Protecting against cybersecurity threats in the age of remote work

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Nearly half of Americans (45%) said Wi-Fi is more important to their daily lives than transportation. As businesses continue to shore up remote and hybrid workspaces, cybersecurity practices are more vital than ever.

International and domestic hackers are creating new, sophisticated cyberattacks to outsmart security developers and providers. According to a study by Deloitte, the number of cyberattacks using previously unseen methods increased by 15% amid COVID-19.

Businesses must adapt to the ever-changing landscape of cyberattacks to prevent breaches and hacks. Here are four best practices for implementing a strong cybersecurity strategy.

Identify risks

The first step toward a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is identifying business risks. Home offices are less protected than centralized offices. Take inventory of the Internet of Things (loT), including network hubs, personal devices, wearables (like fitness trackers, sensors that monitor and transmit data for health care purposes, and even smart jewelry) and cloud storage. It is estimated by 2025, there will be 64 billon loT devices globally, and these all are entryways to cybercrime. Knowing what needs to be protected will help identify gaps in current cybersecurity plans.

To create a foundation of awareness, install threat-monitoring tools, firewalls and anti-virus solutions. Threat-monitoring tools block malicious threats like malware, ransomware and phishing. Firewalls create barriers between trusted and untrusted networks, preventing access to suspicious IP addresses. Antivirus tools can prevent, detect and remove malicious files.

Take a proactive approach

After identifying risks and creating a base strategy, it is essential to enact a proactive cybersecurity plan.

Businesses can stay on top of potential network threats by continually stress testing their networks. This can be as simple as spotting indicators of behaviors that could lead to a cyberattack, such as using an unknown network source or downloading data to an external device. Identifying these actions will allow employees and employers to stop them before they lead to a breach.

Deploy the right cybersecurity tools

Safeguarding networks is essential, especially since remote workers likely have fewer security measures at home. Network security solutions, like access controls and URL filtering, proactively protect employees’ devices and data.

IT teams can follow simple steps to protect employee devices. Updating software in a timely matter can help protect users from threats. Password management solutions are equally as important, as employees can create strong passwords and easily and safely store or access them. Multifactor authentication tools also add an extra layer of protection for employees retrieving potentially sensitive information.

Educate employees

The value of employee cybersecurity education cannot be overlooked. Well over half of the breaches that happen in the U.S. involve company insiders, according to a study by IBM. Employees must continuously be trained and educated on recognizing and reporting evolving cyberattack methods.

Preparing a detailed plan for employees to follow in case they fall victim to a cyberattack will help minimize immediate damage. A response plan should include tactics and timing for alerting employers, clear steps for recovery and considerations for handling an attack when remotely working.

Employee education can come from an outside trainer, online courses or internal reminders, but it is best to use a combination of these approaches. Standardized education campaigns and simulated cyberattacks are just a few ways to help keep employees aware.

Cybersecurity should be top of mind for any business, big or small. It is crucial to implement a strong plan that includes customized cybersecurity tools, multipoint employee education and proactive network monitoring. A strong technology partner can help you design and execute a cybersecurity plan that is tailored to your needs.

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