Working remotely has become a new norm for many businesses globally, and while this flexible work arrangement can bring about numerous benefits, it also poses significant cybersecurity risks. With cyber-attacks on the rise, companies must prioritize protecting their data and systems from these threats.

Many organizations are re-configuring their networks and systems to meet the needs of fully remote workforces, but the success of these transformations can be stifled by inadequate technology. Cyber fraudsters are actively seeking weaknesses in your newly implemented or temporary IT infrastructure. By following the checklist given in this blog post, you can help keep your company safe from cyber threats - even when your employees are working remotely.

Cyber security checklists for remote employees -

Risk and Governance

  • Employers should update and communicate acceptable use policies and address the use of home computing devices.
  • Develop ways to perform functions that require secure IT environments.
  • Develop resilience strategies to handle disruptions caused by COVID-19 that could affect your business - cloud providers, network infrastructure providers, etc.
  • Current operational needs should be addressed by updating and refreshing cyber incident response and disaster recovery plans.
  • Communicate cyber security awareness messages regularly to employees to reinforce security practices.

IT Infrastructure

  • The number of remote users is increasing. So, you need to provide secure access solutions with sufficient capacity.
  • Protect endpoints with security.
  • Make sure remote workers are updated with the latest software.
  • Examine geo-blocking rules that could prevent remote access.
  • Expand IT help desk hours and capacity to handle remote worker services' 'round the clock'.

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Cyber Operations

  • Monitor cybersecurity alerts and audit logs of critical systems, such as VPNs, firewalls, endpoint security tools, and critical business applications, for suspicious/malicious activity and respond accordingly.
  • Ensure employees are assigned appropriate privileges in VPN profiles and firewall rules by reviewing/updating VPN profiles.
  • Ensure that remote VPN and other accounts associated with critical business applications require approval from data/system owners.
  • To prevent remote employees from directly accessing corporate information systems via VPNs, disable split tunneling for VPN profiles.
  • Employees can report suspicious emails via a shared channel - for example, #phishing-attacks.
Cyber Security Tips for Operations Related to Your Employees
  1. General tips
  • Remind employees of the significance and value of maintaining data confidentiality at all times.
  • Employees should be reminded frequently not to share their work devices with family or friends at any time.
  • Warn employees that they are subject to scrutiny by the company in accordance with their employment terms and conditions. They should be made aware that the cybersecurity protocols operational at the office are now in place at their home office as well.
  • Set up a VPN for all employees as a remote working solution.
  • Turn off email forwarding. If enabled, keep a close eye on it.
  • Take appropriate steps to ensure that updates and fixes are applied to systems and applications without delay.
  • Provide online cybersecurity awareness training to remote workers, on topics such as identifying and avoiding elevated phishing threats, the use of in-home digital assistants that may continuously record conversations, and storing sensitive information in the cloud or in a data centre.

2. Tips related to Company policies and illegal activities

  • Remind employees on a regular basis of company usage policies and other pertinent policies.
  • Remind employees that viewing websites with explicit material is against the law.
  • Employees must be aware that even when tweeting or using other social media platforms for personal purposes, they must adhere to the company's social media policy.
  • Request that employees only use certified USB flash drives and cloud services.
  • Assure employees that they will be supported if an inadvertent mistake is made. This will ensure employees report if there is a problem or if they make a mistake.

3. Tips related to passwords

  • Employees should be reminded not to reveal passwords by SMS or email.
  • Encourage employees to use complex passwords. Passwords containing first name, last name, date of birth, and so on should be automatically rejected by the software.
  • Employees should remember their passwords because the employer will not call or email them to reset them.
  • Make two-factor authentication compulsory for logins.

4. Tips related to mobile devices

  • If your organization utilizes mobile devices for storing company data, put in place suitable security procedures.
  • Make sure that employees who use personal devices for work are always aware of phishing and malware threats.
  • Remind employees, regardless of device, not to download anything from untrusted sources.

5. Tips related to online meetings and calls

  • Remind employees to turn off smart devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo while sharing sensitive information during an online conference.
  • Encourage employees to turn off their microphones while they are not speaking during a meeting.
  • Encourage staff to share contact information and check in on each other every morning to ensure that no one is experiencing problems that they have not disclosed.
  • Make it a routine for employees to block cameras, both physically and through the program.

6. Tips related to phishing emails and scams

  • Remind employees not to open any Covid-related pop-ups on their work devices. There have been numerous incidents of attackers utilizing such pop-ups to hide their malware.
  • Encourage employees to quickly report malware and ransomware if they discover it on a work device.
  • Increase employee knowledge of various types of social engineering attacks.
  • Remind employees to double-check their email addresses to ensure they are only receiving emails from their company's domain or another trusted source from whom they have previously received legitimate communications.

7. Tips related to cyber attacks and incident response

  • Streamline procedures for reporting any type of occurrence.
  • Assure employees that a new system is being implemented and that problems may arise. They can, however, be fixed as soon as problems are reported.
  • Ask them to Keep printed checklists at home in a spot where others cannot access them.
  • If the organization does not have an incident response policy, resources should be allocated quickly to develop, test, and execute one.

8. Tips related to client privacy

  • Employees should be reminded to respect client privacy because the client or their representative is also working from home.
  • Remind employees not to print clients' sensitive information while working from home.

Companies cannot ignore cyber challenges associated with a mostly or entirely remote workforce. The recommendations provided above can help companies navigate through these challenging times in a more secure and efficient manner by addressing risk and governance, IT infrastructure, operations, and employee education. With the right cyber security checklist in place and a cyber insurance policy, you can run your business with confidence. Don't wait until it's too late; invest in a secure remote working environment now. Get the best cybersecurity insurance quotes at BimaKavach.