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As the first wave of lockdowns and quarantines sprung up all over the world, millions of people switched off their office computers and transitioned into remote work. This transition has had wide consequences for IT personnel, but the biggest and most worrisome of them is the issue of security.

A Quick Cybersecurity Checklist For The Remote Work Transition

In an office environment, IT has control over every device’s security – but when workers use their own machines at home, it’s difficult to maintain that previous level of protection. In this article, we’re going to share a few tips and tools that IT can use to improve the cybersecurity of their remote staff.

Enforce Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is an incredibly important aspect of cybersecurity. Enforcing it in all of your remote workers is the first step in isolating many login-related security issues.

Employ VPNs For All Company Data Transactions

Back when everyone accessed data from company premises, online privacy might not have been a serious issue. But since remote workers will now be accessing company data from their homes, VPNs may be necessary to protect your data. It’s important to choose a highly secure VPN with good security practices and proven encryption methods if you want this measure to be truly safe and effective.

Standardize The Use Of Firewalls

There was never any doubt about the necessity of business firewalls. However, many users don’t have equivalent protection in their homes and are vulnerable to outside threats. The most basic built-in firewall for Windows might not be enough, so you should consider providing enterprise licenses for your employees.

Use Secure Video Conferencing Platforms

Video conferencing tools have become incredibly popular in the wake of the pandemic, and millions of users have adopted them in their daily lives for remote meetings. But many of the most popular tools, such as Zoom, suffer from significant security issues. It’s important to pick one with strong encryption to prevent outsiders from snooping in on your sensitive communications.

Avoid Social Media And Free Messaging Tools For Any Business Communications

Social media and free personal messaging apps are often used by companies to stay in touch. While this is very simple and allows people to use platforms that they’re already familiar with, these are not very secure methods of communicating. Stick to IT-approved channels, such as enterprise chat platforms with strong security and authentication methods.

Keep Regular Backups

A single ransomware attack or hardware failure can cause extensive data loss, and without the protection of cloud backups or redundant hardware, remote workers are especially vulnerable. Make sure that everyone understands the value of backing up their data, and that they backup to an encrypted physical storage or to a safe cloud.

Stay On The Same Business Cloud

When it comes to cloud backups, the whole company needs to be on the same page. Have users stay away from personal cloud storage solutions, and make sure that all sensitive data is uploaded to the same cloud platform that the company uses.

Ask Users To Stay On Top Of Their Software Updates

Automatic updates for Windows and other software might seem like an annoyance, but they often come with essential security patches that protect against exploits and malicious attacks. Your remote workers need to turn on their automatic updates for all of their software if they want to stay ahead of the curve. On top of that, they should avoid using outdated and EOL software that is no longer being maintained by vendors.

Don’t Use Remote Desktop Tools

Remote desktop tools are notoriously insecure, yet many offices still use them as an access point for company systems. It may be better to access your company cloud via VPN instead.

Secure All Devices

Some remote workers may share their homes with other people who shouldn’t be privy to company information. Have all of your users lock their devices in order to keep your data out of prying eyes.

Educate Users On Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks have been on the rise lately – often taking advantage of people’s generosity or desire for information about the pandemic. Instruct your users not to open any suspicious links that they receive, even if they appear to be from reputable sources.

Final Thoughts

Most businesses are still reeling from this unprecedented large-scale transition to remote work, and IT may have some catching up to do. If you want the best shot at maintaining your security needs, you’ll need to stay on top of things and use these tips and tools as a basic checklist for cybersecurity!

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