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Best Practices to Secure Your Remote Workforce

Cyber criminal activity is up nearly 500% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At a time of heightened fear surrounding the virus, your employees’ email and social media accounts are flooded with news reports, comments, videos, and links about the virus. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are exploiting fears to phish your users, hack their systems, or deliver malware.

 
 

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Learning from COVID-19: Security and Business Continuity

GBS and WatchGuard are here to ensure your organization has complete Business Continuity with comprehensive, layered network security to ensure your organization is properly managing the IT landscape while many employees work remotely.

8 Security Best Practices for a Remote Workforce

1. INVENTORY AND ASSESS YOUR COMPANY’S REMOTE WORK CAPABILITIES

While 92% of businesses offer remote work, the opportunity has not been afforded to all employees equally. For many companies, this shift to remote working happened almost overnight, leaving little time for adequate planning. Now is the time to audit and assess the new network access your company needs and consider the security implications. GBS Cybersecurity experts will assess your organization’s security risk posed by employees working remotely. We will develop a plan and quickly deploy the technologies that will keep your network and users secure.

2. SET AND COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS FOR REMOTE WORK

As many of your employees are likely working from home for the first time, now is a great time to reach out to your team to outline your company’s work-from-home policy to set expectations for employees working remotely. Some 24% of businesses haven’t updated their work-from-home policy in over a year, so use this as an opportunity to do so. A simple email, or conference call with your team, can go a long way.

3. FOSTER A CULTURE OF CYBERSECURITY

Most business leaders understand that the culture of a workplace is an important part of what drives its success or failure. They must also come to understand that the same dynamics exist in cybersecurity. As your employees are under threat from targeted attacks, in some instances impersonating members of your team, corporate culture often ends up being the difference between intercepting the attack or infecting your entire network.

Hackers use techniques to manipulate and influence your users into taking the action they want, using authority and urgency as a weapon. As a leader, you should encourage open channels of communication, so when an employee, even at the lowest levels of the organization, sees something they believe is a threat they feel empowered that their concern will be taken seriously.

4. IMPLEMENT MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

As companies grapple with having the predominance of their workforce working remotely, securing access to internal tools presents a major challenge. At the same time, hackers are increasingly targeting credentials, placing your users’ account information directly in their crosshairs. For this reason, GBS will deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) to all of your users, so they are fully authenticated every time they connect to your network.

5. EXTEND VPN ACCESS TO PRIORITY USERS

Secure connectivity to corporate headquarters and critical applications is essential if your employees are going to maintain productivity as they work remotely. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) add a layer of security to private and public networks, allowing individuals and organizations to send and receive data safely over the Internet.

6. KEEP USERS SAFE FROM RISKY CLICKS WITH DNS FILTERING

Keeping users safe as they navigate the Internet is more difficult when they are connecting from outside of your network. With employees stuck at home, chances are good that company laptops will be used for a hefty amount of personal web surfing and email checking. Cloud-based DNS filtering makes it possible to block connections and limit access to the risky areas of the Internet. Clicks on malicious links or attempts to connect to domains related to phishing and malware can be prevented, without having to use a VPN.

7. KEEP ENDPOINTS FREE OF MALWARE

Malware and ransomware threats have only accelerated as a result of coronavirus. And the risk of infection has never been higher, as users may no longer benefit from the protection of a firewall when working from home. While endpoint antivirus solutions will catch many of the threats, they are powerless against evasive, zero day malware that we see all too often. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions can not only detect these advanced threats, they can kill the threat and return the infected device to good order, 100% remotely.

8. RETAIN CONTROL OF Wi-Fi

Working from home can introduce security concerns related to Wi-Fi as well. For remote workers located in dense housing areas such as apartments or condos, every Wi-Fi device including doorbells, gaming consoles, and IoT devices can be a way in for malicious neighbors looking to eavesdrop. Nefarious neighbors could exploit the fact that their building is full of folks working from home, with Wi-Fi making up nearly 50% of all IP traffic.

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