How Staff Can Protect Their Data and Company Information Whilst Working From Home

Employee working at home with secure data

As more employees are working from home, the protection of company data is more important than ever.

Make Data Security a Priority 

Let it be clear amongst your staff that cybersecurity is of paramount importance by establishing a cybersecurity policy. Often employees may be more lapse about data security when working from the comfort of their home, but they should be making it a priority, both on a personal and professional level.

This is true whether they are working directly with customer data or even if they are merely accessing more general company information or company systems. By establishing a cybersecurity policy, you are leading by example about taking data protection seriously.

As part of this policy, you should roll out a company-wide policy for all employees to read and sign, especially if they are working remotely. You should also ensure that staff are aware of various security protocols and that they are complying with all of them. This may mean providing specific training and resources.

Strong Passwords

Regardless of the device, and where it is being used, it should always be protected by a strong password. Experts refer to strong passwords as those with a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols: around 10 lower and uppercase letters mixed with numbers and sales. Employees should have different passwords for different accounts. Any files holding more sensitive data should be accessed with a password as well as two-factor authentication.

There are also password web apps and one-time passwords which can be used to keep passwords fresh, random and safe from being copied.

Software Updates

Make sure to regularly update the company’s security software including firewalls and antivirus software. Firewalls act as a barrier from unauthorised access and thus offers more comprehensive cover against hackers and other cyber threats. Antivirus software protects employee devices from malware by pre-emptively detecting it and preventing it from downloading.

For employees working from home, you should ensure that they are properly equipped with the correct software and send regular reminders to update their systems. Company wide, all staff should be using the most updated software.

Encrypted Data

If working from home, all employee hard drives should be encrypted. This assures that data and information is converted into code and made inaccessible by unauthorised parties. Although hackers may still access the information, it will make any sensitive information appear as ciphertext, random elements of code which do not convey any important information.

Both devices and specific documents can and should be encrypted in order to protect sensitive data. Additionally, when communication between employees, you should operate using platforms with end-to-end encryption.

Secure Internet Connections 

With a remote customer service team, you have less control over where company documents are being accessed and with what networks, potentially exposing sensitive information. The easiest way to assure privacy on a wider-scale is by requiring employees to use a VPN (virtual private network). By using a VPN, they are encrypting their internet usage and allows them to browse the internet more safely and anonymously.

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