22nd June 2018
More and more companies are choosing to offer flexible working options to their staff, which is a great step forward for employers and their workforce alike.
Working from home or having the ability to work remotely if staff have other commitments such as childcare or appointments that can’t be scheduled outside of the working day helps staff to juggle their home lives while remaining fully committed to their job.
Encouraging a healthy work-life balance is a crucial characteristic for any company to have and allowing staff the flexibility to work in a convenient location is definitely up there with the tops ways an employer can gain loyalty from the people on their payroll.
Boosting Security at Home
However beneficial allowing your staff to work from home is though, ensuring that your data is protected needs to be considered before implementing a flexible working policy.
Although high profile data breaches make the headlines, worryingly, it’s smaller businesses who are more at risk from attacks by cyber criminals and hackers. You might not think your company facts and figures are of much interest to a bedroom hacker – but the ransom you’ll pay to get it back might well be.
Ransomware and malware are designed to wreak havoc on your systems – and your reputation. Financial and legal problems are a very real knock-on effect of a data breach too.
Hackers are relentless and are always on the lookout for poorly defended networks to target, so it’s equally as important that staff take responsible steps to protect themselves against cyber criminals when they are working away from the office.
Whether issues stem through staff working on a shared, unsecured network or are due to the loss of a smartphone, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your business and ensure that your workplace security procedures are reflected outside of the office, too.
If your keen to get stuck into work away from the office, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best ways to make sure that you are fully protected.
Protect devices used by staff – This is the obvious first step. Malware is usually distributed through links and attachments on compromised web pages and via email. Banning employees from using their personal inbox and browsing non-work-related sites is nigh on impossible to enforce; therefore, making sure that all devices have security software installed – and that includes phones – is vital.
Keep software up to date – Make sure that any software used is updated as soon as a new version is released and that security patches are kept up to date.
Plan for the worst – Consider installing remote-wipe apps and/or whole-disk encryption software so if an employee loses their phone or laptop, an unauthorised party can’t access any of its data.
Check for strong passwords – Check in with your staff to see how secure their passwords are. They should be strong and unique – you’ll be surprised how many people use some variation of 123456 or Password123! Crucially, they shouldn’t be using the same password for each log in. A password management tool can help create one-off and impossible-to-guess passwords and will securely store them too. Consider also implementing password requirements to help your staff come up with their own, strong and hard to crack passwords – for example, must be at least 10 characters with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.
Make use of the Cloud – Using the Cloud is a good practice to get into. Employees can access and share everything from email and calendars to office applications and documents. This eliminates the issues caused by losing physical documents and paperwork while working remotely or on the go. Plus, Cloud service providers are far better equipped to defend stored data than the average SME’s IT guy!
Make staff aware – Possibly the most crucial part to play in the security of your data is how well your employees understand the importance. You need to impress upon your staff the need for security and why. HR departments would also be well advised to create a checklist for staff to adhere to before implementing a training session for all employees. Consider making this part of your onboarding for future employees, too.
Other safety measures can include:
Locking PCs and laptops when they aren’t in use.
- Limit the use of public WiFi.
- Avoid using public computers.
- Hide passwords and PINs.
- Encrypts emails.
- Check USB sticks for malware.
NB: It’s worth mentioning that there are other risks to security when working from home, specifically pets and children. While it wouldn’t be deliberate, an inquisitive child or a cat who likes to sprawl across the keyboard in a bid for your affection could result in who knows what. Precautions should be taken to keep devices out of reach when working remotely.
Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.