The Coronavirus outbreak has forced many companies worldwide to transition into the remote working culture. Though many businesses have seen an increase in productivity, there are other issues that arise as a result of this new way of working. Connectivity, Work culture and sense of team spirit are just a few issues. However, the real issue lies with “Data security”, and if data gets compromised or leaked – then that can cause further damage.
Every organisation needs a remote working security policy in place
Every organisation needs security policies in place for remote workers, especially SMEs. In fact, 28% of Data Breaches in 2020 Involved Small Businesses SMEs are at a greater risk of data breaches because they are not equipped to deal with managed dispersed remote workforce. The benefits of introducing security policies in place for your remote workforce will demonstrate to your teams that your company is serious about data, and it will set clear expectations on how you want your organisation to operate remotely. If you don’t have policies in place, then you will find your remote workforce doing what they believe is convenient. You may even find employees with good intentions accidentally putting the company data at risk, if they are not made aware about the security risks.
So, if you’re a business owner taking drastic measures to change your business to operate remotely, then it’s time to revamp your security landscape, and bring in policies that will protect business data in remote locations.
What do you need to build your Remote working policy?
The smarter way is to look at the existing policies and see how they might need to change for the work-from-home (WFH) model. And if you don’t have policies in place, well, there is no time like the present.– especially when cyber threats have increased to its apex.
Before revamping your policies, ask yourself the following questions:
- How are your employees accessing data?
- How are employees working?
- What tools are employees using?
- When employees create content, is it intellectual property that needs to be protected?
- Where are your employees storing business data?
So, gear yourself up and have a look at the top essential you will need to address in your remote working security policies
Top essentials to cover in your Remote Working security policies
- Reporting Security Incidents
Due to an increase in complex and growing IT structure, cyber threats and misconduct is increasing. Therefore security incidents that threaten the availability, authenticity or integrity of data or cause of loss of confidentiality must be dealt with quickly and effectively. Create a policy that focuses on how your remote workforce can report incidents such as lost or stolen devices, malware attacks or loss of data.
- Acceptable use
The acceptable use policy should define proper and improper behaviour when a remote worker accesses company network resources, including restrictions on the use of company resources for non-business related activities or sharing information outside the organisation.
- Password Management
Establish and enforce a password policy to secure your company data. The policy should define that all passwords must be complex and it should define how often they need to change. The policy should also outline situations in which password protection is required for certain documents.
- Use of Email
In order for company information to remain within the walls of the business, it is importance to put policies in place that inform remote workers to strictly use their business email for work related communications. Not only does this reduce chances of data escaping, but it also reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and unknown emails coming into the inbox. Make your workforce aware about not clicking on suspicious links. Raise awareness around how links can often be disguised or come from unfamiliar sources that could potentially put company data and device at risk.
- Mobile Device Management
Usage of personal device has increased during these pandemic days as employees are working from home. 56% of employees use personal computers to Work from home. Make sure to lay down procedure for accessing company data via personal laptop/computer or mobile devices.
- Backup, Recovery and Disaster Recovery (DR)
Regular backups are important for home users, losing even a small fraction of your most important data, for a period of time, could be a real disaster and have compliance issues.We suggest avoiding local backup at employee’s homes as it simply becomes another security problem. The best option is to simply use a cloud storage service to back up your data.
- Encourage the use of (secure, approved) cloud services
One way to protect your employee end points is to ensure your confidential information is not stored locally.Put a policy in place that all data should be stored on a cloud account that you have set up for your employees.
- Limit and control access privileges on personal device
Create a policy that provides guidelines around controlling the number of personal devices employees can access business data from. Set a rule in place that only certain Job functions or positions can have access to data from multiple devices, including personal. Device management systems usually help in maintaining a unified list of all authorised devices. Block critical data from being shared through unsecured Wi-Fi networks with IP Control.
- Educate your workforce
People working from home must be provided with basic security advice. For example, they need to be aware of cyber threats that could be lurking in their emails such as Phishing attacks, or why it is important to avoid public Wi-Fi connections when making bank transactions. Take time out in enrolling your workforce onto a Security Awareness Training program.
- Protect data through its life cycle.
Put a policy in place where data is end-to-end protected from the moment is it created, stored and shared.
As you can see there are many elements organisations need to consider when introducing remote working policies. When you start building yours, make sure you include the essentials so you can set the expectations to your remote workforce.