Remote working has become the new normal through the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it has many clear benefits for employees and employer alike, it does open up business to cybersecurity risks. Here are some best practices to follow to ensure your remote team and your business is secure.
#1 – Recognise that Risks are a Reality
Don’t assume that cybersecurity threats don’t apply to your business because of your size or industry. In fact, according to government reports, small businesses account for 43% of businesses targeted by cyber criminals in Australia, with 78% of the 1,000 small businesses surveyed reporting cyberattacks in 2019 alone. These attacks can be crippling to a bigger organisation and can be deadly to a small one, costing a total of AU$1 billion per year. And during COVID-19, these attacks have surged even higher, with 59 806 incidents reported in the 12 months leading up to June 2020 alone.
#2 – Create Remote IT Security Policies
These policies will help guide remote employees to manage remote access threats more effectively. They should include insight on whether or not personal devices are allowed (and security processes around personal devices), what data should be remotely accessible and what should not, software solutions that remote employees can use, password protocols and how to recognise and report suspicious activity.
#3 – Invest in Encryption
Data encryption is essential whether you have remote employees or not, but is even more important when employees are working from home. Devices can be stolen or lost while out of the workplace, and data can be intercepted from unsecure networks. Encryption ensures that should this happen; your business data will not be accessible by unauthorised parties. VPNs and other remote access tools recommended by you managed IT services provider will have built-in, up-to-date encryption to help secure your data as it travels through the internet.
#4 – Make Multifactor Authentication (MFA) Compulsory
MFA provides a powerful level of access control to help ensure that only authorised individuals are able to access devices, networks and data – regardless of whether they are at home, in a coffee shop or at the office. This means using a combination of secure passwords and biometrics, as well as using a principle of least privilege. This means that users are blocked from servers and accounts by default, and access is determined on an individual, case by case basis.
#5 – Have a Worst-Case Scenario Strategy
All businesses should have a secure remote backup and disaster recovery program in place for worst-case scenarios. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated in their attacks every day, and the risks of an attack can never be fully mitigated. In the event that something does occur, you need to be able to recover your data and restore your business as quickly as possible. That means regular backups to secure servers and a full disaster recovery solution to minimise downtime and damage to your business.
#6 – Have an IT Security Partner You Can Trust
This is the most important advice of all because the right managed IT services provider will be able to ensure that all these best practices and more are in place, that your business and data is kept as secure as possible, and that you have the best plan in place should a cyber-attack occur. IT security is a specialist space that is constantly evolving and developing new solutions to tackle the online threats that businesses face – with the right partner, your business can keep pace with these developments without expending unnecessary resources, time or expertise.
Find the Right IT Security Partner for Your Business
DWM is a data security services specialist for businesses of all sizes, in all industries across Australia. Our team can offer you a comprehensive range of expert IT security services including business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning to server and network monitoring, and network administration. In addition, all our services come with onsite and remote support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help secure your business – and future.