As we begin 2021, the working from home environment is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Businesses and their employees who have become accustomed to this lifestyle, may not have previously thought about what was lost in the transition from the office to the home. With the increased flexibility of working from wherever you’re located, it’s common for people to be at an increased risk of a data breach.
A data breach can be detrimental for your business in several ways. Company data contains confidential information that if leaked can result in client lawsuits, harm to employees, and in some extreme cases result in the end of your business itself. It’s essential for every business to incorporate effective practices to keep employee’s data stays safe wherever they may be working from.
James Kudla, President of Tarrytech Computer Consultants
Below you’ll find recommended tips on how to improve the safety of your company’s data in the new year.
- Establish a policy! Most businesses have no defined procedures or protocols outlining the “approved” way to work from home. When you don’t have this, connections and remote access are setup with tribal knowledge, or best effort. This can unknowingly introduce threat vectors for bad actors and hackers to compromise your network.
- Use two-factor authentication everywhere possible. Two-factor authentication grants access to your critical data and systems based on two things – your username/password, and a secure code that is randomly generated when you need it. Implementing this service will significantly decrease your cybersecurity risk.
- Use stronger passwords. Many people still use poor passwords like “12345” and “password.” Simple passwords are free passes for hackers and those trying to access your date. Once they have a username (which is often just a person’s actual name in a business setting), they can guess the password, and then walk right into your network. It is recommended to create a policy that requires employees to use strong passwords and to change them on rotating basis, such as every three or six months.
- Know where you are storing your data. Your company must have a well-defined system outlining where your employees should store important company and client information. If this is not outlined, your company will experience “data sprawl”, which means data will be stored on laptops, desktops, home PCs, Dropbox, and other online file storage locations. If someone leaves the company, you have no control over this data. In addition, if your critical data is unknowingly stored in a location that is not backed up, it can be lost in the event of a crash.
- Always report potential issues. If an employee opens a strange file or makes a mistake in sharing data, they might not say anything which puts your business at huge risk. If the file was malware or the contact that received the data is unknown, it could affect your entire network. Employees must be directed to communicate potential security threats or data breaches immediately and the lines of communication should be open and safe. When your team is willing to ask questions and verify, they protect your business.
It’s important to keep the above tips in mind as your staff continues to work from home. It’s essential that you keep your business data safe and take the time to communicate and educate your employees on these cyber safety tips, especially in the New Year.
Written by James Kudla, President of Tarrytech Computer Consultants, a premier technology partner located in Elmsford, NY that services businesses throughout the NY Metro region. For more information, please visit: www.tarrytech.com.