Managing A Remote Team To Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies have adopted the work-from-home option for their employees. But this flexibility also comes at a cost. 

One of the disadvantages of adopting the work from home model is this: there is an increased chance of cyber attacks. In fact, a recent study revealed that cyber attacks shot up by 500% per month in 2020.

According to Kaspersky, RDP attacks from hackers rose from 969 million in 2019 to 3.3 billion in 2020. And that’s likely because many employees currently work remotely using largely unsecured devices. Unfortunately, employees who are used to working from secure company devices usually aren’t aware that cyber attacks are a serious problem. So organizational leaders need to take steps to ensure that their employees are safe from cyber threats.

But how can employees and company’s information be protected from cyber attacks? You may be wondering how can an organization manage a remote team while prioritizing cybersecurity. Listed and enumerated below are a few tips to keep in mind for a maximally efficient and safe remote team

Tips for Protecting Your Remote Teams from Cyber Attacks

1. Acquire remote working tools for employees:   Remote work statistics suggest that by 2025, the remote work model will compete with the traditional office setting, and that remote working tools will be indispensable in the workplace. Maintaining a productive and safe remote development team starts with equipping them with the right tools. And depending on the specific job responsibilities of your remote team, the required tools may vary widely. In general, your remote team should have access to tools that streamline communication and collaboration. It is also standard practice to invest in tools that boost employee productivity, eliminate time wasting tasks, promote cybersecurity and streamline file access and storage.

Antiviruses, firewalls and email blockers are excellent software tools every remote team must have. But you can acquire more security tools as the need arises. Communication tools are particularly important because not only will they ensure a smooth day-to-day operation, but they will also make reporting quick and easy in case of cyber attacks.

2. Train Remote Workers On Cyber Security:  As far as cyber-attacks are concerned, your employees are the weakest link in your business. Most people lack the necessary information needed to protect themselves from cyber criminals. So, you should make it a point of duty to invest in adequate cybersecurity training for your remote workers. Among other things, your remote team should be trained to spot phishing emails and protect company files, flash drives, gadgets, et cetera.

They should also know how to stay safe when using a home or public internet connection. And if possible, it may also be a good idea to provide secure company laptops and flash drives to employees to ensure a higher level of security when they’re working. Equipping your employees this way will not only ensure their personal safety online but will also prevent critical business information from getting leaked.

3. Install Antivirus, Firewall, And Antimalware Tools On Work Gadgets:  When people work from home, the IT team has very little control over what they do or where they visit online. So, you need to ensure that your remote workers have excellent
protection against viruses and malware. And a good firewall is a great place to start. A computer’s firewall regulates the traffic going in and out of the device. And when the system spots something dangerous like a program trying to access, rewrite, or create new files, perform network connections or execute external commands, computer, it prompts the user and blocks the process.

An updated antivirus or anti-malware software is also critically important. Its job is to detect, stop and remove viruses and malware trying to steal information or damage your computer. It is usually a good practice to purchase an enterprise antivirus package and have your IT team install it on whatever machine your remote workers will be using. This will enhance their safety.

4. Isolate Corporate Files From Personal Data:  When people use the same computer for personal and official business, things can get mixed up pretty quickly. So, as stated earlier, it might be a good idea to provide employees with efficient company-issued computers and other gadgets required for their work. And you should discourage them from using these corporate devices for personal work and vice versa. 

Among other things, this makes it very easy to separate their personal files from those of the company. And not only will this protect your company’s data, it will also prevent the time wasting activity of searching for files and documents. This strategy will also safeguard the personal information of your employees. And if the company opts for instant messaging services, go for those that have end-to-end encryption such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

5.  Establish A Data Protection Policy While Working Remotely:  Your company’s data is one of your greatest assets… if not the greatest. So, there’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to protecting your company’s data. Now, this may sound like a no-brainer, but the first step to take in ensuring data safety is by establishing backups… either on external hard drives or on the cloud. And this backup should be updated at least daily.

It’s also a good practice to utilize full-disk encryption to securely lock your hard drive with a password. And without this password, even if the laptop is stolen, you can be confident that your data will remain inaccessible. It is also a good practice to encrypt your backups… you know, just to be safe.

6. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) across the organization:  As good as passwords are, sometimes they’re still not good enough to keep hackers out. So, you might want to consider 2-factor authentication (2FA). Here’s how that works – when someone tries to sign in using a password, 2FA requests an extra authentication step such as a text containing a one-time password, a token, fingerprint etc. So, even if the password has been compromised, hackers still won’t be able to get into your system.

7. Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN):  When it comes to cybersecurity, VPNs are invaluable. Here’s what a VPN does: it routes a person’s internet traffic via a server in another country. It also encrypts the user’s connection, which ensures that browsing data is hidden from prying eyes. This helps to maintain the privacy of the user whenever they’re on the internet and that is particularly important for people who use shared internet connections.

About The Author: Chioma Iwunze is a Marketing Analyst for Time Doctor

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