Remote work is the way of the future. Employ­ees who are able to do their jobs effec­tive­ly from home are now often giv­en the option to skip the com­mute and work remote­ly. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this cre­ates risk for the com­pa­ny.

Remote work car­ries great risks of infor­ma­tion inter­cep­tion, device theft, and mal­ware. Here are some ways to mit­i­gate these prob­lems.

Take Con­trol of the Devices

It’s tempt­ing to hook your employ­ees’ home devices up to a Vir­tu­al Pri­vate Net­work (VPN), but this is usu­al­ly a bad idea. VPNs are absolute­ly pass­word-secure, which is good for stop­ping inter­cep­tion of infor­ma­tion on the Inter­net, but use­less at fight­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of devices.

If an employee’s device has a secu­ri­ty flaw, it can be used as a route into the net­work.

About 95% of secu­ri­ty issues can be fixed by reg­u­lar­ly apply­ing secu­ri­ty updates to the soft­ware on devices and refus­ing to install non-secure soft­ware. If you give your employ­ees admin priv­i­leges over their devices, not every­one will act respon­si­bly. How­ev­er, if you admin all the devices on your net­work remote­ly, you will have con­trol over all soft­ware changes.

Use Inter­nal Fire­walls

It’s a pain to con­tin­ue to set allowed ports and pro­grams, but fire­walls go a long way to lim­it­ing the dam­age of any intru­sion. Only a lim­it­ed num­ber of pro­grams need to com­mu­ni­cate between devices, so open ports for those pro­grams while block­ing the rest.

Edu­cate Employ­ees about Phish­ing

We like to think of “hack­ers” as the movies por­tray them”: reclu­sive genius­es who type fast while shout­ing non­sense. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they are nor­mal peo­ple who have learned how to exploit oth­ers, even remote­ly at work.

Many hack­ing attempts start as “phish­ing” attempts to scam users out of their pass­words. Make it clear to employ­ees that there is no rea­son for them to ever tell their pass­word to any­one else in the orga­ni­za­tion. Set up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of guest priv­i­leges while work­ing remote­ly and alter­nate accounts to dis­cour­age account shar­ing.

Invest in Pro­fes­sion­al Secu­ri­ty Sys­tem Design

No blog can cov­er even 1% of a secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­al’s knowl­edge about design­ing a safe sys­tem. If you hire a pro to test your sys­tem and make changes, then you know that you have done as much as pos­si­ble to pro­vide real pro­tec­tion to your employ­ees and cus­tomers!

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.