Keeping Your Customer Data Secure When Working Remotely
The number of remote workers is higher than ever before. This is a superb arrangement since it allows employees to work from the comfort of their homes, or when traveling. Likewise, working remotely facilitates a work/life balance. Nonetheless, this comes at a considerable cost.
The safety of customer data is an issue of concern when working remotely. Generally, it’s easier to secure the organization’s data and servers, as well as customer data, when everyone is working from the same building. However, when employees are scattered everywhere, the likelihood of security breaches is even higher.
Since security breaches can have a disastrous effect on your company’s operations and reputation, it’s crucial to be vigilant so that your remote team doesn’t create loopholes that allow hackers to strike. Here’s how you can secure customer data when working remotely.
Educate Your Employees
Often, security breaches result from negligence on the part of your employees. To secure customer data, you should start by educating your remote team. This way, they will learn about the necessary security measures that they should take to protect data in their possession. Employee awareness sessions should entail how they can identify suspicious links and emails, how to set up impenetrable passwords, the dangers of using public Wi-Fi, and so on.
Secure Your Internet Connections
Using unsecured Wi-Fi networks exposes your network to data security breaches. Remote employees may want to get out of their houses once in a while to work from coffee shops, libraries, and other public places. This helps them break the monotony of working from their homes every day. Nonetheless, they should be wary about using Internet connections in such places.
Some connections might be unsecured, thus putting your data at risk. Encourage remote workers to use VPNs before they use public Wi-Fi networks. This will encrypt their Internet traffic besides enabling them to identify signs of infection. Furthermore, ensure that the VPN that you use covers the entire system rather than merely providing last-mile encryption.
Limit Remote Workers’ Access
When employees work on-site, it’s easy to track their activities. This isn’t the case when they work remotely, thus the need to restrict access to your network. In as much as you should trust your employees’ ability to secure customer data, you can’t trust the people that they interact with when working from their homes and other far-flung places.
By restricting the access of remote workers, they will only gain entry to files that are important to the accomplishment of their duties. You can also ensure additional protection by designing a different folder where your remote team can find relevant data and upload their files.
Creating strong passwords may look obvious, but many people still disregard it. A secure and robust password can go a long way in keeping customer data safe when working remotely. A password generator can help you create a foolproof password that cannot get compromised by hackers. Likewise, instruct your remote workers to use different passwords when signing up on various platforms. These passwords ought to be changed regularly.
A password manager can also come in handy since it stores your encrypted passwords online. When you use a password manager, remote workers will be granted access to whatever accounts they want, but they won’t know about the passwords to those accounts. Instead, the passwords will be stored securely in a vault.
Besides creating strong passwords, consider enabling two-step verification. This will add a layer of security that thwarts phishing attacks, password leaks, and data breaches. Two-step verification keeps out cyber criminals even if they manage to hack your password.
Firewalls and Antivirus Software
You shouldn’t forget about antivirus software, anti-malware, and firewalls as you work to secure customer data. Remote workers need to have up-to-date antivirus software, anti-malware, and firewalls on their devices, including tablets and mobile phones. You should also consider the ability of remotely wiping devices in case they get stolen or lost. There are lots of mobile device management platforms that offer these services.
Remote workers need constant assistance from you to ensure that customer data is safe. However, they might not have the technical expertise or resources to do so. Therefore, you should always be ready to offer them technical support. This could mean partnering with local tech support services providers near your remote workers or establishing an in-house tech support team.
Working remotely comes with a fair share of data security risks. Nonetheless, remote work doesn’t necessarily have to jeopardize your company’s data security. There’s so much that you can do to keep data safe. You should settle on the right mix of security measures that help you manage remote staff. Indeed, no remote worker wants to be responsible for a data breach. Improving your data security starts with enlightening your remote workers on what they can do to prevent breaches.