If you work in the information technology (IT) industry, there has probably come a time when you’ve had to explain to someone that the internet is not 100% safe. While they probably didn’t want to believe it at the time, what used to be seen as alarmist warnings are now becoming an undeniable reality, with cyberattacks happening on an almost daily basis.
While this is something of an inevitability (no system is ever 100% secure), there are some steps worth taking to make sure your corporate networks are as protected as possible against these threats.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can ensure the systems and data on your network remain safe from advanced persistent threats, malware infections, ransomware attacks, and similar issues, especially if you have a hybrid workforce.
Keep New Cybersecurity Policies In Place
Define your new cybersecurity measures and make sure all staff members at your organization, including those working from home, are security aware and follow best practices. All company data have to be protected, regardless of where your employees are accessing them from.
Ensure only those who need access to your corporate network have it and those without credentials cannot connect to it. This would help prevent malicious users from gaining unauthorized access to information they shouldn’t be able to see.
There are lots of tools available that offer deep insights into the security posture of your network, some capable of performing actionable analytics to help identify security gaps. These can be used to help you understand where the weaknesses could be in your network and how best to protect them. If an in-house team isn’t enough to design these security systems, it might be a good idea to hire a specialized service.
Have A Separate Network For Remote Workers
There should be a separate network to be accessed by employees working remotely. You can create a new virtual private network (VPN), through which remote workers can access corporate information without any threat of data theft being committed by any unauthorized third party.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication can help prevent unauthorized access to your corporate network. Using this method of authentication means users, including remote workers, would need more than just their username and password to gain access. For example, a code will be sent to an employee’s mobile phone via SMS or generated by an authenticator app, making it much harder for potential attackers to obtain any desired information.
Secure All Company Devices
If workers need to bring with them company devices to be used remotely for work, make sure they’re updated on your network security system. Always have them checked by your IT team to ensure they contain all the latest patches and are working smoothly.
When replacing old devices, make sure anything that leaves staff members’ hands—such as laptops or smartphones—is securely erased before being disposed of by a managed IT services provider. This is especially important if those devices have been used to connect to any work servers as even devices that are fully patched can be exploited if they have an unpatched browser or other software installed on them.
Ensure All Devices And Data Are Encrypted
If your employees would be using sensitive information stored on portable devices (such as laptops or USB memory sticks), those devices must be encrypted. This would ensure even if they’re physically removed or stolen, they won’t be readable without the decryption key.
If your business works with particularly sensitive data or processes them for clients you or your employees deal with directly, you must encrypt not just the data but also all the connections used to transmit them. This means even if someone were to gain access to the data in transit, they wouldn’t be able to read or use them.
Closely Monitor All Access To Critical Systems
By allowing only staff, including those at home, to connect devices when they’re necessary and ensuring these controlled connections are logged centrally, you can help protect against anyone gaining unauthorized access to sensitive information through remote logins.
This is possible by limiting access to certain IP addresses, ensuring each connection has passed two-factor authentication, configuring strong passwords on any devices allowed on your network, and performing other similar measures.
Get Workers Involved In Awareness Training
By ensuring all staff members, including those working remotely, are aware of any potential security threats—including social engineering attacks, where attackers can get people to give up their login information willingly—you can help prevent these threats from being successful.
This may be done by performing regular security awareness training exercises. This can include simulated social engineering attempts or ensuring staff members know what to do if they suspect someone is trying to trick them into handing over sensitive information.
Especially employees who are working from home, who don’t have access to IT support in case any technical issues arise, they should be trained in online security practices. They should know how to protect themselves or the data they’re handling while working at home. Training them to learn how to minimize any threats and constantly providing them updates would guarantee not only their security but also the protection of company data.
Organizations that have embraced new technologies and approaches have proved to be far better equipped against cyber threats. By following the advice included in this article, you’d be able to support your hybrid workforce while also protecting your business’s IT infrastructure.