Businesses across North America faced countless challenges in 2020. Many of those challenges will continue in 2021. But as cybersecurity threats continue to proliferate, the biggest challenge might just be managing and securing remote employees.
Less than a year ago, most of us went to the office every morning, performing our jobs in person and on office computers. Now, many of us are working from home, on laptops and mobile phones, all while navigating new platforms and workflows.
Last March, many businesses had to quickly implement a telecommuting model that worked for employees, managers, and IT administrators alike. With plenty of time to reflect on what works—and the realization that remote work will continue into 2021—now is the perfect time to reassess remote work protocols, make sure devices are protected, and increase overall security.
One of the biggest benefits of remote work is a well-documented increase in productivity. A recent FlexJobs.com survey shows that telecommuting works for employees—95% of respondents say that their productivity has remained steady while working from home, and 51% report being more productive.
Of course, security is a serious concern, especially when employees are juggling too many logins for too many business applications or sharing files between multiple unsecured devices. Data that doesn’t sync properly is more than just an inconvenience—it can also lead to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
So how can you help to empower your remote employees while securing their data and devices?
1. Make sure access is protected.
Employees need to understand how to use virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow secure connections to company networks. Password-protected Wi-Fi connections are a must too. And every employee should be using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to log in to as many applications as possible. Single sign-on (SSO) is even better—it centralizes authentication and protects credentials, giving each member of your team a single digital identity to use.
2. Automatically roll out updates and patches for office and home computers.
Managed IT services can offer businesses a wide variety of beneficial services. One of the biggest is the automatic deployment of security patches and software updates to plug security gaps. This can help prevent ransomware attacks and minimize the consequences of phishing scams and network exploits, all of which have increased since remote work became more common.
3. Comprehensively protect your data, whether it’s at rest or in transit.
Remote employees need easy access to important files—at the same time that businesses need to ensure all data is protected. Enterprise-grade file sync and share services can facilitate this, along with trusted data backup solutions. Cloud-based backups are reliable and remote, storing information in multiple locations. In the event of a power failure or other emergency, that data can be retrieved and virtualized to get your business back up and running.
4. Build extra layers of security around your business.
As cybersecurity threats evolve, so must the defenses that protect against them. At CMIT Solutions, we deploy multiple layers of security around the perimeter of your company’s IT infrastructure. That starts with strong firewalls and extends into anti-virus software, active network management, traffic monitoring, DNS filtering, and anti-spam protection. The more layers you have protecting your business, the more prepared you are to prevent attacks and mitigate problems.
5. Invest in security training for your staff.
We like to say that your team is your first line of cyber defense. A well-educated employee who is aware of phishing schemes and security best practices can avoid small mistakes that could lead to bigger issues. And promoting awareness helps to combat the carelessness and “security fatigue” that many of today’s digital employees face.
6. Explore other remote work enhancements.
The technology resources needed to enable remote work do more than just protect your employees. Video conferencing and chat-based apps can also foster connection, clarity, and collaboration among your staff. After a long year of working from home, many of us feel isolated and disconnected from our colleagues, and those interpersonal connections are more important than ever—even if they happen online.
When we spend less time trying to find a file and more time actively working, we get more done. That’s why it’s so important to leverage the right remote work applications for your business. At CMIT Solutions, we’ve spent the last year helping our clients respond to this new reality, and we’re ready to help you succeed in 2021.
Need to solve short-term problems while also planning for long-term success? Want to increase productivity while boosting security? Ready to reduce costs for in-office equipment and on-premises maintenance and reinvest that into smart remote work resources? Contact CMIT Solutions today.