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9 Fundamental Cybersecurity Practices to Protect Your Remote Workforce


By Elea Andrea Almazora of RingCentral US

During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to shift toward remote working and telecommuting. To follow safety protocols and social distancing measures, businesses have rapidly adapted to the reality presented by these unprecedented times.

Due to the implementation of various telecommunication technologies, most businesses have been able to embrace this digital transformation. Devices and apps such as VoIP phones, collaboration software, project management programs, and order management software have helped companies avoid an absolute work stoppage - and the disastrous consequences that would have come with it.

It's important to note that the situation facing many companies right now does have some positives. In fact, there are many advantages to remote working. Lots of digital businesses have reported an increase in employee satisfaction and productivity, as well as a reduction in office maintenance costs.

However, we won't deny that this compulsory shift toward remote working has brought challenges. The foremost of these concerns cybersecurity. According to Statista, the worldwide cybersecurity market was valued at 137.63 billion US dollars in 2017.

Although that number seems large, it pales in comparison to the projected numbers for 2021 (202.97 billion) and 2023 (248.26 billion).


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Even though cybersecurity has long been a priority for digital companies and eCommerce platforms, some businesses have been forced to confront these problems for the first time.

If this is the case for you, don't despair. Here is a list of nine essential cybersecurity practices to protect your business during remote working.

1. Hire a cybersecurity expert

Let's start this discussion with the most obvious solution. Remote workers are more exposed to cyberattacks than ever before. Your staff now have to do most of their work online and your team is not ready for the risks that come with that change.

Though some digital companies are not suited to tackle cybersecurity challenges on their own, try not to worry: there's nothing wrong with acknowledging a lack of expertise in a specific skill set, especially something as nuanced and detail-oriented as cybersecurity.

A quick look online can overwhelm business owners, but t's important to remember that finding the best cybersecurity firms in the market takes time and patience. If you don't feel confident taking care of your cybersecurity, then there's no shame in resorting to a professional - it's what we'd recommend.

Many companies underestimate how difficult it is to protect a business in the digital era. Other times, business owners think they'll save a few dollars by ignoring the sensitive nature of cybersecurity altogether.

If you want to avoid these mistakes, follow our simple rule: spare no expense when it comes to cybersecurity, or your mistake could cost you millions.

2. Minimize your IoT risks

At this point, we're all aware of how mainstream IoT devices have become. This new form of connectivity has taken over most companies. Remote workers, like sales experts that use VoIP phones, for example, tend to fully embrace this.

A particularly exposed group is companies that follow BYOD (bring your own device) culture. Since your remote workers' devices are IoT connected to your network, this comes with certain inherent risks.

You can mitigate IoT issues by taking simple steps like network segmentation. Network segmentation is one of the biggest cybersecurity trends of 2021. Segmenting your network allows companies to isolate specific parts of their data.

In case of an unlucky leak or cyberattack, you are thus able to avoid having your entire network taken down. If your business employs IoT devices, you should consider looking into network segmentation.

3. Password protect documents

This tip is particularly important for B2B companies and digital businesses that operate in industries like telebanking or telehealth, where vulnerable cybersecurity measures can have disastrous consequences in the event of sensitive information being leaked.

If this is relevant to you, enforcing a secure document sharing policy should be at the top of your list of priorities. As a digital business, you should try to protect sensitive information when sharing documents with people outside your organization.

To do so, you can password protect documents so that only those who are allowed to can access them.


4. Implement end-to-end encryption

Data encryption is especially important for companies that have started to use team chat software during the pandemic. These apps have helped teams and businesses to carry on working in an organized manner during this shift toward remote employment.

However, not all communication apps are created equal, especially regarding cybersecurity measures. Some of the more popular options don't enforce end-to-end encryption. Slack's messages, for example, are not protected in this way.

End-to-end encryption is especially important for those operating in heavily regulated industries like financial services, healthcare, and government, who need to choose how they want to encrypt messages, files, and other information shared on their various platforms.

