How to connect securely to the network working from home

In the current situation, remote work has become the norm. It allows you to continue company operations even in the absence of staff in the office. At the same time, it is important to understand that obtaining remote network access by an employee increases the risk of corporate data leakage.

However, for many, quarantine has become an opportunity to start a new business venture of your own. If you are one of those people, you are likely to have a lot of questions to begin with. A quick Google search will bring you to articles that walk you through the beginning stages of starting your online business, such as finding the perfect domain name for your website. If you dig a little deeper you may realize there is much more to consider. Network security, for example, is a paramount concern for brand owners, so it will be useful for you to learn how to protect your data.

The Network Security Basics

Make sure that employees familiarize themselves with the basic security recommendations. Even if you take this information for granted, it may be new to other people. According to statistics, 69% of respondents never changed the standard Wi-Fi password, and 48% do not even understand why you should.

Update your employees on standard security strategies:

  • Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Beware of phishing emails.
  • Ignore links in emails from strangers.
  • Install applications only from official stores.
  • Use licensed antivirus software.
  • Check the safety of devices used for work.
  • Ensure the safety of home routers (cable connection is recommended, but if this is not possible, reset the device to factory settings).
network security

Phishing attacks should be given special attention. In current conditions, the number of attempts is significantly increasing. However, training employees on the basics of security cannot guarantee the complete security of users and the network. Therefore, it is recommended that an emergency response team be established.

If an employee receives a COVID-19 phishing email, they will be able to report this to the cybersecurity experts in your organization. This will increase the protection of your entire company.

Open communication with your customers is essential during this time. Everyone is on edge and more sensitive than ever. Use tools like Grammarly to ensure your communications are free of grammatical errors and that your message is clear. This will help you maintain the image and professionalism of your company. 

Strong Password Policy

You must enforce a regular change of employee passwords. Provide periodic resetting and further redefinition of access codes that are used to enter any corporate services. Ensure passwords are strong by containing letters, numbers, and symbols. Be sure to use two-factor user authentication for an additional layer of account security with your smartphone. In addition, you can configure inactivity timeouts.

It is important that not only the company, but also the employees take care of security. Ask them to set strong passwords on all devices, including smartphones. Reminder employees that passwords and codes cannot be stored on sticky notes. This sounds obvious, but some people still do it.

Separately, it is worth taking care of the safety of business passwords. The best solution is to use a password manager. Especially if you can find an application designed specifically for corporate use. Such a password manager will provide greater functionality, such as security recommendations for teams, as well as an increased level of protection. LastPass is a good option.

According to the data, 52% of people use the same passwords for multiple accounts.

Utilize Cloud Services

Local data storage is associated with high risks. Unauthorized access to a single file compromises the privacy of all others. The best way to protect your company netowrk and improve employee performance is to use cloud storage. The cloud will help to disperse sensitive company information, instead of storing it locally where it is more susceptible to threats. 

For example, Microsoft 365.

It is important to use verified services. If you have a dedicated security department, it is advisable that they conduct an audit of the service prior. Insist on using only those services that have been approved by experts.

Access to the Company Network & Internal Systems

Provide access only to those employees who need it. There is no need to risk data security unnecessarily. Many companies offer multi-user login for this purpose.

Also, consider the required level of access to sensitive data. Perhaps enforce a company policy that only internal employees are able to access the information. You should proceed with caution when sharing information with outside web developers and freelancers. Survey data shows that in 1 out of 36 mobile devices, unsafe applications are installed.

How to Provide Access to Your Internal Network

  1. It is advisable to log in from a company device. We recommend providing your employees with company equipment for a higher level of protection of data. It also allows you to configure remote control of the device. Therefore, in the event of an emergency or troubleshooting, the cybersecurity team will be able to turn off the computer or take the necessary measures by controlling the gadget.
  2. Mandatory use of VPN. Connection to your internal network should only be carried out through VPN. It is important to use proven services to secure your corporate data. Many companies offer a corporate package of services that takes into account the requirements of business customers. Connecting employees via VPN eliminates the threat of cyberattacks during the transfer of information. This is important because working from home involves sending traffic through a public network.
  3. Do not peripherals or USB drives.

How to Provide Network Access to Email and Cloud Services

  1. Make sure that your upload, copy, and storage capabilities are limited. 59% of people are convinced that their accounts are more secure than the average person.
  2. Use the same security policy as on company devices. This will prevent the download of malware, firewalls, and more. Provide employees with the appropriate license.
  3. Use virtual machines. The employee will be able to restrict access to the network to which he is connected to the company’s network with them. Setting up such machines will take time and effort. However, as a result, you will get a long-term solution for business security.
  4. Two Factor Authentication (2FA) guarantees the provision of access exclusively to authorized users. Implemented using applications that generate a one-time code. Use them wherever possible.

Final Thoughts

Most importantly—take care of the psychological health of employees. Most attacks are triggered simply because an employee did not clearly pay attention to network security details or fell victim to attacks that prey on their emotion. Under quarantine, maintaining psychological health is very critical. Therefore, make a conscious effort to provide a supportive atmosphere.

Group video chats, communication, and games will help make the team more united. You can use a service like Google G Suite that helps teams stay connected and productive with Google Meet Video Conferencing, Chat, Email, and more. This will raise the morale of employees. Therefore, the work will be carried out not only more efficiently, but also safer and with more zest.