Working remotely, as we have seen in recent times, has become increasingly necessary to maintain a productive and profitable business. It is also an invaluable asset for any business continuity plan. If an unforeseen natural disaster or power outage takes place, organizations need to be prepared to continue operations.
A good example was in spring 2020 when the Securities and Exchange Commission became the first federal agency to encourage remote work for employees.
Although remote work is ideal for some, it can be an adjustment for others. And if you run a business or work for a businesses with sensitive data, how do you ensure your information is safe outside of the office?
Working remotely does not provide the same level of security that an office would. Furthermore, the environment in which you find yourself working might have present challenges to data security.
Here are some rules and policies we suggest when working remotely. Even when working on a cloud environment, you must practice caution and communicate regularly to maximize the remote experience.
Working remotely requires daily and frequent calls with one another. A manager especially must take actions to establish calls with remote workers. Whether they are in the form of on-on-one calls or team call, if they are collaborating on a project.
There is no such thing as over-communication
Periodically notify your superiors of any information you might consider important. If there’s a doubt about the relevance of some information, share that also. In the case of remote work, nothing is too insignificant.
Clarify to your team all expectations moving forward
Communicate priorities and establish metrics for success. Remote work is more efficient when expectations and policies are clear and understood.
It’s also important to let employees know the best way to reach you and at what time. Nothing must be left to the imagination to successfully deploy a remote operation.
If you are off to lunch, notify for how long. When you return, notify your team. It’s crucial that all employees understand what the goals and directives are to avoid repeating efforts.
Track your progress
Keep track of your progress by documenting it and sharing it with relevant personnel. A work long with specific time slots for each task is particularly helpful in this case. It could be done in an excel sheet or a notebook. The medium is less important than the method. So long as it helps keep things organized.
Stay away from public networks, encrypt your web connection, or use a personal hotpot
A public Wi-fi connection like the ones found in coffee houses and some restaurants create a risk for remote workers. In a public network, a threat actor or hacker can easily make their way into your device without a firewall in place. Moreover, anyone on a public network could easily monitor your traffic as well.
For these reasons it’s crucial that you keep your devices protected and secure.
Using a hot spot eliminates the problem of a hacker jumping on the network you’re using. Although your web traffic remains unencrypted, your data stays safe. This will count against your cell phone data but it is worth the extra costs.
Most cell phone carriers there’s a minor fee for using hot spots but the alternative could cost you much more. And with the advent of 4G and 5G networks, hot spots are just as fast as home network connections.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.
VPN’s are another solution if you find yourself working in a public network. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, enables you to create a secure connection with another network through the internet. These networks are often used to shield browsing activity from anyone snooping around on a public Wi-Fi network.
A VPN connects your device to a server that then connects it directly to the internet. But you must make sure the VPN you utilize is secure because hackers have been known to target unpatched VPN to access the user’s information. They usually do this via phishing scams that users interact with through a fake email.
This leads to the next point:
Encrypt your email and devices
If you have the proper safeguards in place, like email encryption and multifactor authentication then your data will remain secure no matter where you work from.
There are many software companies that provide encryption for email. Retruster, is one such example but there are others. This gives you added protection and peace of mind when working remotely.
Malicious actors often leverage current, events, personal information , or natural disasters to manipulate targets through phishing emails. An example of this was in spring 2020, when there were instances of hackers using the COVID-19 outbreak to send malicious emails to users.
Multi-Factor Authentication for Secure Devices
Multifactor authentication is a security system that requires multiple methods of authentication from independent credentials to verify user identity. In other words, it is a system that requires verification from a cellphone and a computer, for example, to then access data on your devices.
Having these measures in place creates a secure environment that facilitates remote work. None of these measures work in isolation. If communication is not up to par with data security or vice-versa, your operation will be compromised.
What is most important is ensuring all members of your team are meeting your requirements, communicating effectively with one another and avoiding unnecessary risks like joining insecure networks or leaving devices unattended or unencrypted.