Remote work is becoming a lot more normal, and it isn’t just because so many people are worried about Covid-19. Remote work was a little bit impractical in the past, but it has now become a better option for many companies. It has been shown that working from home does tend to make people more productive, and so we can assume that its expansion will continue. After all, good ideas that bring good results are always going to be continued. Of course, there is still one problem here: The security risks that come with all this remote communication. Let’s talk about some of the key ways in which you can mitigate those risks.
The VPN Is Your Best Friend
When it comes to securing your network, a reliable VPN is probably the best tool at your disposal. It creates a private tunnel between you and the internet. Of course, it’s not a literal tunnel, but it acts like one. The walls of this “tunnel” are composed of strong encryptions, some of which would take years or even decades to crack through traditional brute-force methods.
For your remote workers, you will need to make sure that you have a sufficient number of VPN licenses. VPN providers vary a lot in terms of quality and reliability, so make sure you choose carefully and do your homework. For instance, NordVPN was admittedly hacked last year, so you might want to avoid that one for a while.
You should also limit your employees’ access to the VPN network. Otherwise, they will tend to use it all the time, and that will probably increase your expenses. Most services will allow you to limit the number of hours per day that the service can be used, so you should probably do that.
Update Your Policies And Make Employees Aware Of Them
Although VPN networks provide great protection, they are not completely impregnable. It is very difficult (some would say impossible) for attackers to crack the encryption, but they can try to trick you into revealing the password. This is just one example of how the human element can be used as a “workaround.”
The best way to deal with this is through diligent employee training and a set of well-made rules. Although these rules will vary by company, you will definitely need to cover the following areas:
- Approved and non-approved devices
- How to spot phishing emails
- How to respond in the event of a data breach
- Use of secure passwords (long, complex, and random)
- How to verify the identity of a fellow employee
- Use of remote desktops
- When and how to safely access the company network
It should be noted here that you do not want your remote workers to use public wi-fi networks. These things are never really going to be secure, and people have developed all sorts of ways to hack into them. To be honest, a public wi-fi network isn’t really intended for high security, and that’s why you need to make sure that your company network is never connected to one.
The problem is that you cannot always police your employees on this matter. Some will undoubtedly forget and log onto a non-secure network from time to time. To keep this from happening, you should employ some kind of network monitoring software. As the old saying goes, “trust but verify.” By monitoring all incoming and outgoing connections, you can ensure that non-secure networks are never allowed to access your company servers.
Try To Restrict Personal Devices
If your company can afford to do so, it is best to issue a company-approved laptop to all of your remote workers. By doing this, you ensure that they are accessing your network through a secure endpoint. You can have your IT people check the laptops thoroughly before they are issued to ensure that they are as ironclad as possible.
If it is not possible to issue company devices, the rules for cybersecurity become a lot more complicated, and a lot of people will have trouble complying with them. There are pros and cons to this approach, but we are going for maximum security here, so the choice is obvious.
Always Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Every time a remote worker logs into your company network, they should be required to confirm their identity. Of course, hackers have all kinds of ways in which they can impersonate someone else, but it’s not so easy to fake multiple aspects of another person’s identity.
CAPTCHAs are very helpful, but they are only effective against automated attacks such as a botnet raid). However, they are able to prevent about 99% of automated attacks (according to Microsoft). A phone code verification is a little better, and email verification is also a plus. It might cause your remote workers a little bit of irritation, but it’s worth that in the long run.
The answer to the question posed in the title is an easy one. Yes, it is certainly possible to get some extra security for your remote workers, and it isn’t even that hard to do so. It might take a little time, trouble, and expense, but you will end up with a lot more surety and peace of mind. More importantly, you will be less likely to suffer an embarrassing and expensive data breach. At PCH Technologies, we can offer a lot more situation-specific ways in which to make your business network more secure. If you want to know more, you can call us at (856) 754-7500.