With the ability to work from home becoming more important than ever before, many companies these days are giving their employees the opportunity to do their jobs remotely. This comes as no surprise, as remote work provides some key benefits that cannot be overlooked. 

Remote work is becoming appealing to a large portion of the workforce, who love the idea of performing their work duties from the comfort of their own homes. The opportunity also allows employees to boost their own productivity by eliminating their need to commute, as well as giving them more control over their time. In fact, a survey conducted by FlexJobs indicated that 65% of respondents believe they are more productive at home than in a traditional workplace. 

Remote work, however, does pose a few obstacles that businesses need to overcome. One of the biggest challenges relates to data security. After all, remote workers use home networks, the majority of which lack the essential security protocols that a business network requires. 

While storing your data in the cloud can certainly be safer than a physical drive, even SaaS applications you’re probably using—Office 365, Google Suite, Dropbox, and more—aren’t completely safe. In fact, 28% of MSPs reported ransomware attacks in these very applications! 

How, then, can you ensure data security for remote workers? That is an excellent question which we’ll address in this article. 

Have the correct security systems in place

Because remote work is primarily conducted over the Internet, you need to be sure that your company’s valuable data is protected from the threats that are present online. These threats are rather common, especially in the field of finance. As such, it is critical that your company has the right safeguards in place to ensure that these threats are minimized.

These safeguards can be found in the form of special software applications that are tasked with keeping your private information away from outsiders. You can divide these into several different categories: 

  1. Backup copies:

    There’s a reason that backups are so important for businesses. With online data backup solutions, you won’t have to worry nearly as much about losing all your data. Working with an MSP is especially beneficial here as they will ensure your data is safely kept in secure locations.

  2. Two-factor authentication:

    With two-factor authentication, every user has to verify logging in with a token or code on their mobile device. This makes it significantly harder for intruders to infiltrate a system because even if they get past the password, it’s very unlikely that they will have access to the same user’s phone.

  3. Access restriction:

    Access restriction means that only users who have access to the data are the ones who can view it. In the case of documents, they are the only ones who can make edits. Individual access keys to workers of different departments and positions ensure that information is granted only to those who need it.

  4. Endpoint Management:

    Proper endpoint management entails tracking user devices within a system and ensuring each one accessing company data has the proper security protections in place. This ensures that all endpoints, even ones used remotely have the same, curated patches that will keep your systems both up-to-date and optimized.

  5. Data Loss Prevention:

    Data loss prevention software is created to secure your company data. This software detects breaches or data exfiltration, ensuring users can’t leak sensitive information outside of your controlled systems.

  6. Breach protocol:

    You will also need a way to monitor your network in case a breach does take place, regardless of whether or not it was successful. This will inform you as to where the weak points in your network are, giving you the opportunity to reevaluate your security measures and remedy any problems.

  7. Disable Synchronization:

    Keep the data in the cloud and edit it right through the web.

  8. Encryption:

    Some types of software can make your data unreadable without a certain key. This is essentially what encryption does. It makes it so that your data is useless to outsiders who do not have access to your unique key. This process takes place in the background and at all times, allowing remote workers to transmit, receive, and store data without the risk of exposing it to third parties.

Train your employees properly and regularly

It is definitely not enough to simply rely on the aforementioned security measures. You will also need to train your remote workers regarding their proper use, and do so on a regular basis. This ensures that the safeguards you have put in place are actually being used and performing their functions.

There are two areas of concern when it comes to ensuring your remote workers uphold your company’s security standards:

  1. Training:

    Obviously, you are responsible for providing your remote workers with the information they need to carry out their responsibilities in a secure manner. Let them know about the inherent risks associated with working online so that they can be vigilant in protecting your business. Outline to them what protocols they must follow to ensure the security of their own workspace, and instruct them on how to use the security safeguards you have implemented.

  2. Monitoring:

    To ensure that your remote workers are carrying out their training, you have to find a way to monitor their activities while they work. This can be done with the use of certain kinds of software that tracks their data exchanges, providing you with a record you can refer to and find potential risks. Make sure you inform your employees that they are being tracked, as doing so encourages them to follow the necessary protocols.

Conclusion

To summarize, remote work is slowly becoming the norm for many businesses these days. This comes with security challenges that must be addressed, but it is entirely possible for you to do so. All it takes are the right tools, the proper training, and a fair bit of consistency on your part.

We are an IT solutions company with offices in New York and Connecticut. If you are struggling to keep your business secure when working remotely, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.