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IT Opinion Security

3 simple steps to prevent cyber security risks while remote working

With remote working being the new norm for most of us, we’re forced to question how prepared our businesses were for this shift. That’s why we want to share our 3 simple steps to prevent cyber security risks while remote working.

According to the Office for National Statistics, a shocking 70% of workers in the UK – 23.9 million people – had zero experience of working from home, before the recent Coronavirus isolation measures. Sure, a large extent of those people may work within industries like construction or hospitality, which don’t allow for such work-styles. But the disturbing emptiness of the tubes and streets in central London over the previous months are proof that office-based workers make up a large selection of our workforce and therefore, may inevitably have fallen into that 70% category.

What does this mean? It means that businesses may not have been entirely prepared for what the new social isolation guidance has thrown at us.

Providing staff with the appropriate technical equipment, communication tools and applications are some challenges for those new to remote working. But another difficult hurdle is the appropriate integration of security measures.

So what cyber security risks does remote working pose to your business? And what steps can you take to prevent them?

1. Protect company data using the cloud

With some organisations not having the time or the resources to provide staff with work laptops, employees may be working remotely using their personal laptops or computers.

There are various benefits to encouraging a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment in your modern workplace. Not only in that it will save your business money on investing in individual staff laptops, but also that many people feel more comfortable and thus, productive, using their own devices for work.

However, using personal laptops does pose risks, as confidential personal data is mixed with company data. It becomes more difficult to track where data is accessible from, as there isn’t a centralised location for this anymore. Furthermore, personal devices rarely have security measures in place that a workplace device would, such as anti-virus software.

Solution?

There’s no reason you can’t encourage staff to embrace a BYOD work-style, when using Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 addresses the fear of data leakage with its built-in Microsoft Intune integration, enabling you to use thought-out protection policies to safeguard company data. By having a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can restrict third-party access to company resources on any device with the subscription, making the concern of leaked sensitive information a thing of the past.

Virtuoso also offers a cyber security offering, ThreatProtect, that includes next-generation endpoint detection and response software, which hunts, detects and responds to endpoint security threats. As well as a content filtering platform, which can block various types of content from devices that may be deemed a risk.

2. Manage employee identities in the cloud

Protecting any data belonging to your company, employees or customers is vital, not only for your reputation but for the safety of those who work with you. You must ensure that you’re keeping this data safe, even while not in an office environment.

But with your employees accessing confidential files in various locations, managing this becomes tricky.

Solution?

Your employees’ laptops must be protected with a strong password, or better yet a biometric solution such as Windows Hello. Ensure they are not using the same passwords across multiple accounts or writing them down, by encouraging the use of a password manager. Protect sensitive files too, with cloud-based security, so files cannot be accessed without the valid authorisation.

It’s vitally important to implement two-factor authentication, which will ensure that the person accessing classified information is in fact who they say they are. Using applications such as Microsoft Authenticator or Google Authenticator can assist with this.

Using a cloud-based identity management platform, like Microsoft Azure Active Directory, which integrates seamlessly with all your apps, you can eliminate the worry of remembering passwords as it enables a single-sign on experience. You can also manage all users and devices remotely, even locking users out and wiping a device’s memory of certain information, giving you more control when your staff are working remotely.

Unsure if any data has already been leaked? With Virtuoso’s cyber security package, you will receive regular scans of the dark web. Our cyber security specialists will do continual checks to see if any of your employee’s credentials have been compromised and are at threat of being sold online, so you can act quickly to prevent future security breaches.

3. Don’t forget about emails 

It’s easy to look past emails as a security threat. We use them all day every day, how could they possibly pose risks?

The reality is; they do. In 2019, over a third of UK businesses reported at least one security attack or breach a month. 80% of those were phishing emails, either impersonating someone or including some form of spyware or ransomware.

Remote working increases these risks dramatically, as receiving an impersonating email from a colleague is much less obvious when you’re not sat across the room from them to double-check they were the sender.

Solution?

Make sure you have integrated sophisticated email security software, which detects cyber-attacks, including phishing, business email compromise, account takeovers, identity spoofing, and credential theft.

Your business must use an email security platform that allows you to monitor unusual email activity and respond immediately by quarantining any potential threats.

Need some guidance? We can upgrade you to our intelligent cloud email security software, which integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and alerts you in real-time to any threats detected.

Contact us for cyber security support

With these three simple security measures in place to prevent cyber security risks while remote working, you can rest assured that your staff can carry out their jobs safely from home.

With many people finding home a more relaxed and productive environment for delivering work, there’s no reason that this new remote working lifestyle isn’t something that could benefit your business after isolation measures have been lifted.

If you would like some more information about which areas of your business require cyber security support, get in touch with our experts today!