As associations take their work remote, it’s becoming increasingly essential to have security strategies in mind that account for local Wi-Fi access and personal devices employees might not otherwise bring to the office. Here are some strategies to consider.
With more staff than ever working outside of the office, the attack surface is in many ways both larger than ever and outside of your control.
Which can be a huge problem if you don’t have a plan to manage things remotely and keep users’ data safe in an array of environments. Some of the best solutions involve guidance; others involve strengthened security.
Read on for a few tips to keep remote employees secure in a home environment:
Multifactor authentication matters more than ever. If your organization once saw your office’s security mechanisms as a useful way to ensure that only approved people would be able to access a platform, a change in location basically ensures a change in dynamic. As CIO notes, now is a good time to take steps to strengthen security, particularly when it comes to multifactor authentication, such as smartphone apps like Google Authenticator or even physical keys.
Get your employees to secure their routers. An open Wi-Fi network is the kind of bad news that can let in bad actors, especially in relatively tight environments such as apartment complexes where neighbors are separated only by single walls. The security firm Kaspersky recommends both ensuring that your users’ Wi-Fi passwords are set, as well as ensuring the router itself has its login information changed. “If you have never changed the login and password required to enter the router settings, do so now,” the company explains. “The default passwords for many models are not only too weak, but also known across the Internet and easily searchable.”
Discourage the use of personal devices for work purposes. In an article for Security Boulevard, writer Francis Dinha notes that the use of computing devices at home often means that users could be taking a more lax approach to using their personal machines on the job—which can create security problems down the line, especially if they’re letting others use their laptop or desktop machine. “Now that those personal devices are connected to your company network, it’s important that they understand: It’s time to treat every device like it’s a company device,” Dinha writes. “Set a clear protocol in place, with potential discipline if that protocol isn’t followed, that no one is to share their devices with anyone outside of the company. Make sure you communicate these expectations clearly with your team.” If you’re giving them work devices, you should take steps to bar them from using their personal devices to get on the corporate network.
Discourage the use of external media. A recent guidance document from the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre notes that USB drives can lead to the theft of data or even potential malware infection. “USB drives can contain lots of sensitive information, are easily misplaced, and when inserted into your IT systems can introduce malware,” the agency states. The guide recommends that organizations only allow storage devices that have been explicitly allowed by the organization itself.