The year 2020 will long be remembered as the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. But for businesses and employees, it might be recalled as the start of something new and positive — the remote work or hybrid workplace. At the beginning, many companies assumed that work from home situations would decline as the crisis came under control. However, in practice, this isn’t how things actually progressed. Instead, workers embraced — and thrived — in remote work conditions and companies saw real benefits reflected in their bottom lines.
With more than two-thirds of workers wanting to continue to work remotely, businesses will have an ongoing opportunity to maximize their growth, take advantage of increased productivity, and reduce costs. However, alongside the positives of these post-COVID work trends is a serious issue that needs attention: Security.
Remote Work and Data Security — Ongoing Trends
Having a hybrid or remote workforce can help companies manage health and safety challenges, improve overall efficiency, and get control of costs. Unfortunately, it can also pose a risk when it comes to cybersecurity. Hackers are increasingly targeting remote workers and the technologies that connect them. According to security company VMWare Carbon Black, ransomware events jumped 148% in March, right after the beginning of the coronavirus crises. Even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity department commented on the increase, noting that reliance on poorly secured virtual private networks (VPNs) for connectivity and communication can promote a number of security issues. Other issues include employee reliance upon non secure Wi-Fi connections, ongoing phishing scams, and a constantly changing threat landscape. To secure your hybrid or remote workforce, consider these tools:
Employ Strong Access Controls
Compromised logins are an easy way for bad actors to gain access to IT infrastructure — and your sensitive data. To keep risks to a minimum, companies should:
- Require strong, routinely updated passwords
- Impose two-factor authentication on all accounts, wherever possible
- Remotely monitor workstations to detect suspicious activity and set up notification options
When used together, these digital tools help reduce the threat of cyberattack and minimize the impact should an attack occur.
Consider the Cloud
Cloud-based applications are an integral part of a remote work strategy, as they can enable remote employees to user personal devices for increased scalability and cost reduction. Using the cloud, staff can access all the information they need when they need it — regardless of their location. With that in mind, businesses with cloud-based networks must collaborate with providers to ensure data and application security, develop a security strategy that is targeted toward cloud users, and ensure that threat detection protocols are incorporated to address suspicious activity in the cloud.
Educate Your Remote Workforce
There are many ways cybercriminals can make inroads to your critical data. These strategies include loss or theft of devices, social engineering, phishing, mal- and ransomware, and D-Dos and botnet attacks. Some also count on ignored critical soft- and hardware updates. Since your employees may be working from home, it becomes their responsibility to ensure they are protected from these malicious actors. Education – and reminders – of these issues can help ensure that remote work employees are proactive with their security. Teaching staff how to spot malicious activities, reinforcing confidentiality rules, promoting online cybersecurity courses, and ensuring you update training on a periodic basis will help keep employees aware of — and better protected from — emerging threats.
Mac Copy Can Help Your Business Get Ready for 2021
Every business, large and small, has had to cope with the sweeping changes and challenges wrought by COVID-19. Fortunately, the smoke is clearing and businesses can more confidently plan for what lies ahead. For many, 2021 will bring a fresh, new way to approach traditional business processes. New technologies, including hardware and software, will be instrumental in keeping companies moving toward their business goals.
For organizations with remote or hybrid work staff, MacCopy is standing by to provide the products and services you need. As our idea of a normal office evolves, stay ahead of the competition — and keep your data safe and secure. Our top of the line solutions range from innovative office equipment to industry-leading software that will help your workforce stay connected, communicating, and productive — regardless of their location.
Protect and empower your remote workforce. Contact a Mac Copy representative now and discover our wide variety of tech tools designed specifically to enhance your employees’ productivity, reduce costs, and keep data protected.