••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Is Your Data Safe?
Remote Business Data Security
How to stay safe and secure out of the office
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The COVID-19 virus effectively changed how we all work and do business. Back in 2019, just about everyone drove to and worked out of a physical office. However, when the COVID pandemic hit our shores, many companies turned to a remote work environment in the name of social distancing and public health, and three years later, it looks like the remote arrangement is here to stay. Now, everyone from accountants to travel agents is working from home.
While remote work has plenty of advantages, it also has some challenges, and one of them is that with everyone working from home, there is less of a focus on cybersecurity than there was when we are all working at the same office with the protection of an IT team. The good news is that your remote company can avoid a data breach by implementing the right strategy. Let’s talk about using tech to your advantage to protect your business and the data of your customers.
The Importance of Cybersecurity
If you are new to remote work, then you will first need to check with local guidelines to ensure that you have the approval to work out of your home. As long as you can operate without distracting the neighbors, you should be fine. Then, you will need to set up a productive environment so you can focus on your tasks. To complete your work and communicate with the outside world, you will need some essentials, including a computer, internet connection, and a comfortable place where you can work without distraction.
While you will want a suitable setup, having your desk and computer is not enough. You also need to put proper cybersecurity protections in place and create a plan of action to prevent cybercrime from occurring in the first place. These are essential steps even if you are a new or small business because you are likely more at risk than you may realize. Hackers love to go after small businesses because they know that the owners don’t have the proper cybersecurity protections in place.
To avoid becoming a victim, you need to get a lay of the land and determine what risks may exist so you can proactively avoid them. A great way to do this is through the process of data mining, which serves many purposes, from learning how you can cater your particular product to your customer base to discovering how you can innovate within your particular field.
Data mining can also help you to learn what type of risks may exist for your business. For instance, you can look at different data sets to see how your equipment and processes may be susceptible to hacking. You can also discover anomalies that may point to a malicious third party and stop a cyberthreat before it occurs. Data mining is the tech of the future, so add it to your arsenal now and be ahead of the curve.
Security for Mobile Users
A great perk of a remote work environment is that it allows employees to work from anywhere, but that same freedom can make your company susceptible to scams and cybercrime. When your employees work in public, they must be extra cautious about securing their devices and avoiding letting them fall into the wrong hands. As a business owner, you need to enact a policy that informs your staff when they can use their devices and what type of work they are allowed to do when they are out and about.
If a device is lost, then immediate action must be taken before a hacker or criminal can gain access and steal the information from within. In addition to data theft, hackers can also use that device to send phishing emails throughout your company or access your internal network. Simply deactivating the device is not enough. Instead, you need to completely wipe it clean, so it becomes useless to the hacker. Since you will likely never see the device in person again, you can enact a remote wipe from anywhere that will delete all of the data and destroy the operating system so it cannot be rebuilt.
If one of your devices or computers becomes outdated, defective, or otherwise obsolete, it is imperative that you properly dispose of it because even if you think the machine is useless, a hacker can easily steal the data if they get their hands on it. For that reason, you cannot simply throw the computer out with the regular garbage. Instead, the safest and most responsible reaction is to have that e-waste properly recycled. This process involves having a professional company properly wipe and recycle the materials so the components can be used in future products.
Common Sense Security
While using advanced tech is a good way to secure your devices, don’t forget about the tried and true methods that have worked for years. For instance, you should ensure that all employees lock their computers and software with complicated passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. These codes should be updated quarterly. While this step is essential, even the best passwords can eventually be guessed, so you should pair them with a form of two-factor authentication, which may be a separate code that is sent to their mobile device.
When your team is working remotely, it is important to not only protect your primary network but also to ensure that your employees are doing the same with their own computers. As a business owner, provide the tech that your team needs to keep their data secure, including antivirus software. Scans should be run several times per week to spot and delete malware and viruses. Keep in mind that antivirus software needs to be updated whenever a new version becomes available to protect your devices against the latest threats.
Finally, you need to verify that all of your data is protected and hidden from prying eyes. The best overall strategy in this regard is to install a virtual private network on all employee devices. A VPN will automatically encrypt all incoming and outgoing communications so they cannot be read even if they are intercepted. This form of protection will also disguise the location of your employees, making them more difficult to target. Management should provide a training program that educates your staff on how to use the VPN and antivirus tools.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can protect your remote team and the data of your customers from cybercriminals. Enact these measures today, and you will greatly reduce the chances of a breach.
© Indiana Lee 2.21.22
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