How to keep your business secure

How to keep your business secure

It doesn’t matter if you’re a young, forward-thinking innovator, a venerable leader with decades of proven track record, or anything in between. If you run a business, you need to think about how remote work will affect it.

One of the key elements of the remote work movement is keeping everything safe and secure, a difficult task in a decentralized workspace. Here are some things to consider to keep your business safe as the transition to remote working accelerates.

The State of Online Security in the Age of Remote Work

The pandemic has resulted in a rapid shift to a remote setting for many businesses. However, since then it has become clear that most employees do not see the world returning to pre-pandemic habits.

Nearly three in four professionals see remote working as the norm of the future. Additionally, 61% prefer to work entirely remotely and 97% do not want to return to full-time office operations.

That said, this new emphasis on a distributed work environment opens the doors to an already old enemy: cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity risks have been around for years. However, the new focus on remote work environments has dramatically increased the threat as employees log on from an endless variety of devices and networks located around the world.

How to secure your remotely accessible business

Remote work is here to stay. This means that business owners and managers need to figure out how to keep their virtual work environments secure in the future.

There are many specific ways to do this, and each situation warrants its own tailored solution. However, several principles of the remote work cybersecurity mantra can be applied everywhere. Here are three critical security areas that businesses need to address as they navigate a 21st century remote-enabled world.

1. Configure the right tools and processes

It’s hard to maintain security if you don’t have the tools to do so. With that in mind, start the process by identifying the best tools and business processes needed to keep your remote team safe. This process will vary depending on the remote infrastructure you have in place, but there are a few common factors.

For example, choose proven remote work tools like Zoom, Slack, and Box. Well-established third-party SaaS tools have a built-in responsibility to stay current and functional – and safely. Also, be sure to use strong security measures when setting up accounts and passwords. IdP software solutions are constantly creating innovative security solutions, like those from Okta single sign-on solution (SSO)that allow employees to quickly and securely access areas of your remote network to which they have access.

2. Keep hardware safe and up-to-date

Along with having secure tools and procedures in place, it’s important to maintain and update your team’s materials. Alan Paller, research director at the SANS institute focused on cybersecurity, suggests two ways to do this.

First, make sure your employees have security software installed on all of their remote devices. There are many reputable third-party providers like Norton and McAfee that make this possible. Second, encourage them — through training, reminders, etc. — maintain good computer hygiene. These are basic but essential activities, such as installing security patches as soon as they arrive and using the latest versions of your software tools.

3. Train your staff

Forbes previously asked several of its board members how to maintain security in a remote work environment. The first response on the list came from Josh Eaton, CEO of Reaktiv, who chose to focus on two critical areas.

First, Eaton suggested having a clear security policy in place to guide your business. There is a lot of models available that can help streamline this process.

Although a good first step, the CEO recommended following up with training. Again, this doesn’t have to be a complex or expensive undertaking. It’s just about taking the time to educate your staff about security issues and training them in things like using good IT hygiene. This ensures that your employees are aware of the threats they face and are able to take action to prevent them.

The distant world is a blessing in many ways. However, as with all business-related activities, there is always a “double-edged sword” to consider. In the case of remote work, one of the biggest concerns is securing a business. Make sure your business considers the cybersecurity fundamentals listed above as you lead your business in the brave new world ahead.