End-to-end encryption is an encryption technique that focuses on coding messages so that only the device/s to which they're sent can decrypt them. This is important to properly protect sensitive and/or confidential information.

Luckily, the market is full of options, and companies shouldn't struggle to find software or applications that suit them. For example, if you're looking for a superior option in terms of encryption, search online and take advantage of articles like Alternatives to Slack: 7 Affordable Tools for Small Businesses.

Other companies like Flock do use end-to-end encryption, and they implement security protocols like SOC 2 and TLS 1.2. However, Flock services tend to be pricey when it comes to cybersecurity.

Luckily, there are options for smaller companies with more modest budgets. If you want to invest in cybersecurity without draining your funds, you can always go for a more economical but similar solution to Flock.

5. Train your staff

Now we've gone over options like investing in cybersecurity measures and hiring experts, let's move on to another key approach. If you want to make sure your remote workers are doing their job safely, consider outfitting them with some basic understanding of cybersecurity.

Training employees for mobile security is especially important for companies that have decided to follow a BYOD (bring your own device) approach to remote working. If your employees are using their personal smartphones or laptops for work, then a possible cyberattack or virus infection on their devices could directly affect your company.

To avoid such disastrous scenarios, give them basic training regarding cybersecurity, delivered by either in-house or contracted professionals.

6. Scan emails

During the past year, the email inboxes of many companies have seen a massive increase in the mail sent due to the newly adopted remote work culture. As a result, email scanning has become one of the most popular cybersecurity tips to protect data.

According to a survey conducted by email security expert Tessian, 96% of phishing attacks arrive by email. That's not the most worrying statistic either: during those cyberattacks, 60% of organizations lose data, over half see their information compromised, and almost a fifth experience major financial losses.

For those that might not know, "phishing" is a form of online scam used by criminals who impersonate legitimate companies and contact online shoppers or other businesses via email, text message, or advertisement to steal sensitive information.


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7. Execute ICS measures

ICS stands for "industrial control systems". This safety protocol helps automation industry leaders strengthen their cybersecurity, especially for AI-based machinery and computer-controlled systems.

Now that most workforces are forced to stay at home, many businesses have had to employ automated production systems in their factories to carry on producing utilities. Thanks to these protocols, companies can control their product production, handling, and distribution.

According to Tom Kellermann's 2021 cybersecurity predictions, however, ICS attacks will soon be on the rise. This is especially relevant for companies that have embraced an RPA (robotic process automation) approach.

Automation can help companies boost productivity and reduce the costs associated with employing a human workforce. However, unlike people, automated systems can fall victim to cyberattacks. So, implement proper ICS measures to avoid this happening.

8. Follow PCI DSS religiously

This next tip is particularly important for eCommerce companies that operate remotely via online card payments. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. To be clear, these standards are not compulsory, which means there's no legal obligation for businesses to be PCI DSS compliant.

However, following this guide is recommended. The best way to do this is by implementing knowledge automation. Knowledge automation technologies combine machine learning with content analytics. This combination gives digital companies the ability to identify knowledge gaps and correct them with curated and updated content.

This could allow businesses like yours to update their payments via the appropriate card security protocols.

9. Update your antivirus software

Last but not least, let's tackle an obvious but often neglected aspect of cybersecurity in the digital era. With most of your staff stuck at home and using personal laptops and desktops, your remote workers are more exposed to malware than ever.

Even though it seems like the most obvious first step, according to a report conducted by SentinelOne Global Ransomware, over half of organizations blame legacy antivirus protection for failed ransomware prevention.

Additionally, that same report states that nearly seven out of 10 of these companies have replaced their legacy antivirus with next-gen endpoint protection to prevent any future ransomware infections.

Why not follow in their footsteps?

Apply these nine top tips today to protect your company and its new remote workforce.



Elea Andrea Almazora- RingCentral US

Elea Andrea Almazora 

Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and team collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.

Published Wednesday, April 07, 2021 8:05 AM by David Marshall
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