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Remote Work Security: Best Practices for End Users Working from Home or Other Remote Locations

Remote work saw an unprecedented surge during the COVID-19 pandemic as companies adapted to the new circumstances. Collaboration at home became more accessible, with tech businesses leveraging the moment to advance telecommuting solutions significantly. Since then, remote and hybrid work has become commonplace – although challenging.

Many businesses, from Amazon and Zoom to Meta and Tesla, are now persuading employees to return to in-person work, citing productivity as a concern. And that worry isn’t unfounded. 

A recent survey showed that thanks to time spent troubleshooting technology issues while working at home, 83% of hybrid workers say they’ve lost valuable work time, approximately three hours per week on average. 

Even during the earlier stages of the pandemic, businesses were also seeing an increased risk of cybersecurity threats, with some research showing that global cyberattack volumes had increased by 238%.

Yet there’s a mismatch – many employees want to work at home. Or at least have the flexibility to work remotely sometimes. 

Can everyone be happy and create a thriving remote work office that empowers productivity? Can businesses keep their critical data secure when employees work outside a traditional office?

Yes! This article explores the best technology practices businesses can adopt to ensure their teams can do their jobs sufficiently from anywhere.


The Unique Security Challenges of Remote Work

Compared to your secured office network, your business can face more vulnerabilities when employees complete their job duties on their home networks. In addition, using their devices for work-related tasks can heighten their risk of exposing their proprietary resources to risk.

Their network likely lacks the same security measures as your office, like a VPN or firewalls. Meanwhile, their laptops, tablets, and phones will unlikely have advanced protection software such as encryption.

As a result, your employees’ digital assets are likelier to serve as an entry point for criminals to gain unauthorized access and breach your data.


Setting Up a Secure Home Office

Your business can mitigate these risks while allowing your employees to work from home safely. How? By giving them the tools to set up a secure home office that protects your digital assets and information – while also helping them thrive!

First off, a secure workspace means a dedicated workspace. When an employee assigns a specific place in their home for working, they can:

  • Better control who can access their equipment and your data.
  • Minimize any distractions that might weaken their vigilance around maintaining secure online behaviours.
  • Keep their business activities more private and confidential.
  • Make it easier to stay organized and keep track of all work materials. 

It’s also much more manageable to secure one at-home network – rather than coping with the consequences of your employees exposing your data to networks at coffee shops, libraries, and other public spots.

Businesses must provide their at-home employees with the resources to secure their Wi-Fi network. These resources can include:

  • Mandating strong usernames and passwords.
  • Using a VPN.
  • Deploying wireless network encryption such as WPA3 encryption.
  • Regularly updating the firmware of an employee’s at-home router.

Another option could be using a wired connection, such as an ethernet cable, rather than relying on Wi-Fi alone. Not only do wired connections increase speed and reduce latency, they also improve security. Since your data is only accessible via a physical cable, malicious hackers won’t be able to leverage unsecured airwaves to breach your systems.


Device Security for Remote Workers

Your potential cybersecurity risk increases when remote employees use their personal devices to accomplish work tasks. So, device security is critical for empowering secure at-home work!

Primarily, issuing your employees company-owned devices will be the most crucial step. This tactic lets you configure these assets to meet your organization-wide security standards and helps your employees automatically follow your protocols.

Company-issued equipment will also help you manage all employee devices from a central location. From a single place, you can regularly update software and operating systems, install and update antivirus and antimalware software, activate and configure firewalls, and monitor your entire network for problem areas and potential threats.

You’ll also be able to troubleshoot problems more easily while taking a more coordinated approach to your tech use. Ultimately, your business will boost productivity on top of your security since your remote employees will share a consistent user experience with minimal compatibility issues.

Want to dive deeper into this topic? Get more tips on securing your devices and protecting your data with these device-centered Zero Trust security measures.


Application Security For Remote Communication

Organizations that operate remotely using free or non-business standard communication platforms can pose significant risks to their data and business continuity.

Typically, these tools lack robust security features, making your data and operations more vulnerable to unauthorized access, phishing, and malware attacks. Data leakage is also more likely since these applications don’t always enable secure file sharing. At the same time, their privacy policies may not protect your data from being used for marketing or advertising purposes. 

Likewise, businesses may experience frequent communication disruptions when using less reliable software. They also may be unable to control or customize the environment to suit their needs.

Instead, businesses should prioritize using encrypted messaging and video conferencing tools. For example, companies can look for platforms with solid encryption to ensure privacy during virtual meetings. They should also find a tool that lets them control the virtual meeting space by limiting specific actions like screen sharing or providing strong passwords and meeting ID requirements.

Of course, if you want to thoroughly guide this process successfully, your organization must establish clear policies for how employees use these communication tools while working remotely.


Educating and Training for Remote Work Security

Maintaining a secure workplace is more than just providing the right tools to your employees. It’s also about educating your remote workers so that they understand how they can contribute to keeping your data safe.

Businesses should provide all employees with ongoing security training. The cybersecurity landscape changes constantly, so it’s critical to do this regularly to remain updated on the latest threats and security best practices.

As part of that education, employees must learn about safe online behaviours. For example, they should know how to recognize and avoid phishing emails and scams and how to browse the internet safely at baseline. 

Your training should also teach employees how to maintain the physical security of their devices and company assets. Everyone at your business needs to understand how important it is to lock devices when they aren’t using them and how to store and discard sensitive documents properly.


Elevate Your Remote Work Security with PC Corp

Remote work can expose organizations to various cybersecurity threats – from data breaches and phishing attacks to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and malware. Businesses that want to reap the benefits of operating digitally in remote work settings must implement strategies to ensure their data remains available, intact, and confidential.

A proactive approach to security will go a long way in keeping your business productive and safe. Your end users should be vital in safeguarding your mission-critical assets while working from home.

When you work with PC Corp to address your IT needs, we can provide the right solutions to create a secure remote work environment. Our Managed IT services experts will deploy industry-trusted strategies to secure your systems. Furthermore, our IT Procurement specialists will help you define the hardware technology and software applications to empower your team to do their best work from wherever.

Connect with us today to see how our experts can help you make the most of a work-from-home experience.

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