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Effective Work-From-Home IT Policies: Security Measures Your Business Should Implement

If your company recently adopted a work-from-home model, you’re not alone. Over the past few years, remote work has become an increasingly popular trend.

As organizations across the country embrace this, many businesses are coming to the same realization: Remote workers are often unaware of security risks and haven’t been given clear guidance on how to stay safe. Continue reading to discover:

  • The importance of work-from-home IT policies
  • Common security threats for remote workers
  • What to include in your work-from-home IT policy

Why Are Remote Work Security Policies Important?

When employees are in the office, they work directly on your network. Most reputable companies have their own collection of antivirus software, firewalls, and backup capabilities, which makes it hard for malware to access devices within your office walls.

However, the same can’t be said for your remote staff. If your company recently implemented a work-from-home or hybrid model, your virtual team uses their personal internet to connect to your company network.

To put it lightly, the average home’s network protection is substandard compared to your office’s cybersecurity. This separation between employees, devices, and networks leaves your remote team susceptible to several different security threats.

Common Cybersecurity Threats for Remote Workers

Here are the top cybersecurity threats your remote employees need to be cautious of:

Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that causes damage by encrypting your company’s files or operating systems. Once it gains access to your system, it effectively blocks you from accessing your documents. It most commonly targets financial institutions, investment firms, and other businesses sitting on a significant amount of capital.

Phishing

Phishing scams are arguably the most common type of cyberattack. They are a form of social engineering designed to manipulate individuals through fraudulent messages masquerading as authentic-looking emails.

Phishing scams use internal links within the message to trick you into downloading corrupted files or entering your company credentials. Their aim is to gather sensitive data, such as your company’s access credentials or passwords.

Password Attacks

In a remote setting, the easiest way to steal your company’s information is by obtaining login information. Password attacks most often occur on unsecured WI-Fi networks, where hackers will:

  • Search for a security gap
  • Gain access to your network
  • Eavesdrop on and monitor your employee’s activity

Hackers can also perpetuate password attacks through:

  • Social engineering and phishing links
  • Accessing your password database
  • Simple guesswork

Let’s face it; your remote employees don’t have the same level of cybersecurity at home as they do in your office. However, by creating a remote access policy, your IT team can implement security measures to keep them protected—here’s what to include:

Work From Home Security Guidelines: Four Ways Your IT Team Can Protect Your Business & Clients

The following tools are extremely effective in combating security vulnerabilities associated with remote work:

1. Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) connects employees to a corporate network and applies the same security requirements as if employees are sitting within the walls of your company.
If employees are still connecting to servers within the company network, requiring computers connect to VPN before log in makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. VPNs protect your team when using remote communication tools, such as:

  • Email and Zoom calls
  • Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • Cloud applications like Salesforce, Oracle, or other CRM softwares

2. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Solutions

EDR software is an endpoint security solution that continuously monitors end-user devices to detect and respond to cyber threats.

Essentially, EDR security solutions record the activities and events taking place on endpoints and workloads, providing your security team with the visibility they need to uncover incidents that otherwise appear invisible.

Having complete oversight of security-related endpoint activity enables your IT team to monitor bad actors on your network in real time, observing which commands they are running and what techniques they are using. This helps your IT personnel implement specific security strategies where they matter most.

3. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Strategies

As cloud technology continues to replace traditionally on-premise services like file sharing, VPN might not always be required. This means you’ve got to have additional security, like a DLP strategy in place.

Email phishing attempts are arguably the most common cyber threat for remote workers. Luckily, data loss prevention (DLP) strategies can help prevent data loss caused by email or other file sharing transmission.

Simply put, implementing DLP features within applications allows your IT team to safeguard sensitive data (i.e. financial or health information). DLP rules prevent the sending, copying and downloading of sensitive data and can notify IT and managers when this data is being accessed or shared.
These techniques are highly effective in preventing unintended sharing of sensitive data over email and filesharing applications. DLP security is focused on two main functions: advanced algorithms and machine learning software.

These functions analyze thousands of signals, helping your IT team identify risks and protect your employees from compromising phishing scams.

4. Zero Trust Architecture

Zero Trust is a security framework requiring all users, both inside and outside of your network, to be continuously authenticated for security configurations before being granted access to your applications and data.

Continuous verification means your business has no trusted zones, credentials, or devices at any time. However, for this strategy to be effective, your IT team needs to apply this framework to a broad set of assets.

Achieving the full potential of Zero Trust strategies requires your business to have several key functions in place, such as:

Risk-Based Conditional Access

Conditional access ensures your workflow is only interrupted once risk levels change. This allows your IT team to continually monitor verification without sacrificing user experience.

Dynamic Policy Model Deployment

Your workloads, data, and users are constantly moving, so your technical support team should account for risk while including compliance and IT requirements.

If, by chance, a breach does occur, quickly minimizing the damage is critical to your overall recovery efforts. Luckily, zero trust limits the access points for an attacker, giving your IT staff time to respond and mitigate the threat.

Knowing how to navigate cyberthreats goes a long way toward a successful work-from-home IT policy that protects both your employees and clients.

Keep Your Network Secure and Employees Safe with Remote Cybersecurity Services

Tired of dealing with cybersecurity issues? With TenisiTech by your side, you won’t have to. We work with you to implement solutions that protect your remote employees. Take the proper steps to safeguard your business and start a conversation with our expert team.