Are Your Remote Employees Careful Enough with Company Information?

Some businesses have allowed employees to work remotely for years, while others were thrust into this new reality without preparation. No matter what the circumstances, remote workers come with an increased security risk, and businesses need to make sure they are prepared to keep their information secure.

Young woman sitting at a desk with her laptop working from home.

Remote Employees Can Be Susceptible to Data Breaches

Remote employees can be a big threat to the security of your company information. Weak passwords, unencrypted file sharing, working from personal devices, unsecure home wi-fi systems, and phishing schemes are the biggest risks to security when you have remote employees. Most of us believe that we wouldn’t fall for an obvious phishing scheme, but cyber criminals are getting more savvy, and your employees can end up giving hackers access to your company’s data without realizing it. An employee may believe they are providing necessary information to another employee, when in fact they’ve provided a cyber-criminal with the information they can use to hack into accounts and steal information. In addition to falling for phishing schemes, employees can put your company at risk with weak or repeated passwords. If your employees are repeating passwords, especially commonly used passwords, across their business and personal accounts, your information is at risk.

Employers Have Lack of Control Over the Home Office

When employees are working from their home office, they may be using personal devices and their own wi-fi connections, which are rarely as secure as the conditions they have when they are working in the company office. Home wi-fi networks can pose a serious risk to company data. Many people don’t think to update their home routers, and this means that the security gaps are not patched. Home wi-fi networks will not have firewalls to guard information shared within the network, leading to further security gaps.

A Remote Work Policy is Key to Data Protection

When you have remote employees, you need to develop a remote work policy for data protection. A remote work policy is an organization-wide document that provides a complete outline of best security practices and remote work requirements. This policy should include:

  • How to comply with privacy and security laws.
  • How to identify and reduce threats.
  • Specifications on the equipment that may be used for company business and the equipment employees should use for personal business.
  • Instructions on how to secure a home wi-fi network, including how to check for updates.
  • Clear guidelines for passwords
  • Guidelines for file sharing.

Remote Employees Need Training in Data Protection

After developing a remote work policy, it is important to train all employees in these best practices for data protection so everyone understands the risks and expectations. Employee training is essential for preventing and managing any potential security breaches. Educated employees are less likely to fall victim to phishing scams or engage in unsecure practices. In addition to training on how to avoid data breaches and increase data protection, employees also must receive training on how to respond to a potential breach. If an employee fears they have fallen for a phishing scheme, there needs to be an immediate procedure to report and respond to the security threat.

Remote work may be here to stay, and employers need to adapt to the changing working world. Educating your employees and following a data protection plan can help ensure that your company – and your company’s information – remain secure no matter where your employees are working from.

When you have laid out your expectations, provided training in cyber security best practices, and informed your organization of the policy, a data breach is much less likely to occur, even if your employees are working from home. If you’re unsure how protected you are, we can help. Contact AccuShred to learn more about how we can guide your organization through an assessment of your current safety measures, identify vulnerabilities, and provide suggestions for implementing a best practice policy for your business.