6 Easy Security Tips for Working Remotely
By Dan Merino
Here are IT security steps that protect your computers and your sanity.
Many companies have moved their workforce remote during the COVID-19 pandemic to follow governmental restrictions and CDC guidelines. This move has left many asking, “What measures should our company consider for remote workers?”
Unfortunately, the nature of this event has caught many in the reactive mode of implementing changes on the fly without much planning. Here are my top six items to consider in securing your remote workers:
1. Use company hardware. Ensure workers are using company computers to connect to corporate networks or resources. These company computers can be better controlled, as in controlling administrative rights, Windows updates and installed applications. Additionally, workers should be directed to only do business-related activities on the company-supplied computer.
2. Remote desktop? VPN. Do not allow direct remote desktop connections to a corporate network. Many companies choose to allow direct remote desktop connections to quickly access workstations located within the office without using a VPN. However, this practice has created a security hole for hackers to access the corporate network. There are some nasty ransomware attacks that begin as exploits of remote desktop. All connections should use a VPN or other encrypted method of connecting.
3. Deploy remote management software. Remote management software empowers quicker response times to employees having issues. It also helps control devices accessing the company resources and can ensure devices meet company standards for items such as Windows patching.
4. Take time for training. Training for workers should include the following topics: maintaining strong password practices, how to identify phishing emails, how ransomware attacks occur, the importance of slowing down and paying attention and how to report suspected incidents. Any event can be exploited and COVID-19 is no exception. There are several scams emerging to prey on those not paying enough attention.
5. Count on MFA. Add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to the VPN sign-in process. Passwords have become a less-than-strong authentication method. Expecting users to memorize and create a long list of passwords to be used in their daily lives has prompted many users to turn to bad password practices. While long and complex passwords are important, adding MFA can significantly increase your level of security.
6. Stay on top of patching and signatures. Maintain up-to-date computer patches as well as anti-virus / anti-malware signatures. Even if your company lacks a centralized method for updating Windows, workers should be encouraged to allow Windows to update itself. Windows 10 has made this process tougher to avoid. Patches to Windows can help to mitigate issues workers might face when navigating the web. Anti-virus / anti-malware should be centrally managed and updated by your company’s IT group.
Need More Security Tips for Working Remotely?
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- Think before you click.
- Security is always a day behind the bad guys.
- Human error is the most common error when it come to technology.