Devin Partida writes about cyber security and technology. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way that people work. Instead of the typical commute, countless employees simply now walk to their home office. This change shows that working from home is efficient for employees and businesses alike. However, with this distance from the main office, file security becomes a major concern.
With our reliance on technology to connect during the pandemic, scams and breaches have grown exponentially. Something as simple as a phishing scam could put private files at risk and a breach could expose vast quantities of consumer or business data. Ransomware attacks often involve the theft of countless files.
It’s essential that your business tackles file security. Work-from-home is here to stay for the duration of the pandemic and will likely be with us afterward as well. To protect employees and business interests alike, you can follow these steps.
1. Choose secure platforms
The first step for securing files while working remotely is choosing the right platform. There are plenty of services available online that upload and share files from any location. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox are all viable options.
You’ll want to compare each service you come across in terms of storage and security. The platform you choose should work well for businesses and should work to constantly improve its services with security notifications, encryption, and recommendations.
Avoid sharing files through email. This dynamic is too risky, even with email security. Instead, file-sharing platforms are a one-time invitation on a platform that’s made to handle their privacy.
2. Add protection
Public Wi-Fi networks open opportunities for cyber criminals to breach employee devices. Regular Wi-Fi at home, too, isn’t always the most secure. The solution is to add layers of protection on top of what the file-sharing service offers.
One of the most common resources is a virtual private network (VPN). This device or software puts each employee on their own secure network. All you need to do is install the VPN and run it during work hours.
Security software is also essential. From firewalls to to safety notification systems, these platforms add layers of encryption and protection to each employee’s computer. They are now essential for remote work.
3. Tighten protocols
Too much file access or disorganization are common errors that lead to security threats. You should zero in on access. Only allow employees who need the information to have the link. Once too many people have access, that information is then on all their devices, expanding the probability of a breach.
Additionally, it’s best to organize the files. With a naming convention and folders for each topic, everyone will find what they’re looking for instantly and not risk sending the wrong information to someone.
4. Use resources
At times, you may need professional help. Whether a breach occurs or you simply need to update your systems, having an IT team is ideal. They’ll maintain constant security for the business. Since cyber security is a growing profession, it’s critical to work with that pool of talent to secure files. Conferring with professionals can help organizations achieve the best level of protection.
5. Train employees
Last, but certainly not least, all employees should receive continual training. Since phishing scams are on the rise, it’s critical that employees recognize and address them immediately.
Employees should keep an eye out for suspicious emails or messages. If something looks off, then it probably is. It’s best that employees verify information about private files and data with one another through secure messaging. Don’t give away data through emails.
These scams and breaches change with the times. Everyone in the business must help keep each other up-to-date.
A more secure virtual office
With these steps and actions in place, you will create a secure office, no matter the distance involved. Working from home will be an efficient and permanent solution for some businesses. In the meantime, taking the time to secure files will help keep every aspect of your business safe.