5 cybersecurity best practices for SMBs with remote employees

No.1: Enforce basic cybersecurity hygiene

An organization's cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link, and all it takes is one employee - even a well-intentioned one - to cause that chain to break. Enforce cybersecurity best practices such as using strong passwords, not sharing passwords across multiple accounts, implementing two-factor authentication (often free) and accessing sensitive files only from trusted devices and VPNs. Also, some simple and inexpensive employee cybersecurity awareness training can ensure employees are familiar with the most common and current attack schemes and educated on how to handle a situation if they think a cybersecurity incident has occurred.

Remote work could be the future of work.

Currently, 3.9 million Americans work remotely, which marks a 115% increase from 2005. Estimates indicate that more than one-third of employees will work remotely in the next 10 years. Desire for greater flexibility and work/life balance is partially responsible for this trend, in addition to an ever-increasing number of businesses that are based entirely online. With cloud and mobile technologies making it easier than ever before to communicate and collaborate regardless of location, organizations are embracing remote work as a way to cut costs and satisfy employee demand.

Online security concerns grow

Despite the productivity and cost-saving benefits of remote work, the concept introduces serious cybersecurity risks that have the potential to devastate entire businesses. For example, if an employee logs on to their email via a coffee shop's public wifi, that individual runs the risk of sending their work emails, customer information and other business data directly to hackers rather than to the wifi connection point. Furthermore, thanks to a massive flaw discovered in WPA2 (the encryption standard that secures all modern wifi networks) last year, the employee's encrypted information could be easily accessed by anyone near the coffee shop if their device hasn't been updated with the relevant security patch.

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