Internet-connected devices make it possible for employees to work away from the office and stay connected with their teams. Some companies allow employees to work at home, making their lives easier (and giving employers a broader pool of job candidates to choose from); while some companies have employees (such as architects, engineers, and others) who need to be on a remote job site yet still need computing power where they are. The problem is that every time a remote employee accesses your data, they may be putting it at risk. Here are a few keys to keeping your business data safe.
Enroll All Devices Used by Employees
Don’t fall into the trap of letting employees access your company data from just any computer or mobile device available to them. Instead, you need to have a system for enrolling all those devices. Through mobile device management, you can gain control over the way your data is being accessed and reduce the risk of a data breach.
Limit Access to Data
Not every employee needs equal access to all your business data. The more often your data is accessed, and the more different devices that are accessing it, the more vulnerable you are. What can you do? You can put systems into place that limit access to company data based on what files each person needs available in order to do their work.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
When your employees are working at the office, they’re probably working on a secure network. Once they leave home base, they leave that safe haven behind. Public Wi-Fi is available everywhere, from libraries to fast food joints. Yet public Wi-Fi is not secure. Anyone can be on that network with you or your employees. Choose private Wi-Fi to avoid cyber threats. A virtual private network (VPN) may be your best solution.
Turn Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When Not Using the Device
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth keep devices connected whenever they’re turned on. This opens up the possibility of someone accessing the device when the person carrying it isn’t paying attention to it. The solution is simple. Just turn on these features only when you’re using them.
Keep the Device Itself Secure
Smartphones, laptops, and tablets can easily be lost or stolen. When that happens, your business data may be at risk. Certainly, you need to stress to your team members that they must keep track of their devices at all times. You also need to have a plan that outlines what to do if the device is lost or stolen. Taking the right steps immediately can help you avoid compromising your data.
Use Secure Cloud-Based Software
You don’t just have to worry about the data that is on remote devices. You also have to be aware of the risks that come up during the transmission process. Using cloud-based apps for remote work gives you an added layer of protection. Secure cloud-based services use data encryption for all the data your remote workers send and receive to and from the company intranet.
Avoid Using Unapproved USBs
USB drives are generally a bad idea for handling business data. It’s just too easy for someone to use a USB that’s been infected with malware. USBs are easy to lose, too. When that happens, any data that’s on them is at risk. If your employees must use USBs, make sure they are only using USBs that your I.T. provider has checked and approved.
Use Complex Passwords
You know you need to use complex passwords. You do. Yet you or your employees may use simple passwords to make logins easier and quicker. Don’t do it. Hackers can guess passwords from personal or public company information. If a password is too simple, they can easily crack the code with a password cracker. However, they may not want to take the time to crack a more complex password.
Everyone who uses internet-connected devices for company accounts needs to choose complex passwords. Here’s what you should include to come up with a secure password:
- Use a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters.
- Make passwords at least 8 characters long.
- Don’t use words that can be found in a dictionary.
- Don’t use personal information like names, birthdates, or addresses.
- Use different passwords for each site.
- Change passwords regularly.
- Log out of websites when you finish using them.
Develop Strict Guidelines for the Use of Remote Devices
Your business data and accounts are important assets for your company. You need and deserve to have control over the way they’re accessed and used. You can exert control over your data by formulating strict guidelines for workers working remotely. Developing such guidelines may be difficult if you don’t know the risks. Fortunately, a knowledgeable I.T. provider can help you determine what rules you need to put into place.
Know What to Do When Cyberattacks Happen
No one wants to admit that a cyber attack can happen to them. The truth is that even companies that put a high priority on security may be attacked. You need to have procedures in place so that everyone knows what to do when data or an account is compromised. Contacting your managed I.T. services provider should be your first step to dealing with cyber attacks.
Keeping your business data safe isn’t easy when you have people working in remote locations on a variety of internet-connected devices. So, what can you do? Start by enrolling all devices your remote workers use. Only give access to your business data to those who need it. Use a VPN rather than public Wi-Fi. Use cloud-based apps to send and receive company data. Develop strict guidelines for remote use of devices. Finally, make sure everyone knows what to do when a cyber-threat happens.
JMARK, a managed I.T. services provider, can help you develop the systems and guidelines you need to ensure that your company data is safe no matter where it is being accessed. Find out more about how we can help you increase your security across all the devices used by your remote workers by emailing us at JMARKIT@JMARK.com, calling us at 844-44-JMARK, or using our Contact Us page to leave a message. Our team of I.T. experts is ready to help you with consultations and services that keep your data secure.