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report points out that we’ve seen a high rise in the average cost of a data breach — from $3.86 million in 2020 to $4.24 million in 2022. This includes customer repayments, auditing services and legal fees, among other costs.
Adopt the Following Measures To Protect Your Information When Working Remotely Outside the U.S.
Strong remote security is critical to the daily success of every business associated with remote work, either as a completely remote environment or as a hybrid. This is because remote employees pose a greater security risk than conventional office workers. Here are some measures business owners can take to protect their data, no matter the location.
Have a Remote Work Security Policy
A remote work policy is a document that clearly outlines the requirements or guidelines that bind employees as they work from home. Its purpose is to vividly state the terms of working remotely to ensure maximum data protection and service. Your security policy should set standards for work schedules, communication, file sharing, client confidentiality, public WiFi use, as well as the use of personal devices.
Staff Cyber Security Training
Trained employees are your first line of defense against cybersecurity attacks. This is because human errors account for most data breaches. Training your remote staff entails creating a state of security awareness and equipping them with useful information and best practices to help them identify security threats and take proactive steps to prevent breaches. Other useful security practices include spotting phishing and scam emails and using only secure and company-approved browsers or apps.
Migrate Your Business Applications to the Cloud
The cloud is an online-based server that enables businesses to store and process data remotely, allowing those files to be accessed from any device. Applications like Microsoft Office 365 offer 24/7 cloud services. By migrating your business database to the cloud, you boost work from home internet security and benefit from industry-compliant security features as well as access control tools.
Connect Over VPNs
A VPN (virtual private network) is an encrypted connection that helps users share files securely over the internet from any location. When you connect to public wifi networks, for example, in your favorite coffee shop, VPNs ensure that sensitive data is safely transmitted regardless of location. It does that by encrypting your data and by hiding your IP address, making it difficult for hackers to track your data. VPNs are among the most popular security tools for remote workers because they provide a secure and reliable connection to keep work going from any location.
Use Password Managers
A password manager is software that generates and securely stores your passwords across several platforms. Avoid using an easy, common password like “1234” and avoid reusing the same password across platforms, as this will make it easy for hackers to access your network. A password manager generates unique passwords that are often a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters, making it difficult for hackers to crack.
Install Multi-Factor Authentication
As hacking systems become more sophisticated, passwords may need to be reinforced by multi-factor authentication. A multi-factor authentication, typically two-factor authentication, ensures that users confirm their identity by an “authentication code” or a QR code through an authenticator application before they are granted access. This process makes it more difficult for hackers to access company data.
Use Firewalls and Anti-Malware Software
A firewall is typically a network guard that protects a network from intruders, while anti-malware software serves to detect and remove malicious codes such as viruses or spyware. All remote employees must have up-to-date firewalls and anti-malware software. This should be accompanied by proper training on its use and how to keep them properly updated.
Perform Regular Software and Security Updates
It is necessary to run regular updates and install patches for software. Turning on automatic software updates for operating systems and applications will ensure optimum and timely security performance on all devices. These updates often introduced new features and added security while removing obsolete ones.
Enable Full Disk Encryption
Full disk encryption is a security measure that encrypts data stored on a hard drive by converting it to an unreadable form — ciphertext. Only authorized persons will be able to gain access to the data with the help of a recovery key, which decrypts the data into readable form. In the event that your device is lost or stolen, third parties are unable to access your data.
Have Separate Work Devices
An employee should only use a company laptop for work-related purposes. It is crucial to establish a separation between work operations and personal activities which can easily be carried out on mobile devices such as phones. This is to avoid distributing sensitive information through personal channels.
Employ Managed Cybersecurity Services
For remote workers, maintaining cybersecurity demands round-the-clock monitoring. Many businesses are already saddled with their routine business operations. Therefore, concerning themselves with the intricacies of network security may be too much to handle. Also, it is expensive to employ in-house IT teams to manage security. Hire a managed cybersecurity service provider to meet your security needs can solve this issue. Managed cybersecurity service providers are outsourced IT services providers that help to protect businesses from security threats. These companies parade IT professionals who will handle all aspects of securing your data and network while you focus on your business.
ne Digital is Ready to Meet All Your Cyber Security Needs
ne Digital’s managed cybersecurity services give businesses the affordable, cutting-edge tools, technology and expertise they need to arrest network and data breaches. Our managed cybersecurity services are flexible and advanced enough to provide 24/7 monitoring — no matter how challenging.
Our Service Pillars
Our end-to-end strategy for improving cybersecurity is composed of three service pillars. They include:
This involves taking practical steps to comprehend your current cybersecurity infrastructure, highlight cybersecurity threats and pinpoint areas for improvement.
Cybersecurity Roadmap and Strategy
Establishing a long-term cybersecurity strategy that outlines internal business processes and systems as well as the whole end-to-end cybersecurity approach.
Cybersecurity Remediation and Managed Cybersecurity
Assuming control of your day-to-day data protection and remote working operations and management requirements before they develop into real problems that obstruct your company’s operations and growth.
Choose ne Digital as Your Managed Cybersecurity Service Provider Today
You deserve the confidence of knowing that your company’s digital assets are fully protected, regardless of their physical location. At ne Digital, we take pride in offering IT security assessments that are fully compliant with NIST Cybersecurity Framework and other key standards. Some of the end-to-end cybersecurity services rendered include security application control, work from home security best practices, vulnerability scans, database security control, hybrid cloud environment integration, system configuration management and security protocol compliance. Schedule an appointment online anytime or contact your local ne Digital office to get started.