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The Ultimate Cybersecurity Toolkit For Remote Employees

2021 has been a challenging year for business owners and cybersecurity specialists. Cybercrime spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic and has continued growing in recent years. The rapid shift from physical to online markets opened new vulnerabilities. Businesses had to adapt. Moreover, the shift to remote work withdrew workers from secured corporate networks. Most businesses have secure networks at the office. But employee home routers are for casual internet use and aren’t so cybersecurity-focused. Cybercriminals, who most often choose the least protected targets, took notice. Hackers usually exploit three critical vulnerabilities:

  • Unsecured networks; 
  • Unsecured personal devices; 
  • Third-party contractors.

The first two relate to your employees. Meanwhile, third parties should guarantee safety when offering their services. For example, Zoom became one of the most popular communication platforms during the pandemic. Within months, it was hacked, putting users and entire businesses at risk.

You can’t control third-party contractors, but you can improve your employees’ cybersecurity. Below, you will find a list of essential cybersecurity tools and measures for employees. When picking software services, it’s best to rely on reputable companies. Also, shuffle through user reviews. Always remember your requirements and pick accordingly.

cybersecurity

Password Management

Passwords are an essential part of internet security. Unfortunately, many internet users don’t practice safe password management, according to NordPass’ most common passwords list. They choose “qwerty,” “12345”, and “password” to protect their accounts. Hackers can deploy credential-stuffing attacks to target various sites, and they can use the most popular passwords to gain access. Usually, they target online subscription services, such as Netflix or Spotify. However, the outcomes can be frightening if employees use these weak passwords for work emails. In fact, lousy password management caused the most severe cyber attack in 2021.

Instruct workers to use long, complex, unique passwords for work-related accounts. They must include numbers, symbols, and lower and upper case letters. Consider investing in a business-wide password manager. It’s an easy-to-use software that stores dozens of passwords in a secured vault.

Employees should also use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. If they’re about to access confidential business data, make them verify their identity via email or smartphone app. This strengthens network access security. Even if cybercriminals manage to intrude on your corporate network, they will not be able to verify themselves as your employee.

Home Network Security

Nowadays, most companies have employees working from home. It’s essential to ensure they use robust network security software before they connect to the company’s network.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the most popular software tools for safe remote access. The global demand for VPNs surged during the pandemic and still continues to grow. VPNs encrypt all traffic coming to or from a device. The data remains encrypted until it reaches the target destination. All information flows through a secured tunnel impenetrable from the outside. It’s the number one go-to software for data-in-transit security.

Antiviruses are there to secure data at rest. A VPN will not help if your employee clicks on a phishing link and downloads a virus. But antivirus software will. Look for three things in antivirus software: it should have file protection, network inspection, and application safety. A well-developed antivirus will scan files on the device, identifying potential threats. It will inspect network traffic and isolate malicious elements. It will also shut down hostile applications if they get through the first lines of defense. 

Employee Cybersecurity Training

It may surprise some because this is not related to particular software. However, regarding cybersecurity, knowledge is the first line of defense. Phishing is one of the most popular cybercrime methods. And it’s effective. 22% of employees will likely expose corporate data in a phishing attempt.

Phishing relies on human error. Hackers impersonate trusted third parties, such as a company’s security or HR department. They may ask to update passwords or send a link to an online event. Without security training, a lot of employees will click on the phishing link, which can result in a horrible data breach.

That’s why cybersecurity training for employees is a must for any modern business. They will learn valuable skills to help them identify phishing. Training should also cover password management, public Wi-Fi security, data protection, and more. Many cybersecurity professionals offer training programs. Look for the one closest to your location.

Bottom Line on Cybersecurity

Remote employees are more likely to get hacked than in-office workers. Luckily, there are several things you can do to make the remote work environment as secure as possible. Follow the tips above and provide your employees with a robust security toolset to ensure your business remains safe.