TMCnet Feature
September 23, 2020

How Do You Ensure Data Security When Your Employees Are Working Remotely?

With Covid-19 causing unprecedented disruption worldwide, 2020 has become the year of remote working. For many companies, this is a new and challenging time.

As well as worrying about whether employees have everything they need to do their job well, you also need to think about data security.

This affects all organizations: even if you aren’t in an area as sensitive, you’ll still have proprietary data and information that definitely shouldn’t be in the public domain.

#1: Use Specialist Hardware and Software For File Storage

If your team currently shares files by emailing them to one another or by using online apps, then it’s time to upgrade to something more secure and robust.

This could mean a physical server in your office building that employees access remotely – but for most companies, it makes more sense to opt for a cloud-based option, such as the Centrestack cloud file server.

Even if your company is a small startup, there are affordable solutions available – and as Keith Mendonsa explains, these “effectively enable small businesses to operate more like larger companies”.

#2: Have a Clear Policy – and Train Employees On It

Don’t operate on the false assumption that your employees already know that it’s important to be cautious about data security. Employees may simply be unaware that security matters.

You need to take the time to establish a data security policy, and get all new and existing employees to review and sign it.

You should also make sure you train employees on what to do to keep data secure. Don’t forget the basics: you may need to cover things like password safety and keeping antivirus software up to date. This is particularly important if employees are using their own laptops or devices while working remotely.

#3: Consider Providing Laptops for Your Employees

While it may well not be within your budget, if you’re able to provide company laptops for your employees, this can give you a huge head start on data security.

You can make sure that the laptops have all necessary software for keeping data secure. You can also prohibit employees from sharing them with other members of their household or installing non-approved apps – something which you can’t generally do when employees are providing their own devices.

#4: Make Sure You Have Redundancy In Place

A data breach is a disaster – but so is a hardware failure or even a power outage that causes your organization to lose vital files.

Whatever system you use to store your files, make sure that redundancy is built in. Cloud servers, for instance, keep copies of your files stored on different servers. Even if you’re using an in-house system, you should run full backups daily, if not more frequently.

#5: Share Passwords Securely

Do your employees need to share passwords to access certain tools or applications? Make sure these passwords are only shared securely – you don’t want someone to simply type a password into an email.

Tools like LastPass allow passwords to be shared safely and securely and also help encourage employees to avoid password reuse. Make sure all current and new employees are set up with an account and know how to use your chosen password management system.

#6: Use Two-Factor Authentication for Crucial Systems

One great way to boost your data security is to use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). This means that as well as a password, employees need to enter another piece of information – often a code sent via SMS message to their cell phone.

Using 2FA means that even if an employee’s password is guessed or revealed, their accounts can’t be accessed.

Data security may not be top of your mind in the midst of 2020’s challenges. However, a data breach or data loss could be catastrophic – especially if your company has already been facing a difficult year. Following the steps above helps ensure data security even when all or most of your employees are working remotely.

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