4 Smart Ways to Work Securely in the “New Normal”
The pandemic has created a “new normal” for the way companies operate in the UK, and around the world.
No longer is “remote working” a novel concept to some businesses, and video conferencing has become as comfortably common as walking over to the water cooler to catch up on the latest company news.
The entire concept of what a company means has been expanded into the virtual realm, and the connecting thread has been the need to operate as many business processes as possible from any location.
This transformation has also caused a need to rethink cybersecurity. With business IT infrastructure and networks now including employees that work from home, safeguards for remote and cloud environments is a must.
Companies also need to think about things like shadow IT, which is when employees start using cloud software that is not approved first.
Over a third of surveyed companies (36%) have experienced a cybersecurity incident from an employee working from home remotely.
Following, are several ways you can bolster your IT security to keep your business safe in the “new normal” environment.
Safeguards to Keep Your Remote Network Secure
Long gone are the days when a network was kept all on-premises, with computers connecting to onsite servers only. Now networks are literal virtual “webs” of activity, including:
- Connections to cloud solutions
- Remote workers connecting from home to on-premises devices
- Mobile workers connecting from unknown Wi-Fis to access cloud accounts
Here are several smart strategies to keep your network safe in this new environment.
Put a Business VPN in Place
Home networks and free Wi-Fis that employees may use when mobile can all put your company data at risk.
One way to ensure all connections are encrypted is to use a business virtual private network (VPN) service. This puts a layer of security between all employees and their internet connection and keeps data from being intercepted by a hacker that may be on the same network.
VPNs can be used with all devices, including mobile, making it something that can be used across your endpoints and won’t get in the way of your team’s productivity.
Secure Your Cloud Apps
Full cloud adoption was already nearing completion before the pandemic happened, but the need to operate fully remotely pushed cloud to the top of most company priority lists.
57% of surveyed companies say their cloud use has increased more than planned due to the pandemic.
Cloud apps are now a prime target for hackers because they go where the data is. This means that companies need to secure their SaaS applications.
One of the best ways to do this uniformly is through a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), like Microsoft Cloud App Security. A CASB allows you to monitor cloud use across various applications and force standard company security policies for data security.
Use Remote Managed IT Services
A danger with remote workers is that the devices they’re using at their homes aren’t properly updated or secured. If you don’t include these devices in a managed IT services plan, you’re “flying blind” when it comes to remote IT security.
Something as simple as a missed security patch update can lead to a data breach. Once a hacker gets into one device, they can often jump through a network to other devices or applications that device connects to online.
By using remote managed IT services, employee devices can have updates, security, and maintenance managed remotely. This fortifies your security network and has the additional benefit of giving your remote team the tech support they need so they don’t feel left out on an island with no help.
Put a Shadow IT Policy in Place
If an employee starts using a cloud application for something like task management or word processing without approval, it can leave a big hidden vulnerability in your cybersecurity infrastructure.
Shadow IT has only gotten worse during the pandemic because:
- Employees may not have all the tools they need, so they find apps themselves
- Companies don’t have a shadow IT policy in place
- There’s confusion about how and when cloud apps can be used
It’s important to put a lid on shadow IT by putting a policy in place and informing employees. Your policy should include an approved list of applications that can be used and what an employee should do if they want to use an app that’s not on the list (e.g. an app approval process).
A CASB can also help in this area by identifying uses of shadow IT and evaluating cloud app risk level.
Is Your Cybersecurity Strategy Ready for the “New Normal?”
Ensure you’re not left with hidden vulnerabilities in this new remote working, cloud dependent business environment. Enable Technology and do a full cybersecurity audit and let you know any additional safeguards that are recommended.