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In today’s digitalized world, working remotely has been a blessing for many that could not go into the office during the pandemic. Even now, many companies offer a work-from-home solution for their employees so they can connect from anywhere. 

While this is highly convenient and helps with productivity, it introduces certain data security challenges.

Here are six tips for developing an effective remote work security policy.

1. Establish Comprehensive Security Policy Rules

Many organizations think they are simply not big enough to implement security policies, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If your business relies on data, and that data needs to be kept safe, then you need security policies in place.

When creating a comprehensive security policy, you must address essential issues while it is still under development. One example is company data protection. Security policies must cover these important aspects of the day-to-day operations of your business, including user activities. 

Ensure that you cover the following:

  • Password management and password guidelines
  • Remote access conditions and protocols
  • Data handling, storage, and data life cycle
  • Incident reporting and incident response procedures

Once you have these basics in place, you stand a far greater chance of protecting your company while maintaining data security. 

Regular penetration testing is another effective way for companies to ensure data protection. It helps assess cybersecurity defenses and identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. 

By simulating real-world attacks, penetration testing tools help companies to understand their security weaknesses and take proactive measures to improve their overall security posture.

2. Employee Education and Training About Cybersecurity Best Practices

Your employees are usually your main defense against savvy social engineering attacks, but the risk still remains. Cybercriminals know how to craft seemingly legitimate emails to launch phishing attacks that steal your employee’s credentials. 

Basic cybersecurity training goes a long way to protect your organization and customers from data breaches and cyberattacks. It will also save your company both financial and reputational costs in the long term.

Key topics you should cover in your training sessions include historically successful attacks and new and emerging threats. This way, you give your staff the knowledge they need to do their jobs properly while safeguarding your business. 

Some examples of the topics you should cover include:

  • Identifying, recognizing, and reporting phishing attacks, even unsuccessful ones
  • Learning how to safeguard important information
  • Utilizing strong passwords and password audits
  • Carrying out regular software updates

Regular staff training can greatly diminish employees’ chances of falling victim to scams and cyberattacks. 

3. Implement Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA, MFA)

Using 2FA/MFA adds an additional security layer to your employee’s sign-in process. It requires various forms of identity confirmation other than a password.

Some examples include:

  • Receiving a text message or email with a one-time pin that grants temporary access
  • Using a fingerprint or facial scan to confirm the identity of the person logging in
  • Receiving a push notification via a secured app 

While these systems are not perfect, they certainly reduce the chances of unauthorized access to sensitive systems.

4. Securing Remote Access With VPNs

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a private tunnel between two points. VPNs are a popular cybersecurity tool used by many individuals and organizations. Many companies can easily set up secure communications for their remote offices and staff to connect with no issues. 

The data within the private tunnel is encrypted, and only the two parties connected to it are able to communicate with one another. If an external party tries to intercept or read this information, they will get only encrypted, inaccessible data. 

You must ensure that your current VPN is compatible with Blumira Agent. This will give you both secure communications between VPN points and excellent local endpoint protection in minutes.

5. Update Software Regularly and Maintain Hardware

Software updates are a critical part of your cybersecurity defenses. This also applies to dated hardware like ancient Wi-Fi routers and networking infrastructure. The older a system is, the more opportunities cybercriminals have to develop exploits and attack vulnerable hardware and software.

In order to fully mitigate this risk, you will need to make sure that devices are regularly updated and that your employees understand the importance of allowing a system to perform an update. 

Some networks enforce software updates via Active Directory, which means that users have no choice but to allow the system to complete its update and, in some cases, reboot afterward. 

Software that needs to be monitored and maintained includes:

  • Operating Systems like Microsoft Windows and MacOS
  • Applications and software
  • Firmware for devices like printers and network switches
  • Drivers for devices like printers and Wi-Fi cards

This doesn’t mean that you need to suddenly go out on a spending spree to replace all of your old hardware and software, but it will make you more aware of the current state of your existing IT infrastructure. As long as you stay up-to-date with software updates, your systems will have a better chance of avoiding cyberattacks. 

6. Implement Endpoint Protection

Endpoint security is the software that can access your computer (endpoint) and keeps your computer safe from malware and viruses. Endpoint protection connects to a centralized service; from this point, the endpoint systems usually monitor and isolate if needed.

Endpoint protection is a crucial security feature for any organization hosting sessions remotely for users working from home. Employees have access to sensitive data that must be guarded, especially since some organizations allow employees to use their own private devices to connect to company resources. 

By implementing endpoint protection, you automatically ensure that each device connected to your network is secure – reducing risks associated with data breaches, cybercrimes, and malware infections. This is because the endpoint is automatically updated.

Fortunately, with Blumira Agent’s Endpoint Visibility tool, companies can see how easy it is to protect their remote workers and secure the corporate VPN and network.

Using Blumira Agent to Protect Remote Users

Endpoint security is one of the biggest attack surfaces in a work-from-home scenario. Blumira Agent’s Endpoint Visibility tool offers a comprehensive solution that proactively detects and responds to endpoint security threats. 

Diagram of Blumira Agent

This software covers your remote workers’ Microsoft Windows devices. When ransomware strikes, Blumira Agent will utilize endpoint isolation on affected devices from the network, stopping the spread of this destructive malware type.

Installation is quick and easy and requires no on-premises infrastructure to get the system up and running. Blumira Agent also offers the added benefit of providing organizations with the compliance needed to satisfy cyber insurance requirements, tying it into the rest of your cybersecurity strategy.

Remote Work and Protecting Your Organization

While remote work has significantly benefited many organizations and employees during the pandemic, it has also introduced several data security challenges. Businesses must take proactive steps to secure their data in the age of remote work.

Fortunately, implementing endpoint protection like Blumira Agent, establishing comprehensive security policy rules, and educating employees about cybersecurity best practices can help organizations reduce the risk of data breaches, cybercrime, and malware infections. 

Endpoint protection is your computer or laptop’s first line of defense against malware, viruses, and trojans. Installing Blumira Agent on your systems decreases the chances of a serious infection on your network, especially where remote work is involved and monitoring user activities is more difficult.

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