Protecting Remote Employees From a Data Breach

On January 20th, 2020, by

With the rise of the internet, a lot of business is conducted online. These days, more and more employers are offering work-from-home options and working remotely has increasingly become the new norm.

A 2018 international workplace study surveyed more than 18,000 business professionals across 96 countries and found that 70 percent of employees are working at least one day a week outside of the office.

Having the option to work from home (or anywhere else in the world) not only provides flexibility, but it decreases missed work opportunities due to poor weather conditions or illness. 

While there are many benefits to working remotely, there are also increased chances of a data breach occurring. To prevent this, it’s important to be aware of how to protect yourself or your employees when working remotely.

 

Implement a Cybersecurity Policy

If your company offers the ability to work from home, or if you are considering it, make sure that you establish a cybersecurity policy. Employees need to understand that protecting company data is extremely important. 

Whether your business is big or small, a data breach can happen to anyone. As a matter of fact, small businesses are frequently targeted for data breaches. Often, small businesses believe that they won’t be targeted and that cybercriminals go after big businesses. According to a 2018 study, however, 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses. 

The first step in creating a cybersecurity policy is to make sure each employee understands that data security is a priority. Some employees may be unaware of the importance of protecting their data or may assume that if they aren’t working with customer data, they don’t need to worry. Having a policy document to clearly outline all security measures employees must follow will ensure that employees will be on the same page. 

 

Limit Access

When everyone works in the same building, it’s a lot easier to be aware of who is coming and going and who has access to important files. When an employee works remotely, that could mean working at home, at a coffee shop or in an airport (if they travel for business). You never know who might glance over at their screen or try to gain access to their devices. 

What if your employee had access to confidential information and then their device was stolen?  Limiting access to documents and programs that are only relevant to the execution of their duties will help mitigate the risk. 

 

Password Protection

 Always make sure devices are protected with strong, unguessable passwords and are never left unattended. A lot of people use the same passwords across various accounts, but that puts you at risk if someone hacks into your account.

Employees should be advised to avoid opening any suspicious links or emails, otherwise known as phishing scams. Phishers commonly target employees by sending pop-ups and links. When the person clicks on the link, the device becomes accessible to the wrong person. Remaining vigilant and wary of emails with links and attachments you don’t recognize is essential for good online safety. 

 

Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is extremely convenient, especially if you’re limited by data usage. One of the benefits of working remotely is that you have the ability to decide where you want to work: be it a coffee shop, a restaurant or a library. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that anyone is able to access it. The risk with that is that you may connect to public Wi-Fi, which is provided by an unknown server, so your data security is not guaranteed. Anyone is able to access public Wi-Fi, which means that hackers can, too.

Employees shouldn’t use public Wi-Fi to send confidential information unless it’s an emergency. 

 

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication confirms a user’s identity by requiring a username and password and either requiring a pin number that was sent to the user’s phone or answering an additional question.

Two-factor authentication provides an additional level of security to give employers of remote workers peace of mind.

 

Encourage Staff to Bring Confidential Documents to the Office

While you may not be able to control where your employees work, you can encourage staff to bring in confidential documents to the office. 

Here at SafeShred, we offer a variety of document shredding services to fit your needs. From drop-off shredding services to off-site shredding services, we will ensure that your documents are destroyed securely and within compliance.

If you’re interested in learning more about our shredding services, contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-987-4733. 

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