As businesses offer more autonomy and flexible conditions to employees, in the past five years remote working has also grown in popularity.
Whether this is from home or the local coffee shop, the freedom afforded by cloud storage and improved online communications means that an individual can transform any space with a desk and a WiFi connection into their office.
This flexible approach is being praised for being a more modern and collaborative way of working, which not only boosts productivity levels, but morale too. However, it also poses an array of security risks that are easy to overlook when working outside of the office. So, how can you ensure the cyber-security of your SME isn’t sacrificed?
If your business is embracing remote working options, make sure you follow these top tips to boost efficiency and stay protected:
- Switch to cloud accessCloud access makes retrieving files at home infinitely easier and quicker, and prevents various duplicates being created across the network. This storage option is also by far the most favourable for collaborative working, as documents can be accessed and edited by multiple contributors at the same time, depending on the level of permission granted. The cloud is also a great option for back-ups, preventing vital work from being lost if an unreliable Internet connection cuts out.
- Step up your securityEmployees should treat working outside of the office as seriously as if they were sat at their desk, so your approach to security should be no less rigorous for remote working arrangements. Make sure sensitive data is encrypted, strong passwords are in place, and that your employees know how to set up Virtual Private Networks if they are going to be accessing public WiFi.
- Improve employee awareness of cyber-security threats
Awareness and proactivity are one of the most effective forms of defence when it comes to cyber-security. So, ensuring that your employees know how to spot phishing scams and to avoid downloading files from unknown senders or suspicious websites is essential. Likewise, if a breach does happen, it’s crucial that they know the warning signs, and report the attack immediately to limit the damage and prevent the infection from spreading further.
- Invest in effective malware protection
Keeping the systems inside your office free from viruses and other forms of malware is taxing enough, but safeguarding remote machines is even more tricky. It’s crucial to ensure that effective anti-malware software is installed and up to date on all devices that your employees use, both in and out of the office. And, importantly, encourage workers to keep on top of updates!
- Have alternative methods of contact in placeSometimes there are discussions and issues that can’t be sorted over email, so it’s helpful if employees are also accessible by phone, or via video calling platforms such as Skype or FaceTime. Phone and tablet security must therefore be considered when it comes to remote working. Encourage your employees to have passcodes and preventative measures in place to protect against data theft if their device is lost or stolen.
For further advice on remote working, and spotting the vulnerabilities in your SME’s cyber defences, contact us for a FREE IT assessment!