As the COVID-19 contagion continues to spread fear on people from all sectors of society, it also forced abrupt changes to human ways including the way we work and interact with one another. Remote work or working from home has become the new norm for many companies. It is an imperative approach that can help to prevent the movement of the coronavirus and mitigate its effect on the economy.

Working from home is what we need to avoid economic collapse. But it also brings serious challenges to the security of our company’s information systems (IS). Since working from home is the only direction we can take at this point in time, there is only one thing we can do to ensure data security and that is to develop an anti-COVID-19 cyber security strategy. It seems too complex for us to do, but we can actually make it happen with the help of a reliable provider of enterprise print management solutions.

Results of a study conducted by Security Magazine suggests that 50% of business operators believe that having a big remote workforce increases a company’s risks to cyber attacks. Another study conducted by the American business news channel CNBC highlights a report from a company security officer who says that hacking and phishing attempts on his organization increased by 40% since the coronavirus outbreak began.

A majority of businesses are using in-office security plans by default. Even if it had served you well in the past setup, it may no longer be effective enough in a remote work environment. As you decide to switch from an office setup to a work-from-home format, you should first determine whether your cyber security strategies have sufficient capability to keep your data safe and secure. If your existing security protection program is not strong enough to keep your installation safe, you may work with a trusted provider of enterprise print management services for an update.

To ensure the security of your remote data, consider these measures to  keep your data secure when some or all of your employees are working from home.

Patch Security Vulnerabilities and Perform Security Updates

The abrupt switch from office-based to home-based operation can trigger a huge volume of work for your IT teams. They are the ones taking care of various departments affected by the change and this can result in your IT team’s failure to perform certain tasks like routine network patches and security upgrades. These lapses can make your IS vulnerable to security threats – unless you perform a set of moves to prevent it.

  • Give special attention to data center and network patches. You may choose to work with a provider of managed print services for their capability to administer this aspect of your business.
  • Require all affected employees to update their computing devices with the latest operating system patches. Also require them to set their computers to automatically accept future updates.
  • Instruct your IT staff to check for security updates and new patches at least once a week.
  • Your network and data center are the primary targets of cyber criminals. Protect them by implementing solutions that provide multi-level cyber security protection. Use  artificial intelligence, remote monitoring, and other trusted tools to identify and remove security threats before they get into your network.

Impose a Strict Cyber Hygiene Policy

One way to keep your network and data center safe from security threats is to see to it that your employees are observing good cyber hygiene in their homes. Do these to ensure protection of your IS especially when your employees’ home computing devices are connected to your network:

  • Keep all home networks password protected.
  • Implement a reliable password policy on all the systems and assets of the organization. It should include the use of strong passwords and frequent password changes especially in remote computer units.
  • Strengthen the security of your system by implementing a two-factor authentication on employee devices and applications that process and hold sensitive company information.
  • Always make sure that all computing devices including remote units and mobile devices are protected with reliable, automatically updated anti-virus software.
  • Consider using a proven managed security solution from a trusted source.
  • Always make digital backups of all of your documents, programs and files and place them in a safe storage.

Buy Secure Remote Working Software and Collaboration Tools

Keep your company productive by using tools that can help to raise your team’s efficiency while ensuring cyber security for the entire organization.

  • Collaboration Tools. Ensure a risk-free collaboration with customers and employees with tools that offer visibility and security. Here are some you may consider:
    • Microsoft Office 365E1
    • Cisco Webex
  • Secure File Sharing Software. Encourage your employees to use a secure application for sharing files. It will help keep information safe and prevent them from committing risky acts like downloading attachments or clicking suspicious links.
  • Email Security Tools. Email and messaging are two of the most effective ways to transmit information to a remote environment. Invest in email security solutions to help you identify and prevent hacks before they get into your inbox.
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN). VPNs enable your remote employees to access your network with the least security risks.
  • Disaster Recovery. With team members working from different locations, your backup and data recovery strategies can get compromised. Loss of important company data can be disastrous to any business. You must make sure to have a reliable team that can create and safely store backups of valuable company data.

Set a Budget for Cyber Security Training

Remote work is not an option at this point in time. With the present circumstances that we are in, it is a necessity. As an employer, you can help to make working from home successful if you provide your team with the appropriate training and tools. Invest on cyber security training for your workers and be guaranteed of a healthy information system.

In addition to the training, there are other things you can do to protect your IT installation from cyber security threats:

  • Company programs should only be run and accessed on authorized computers with the latest anti-virus protection
  • Never allow non-employees to access company computers. Do not allow your employees to use the company’s computer devices for personal tasks.
  • Encourage your employees to observe proper email practices and defensive web behavior. It includes not downloading attachments, leaving links alone and not visiting websites unless they’re verified and proven safe.
  • Keep your teams aware of phishing schemes and social engineering attacks. Teach your workers the best ways to avoid phishing and encourage them to practice these consistently.
  • Work with a competent provider of enterprise print management They can furnish you with reliable data security software and provide your staff with the training they need

Remote work may not be very different from office-based work in terms of productivity, but it makes your information system more vulnerable to cyber security risks. It’s precisely the reason why you need a strong cyber security program to protect it from hacking, phishing and malware.

As a business, the work-from-home setup could be the only way to make  your business continue amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Welcome it, but don’t give it a chance to compromise the security of your data.

Keep your remote computers safe from cyber security risks. Get the latest data security programs from a trusted provider of enterprise print management solutions.

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