Five top tips to defend remote staff against cyber threats

HR ADVICE: The demand for remote work was one of the inevitable outcomes of Covid-19. It has now become a standard practice among many employers across the Southeast Asia region.

Although providing the much-needed flexibility, one of the downsides of remote working has been an increase in cyberattack incidents. Studies have shown that cybercrimes jumped by 300% at the onset of the pandemic. Further, the average cost of a global data breach reached USD 137,000.

Because of this, many companies are now opting for efficient cybersecurity measures and tools. To avoid security breaches as your employees work from anywhere, let’s look into these five major tips to protect them.

1. Conduct awareness campaigns about phishing scams

One in every four remotely-based employees falls for malicious links, according to research. Because of this, it is necessary to disseminate information about phishing emails and scams. It is a must to educate remote employees on common malicious emails and attacks, how they work, and what they can do to avoid them.

Hackers not only work using phishing emails and other online means. Employees must know that even phone calls could be fraudulent, and business details could be compromised. Therefore, conducting regular cybersecurity training to observe strict measures against cyber criminals should be a major part of protecting against online and even mobile threats.

2. Make multi-factor authentication a consistent habit

Employees must set up multi-factor authentication on all their devices, accounts, and networks so that hackers cannot penetrate the corporate system. These verify one’s identity easily using multiple channels.

Some systems require to enter a password and a code is sent to the employee’s private contact number. But others are even more sophisticated, using a a combination of a password and fingerprint or other biometric data.

3. Ensure staff don't use corporate hardware for personal tasks

Non-work activities, such as watching videos, playing games, reading personal emails, and searching the internet should be avoided. A vast majority of data hacks, including malware, are embedded in email links, fake websites, and ads.

4. Meticulously impose basic security measures

Advising, and where appropriate, demanding remote workers update software, set up firewalls, and use strong passwords will also help curb cyber attacks. A network administrator should orient staff about simple procedures and online habits.

5. Use a Virtual Private Network where appropriate

The best choice to encrypt the entire connection and protect against cyberattacks is a reliable virtual private network (VPN). These offer security features with military-grade 256-bit complete encryption where no cybercriminal can sneak in.

VPNs do split tunnelling for the VPN-enabled connection and the normal network to run simultaneously.

These tips could all be part of the regular cyber training that the HR officer should spearhead. In the long run, running these protective methods would be beneficial in terms of productivity and profitability for the company.

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