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How to Establish Work From Home Policies for Cybersecurity

by Marc Winger

For many businesses, work from home has moved from temporary to permanent. Business owners see the benefits of adopting a remote business model- lower overheads, increased team productivity, flexibility, less headache, etc. However, when businesses first started going remote many implemented temporary measures to allow their employees to work from home. These interim measures worked initially, but don’t have the legs to support a full organizational shift to remote.

When your employees work from an office space, their devices are protected by a company grade firewall and only subject to network activity related to work. At home, their devices are at the mercy of their home network’s security (or lack thereof) and activity.

In addition to expanding your security solution to cover WFH environments, you need to rework your employee’s privacy and security policies to be relevant to their new office spaces. We put together some steps to craft robust WFH security policies. If your considering going fully remote or you already have but are lacking the security necessary, give us a call.

Steps to Create a WFH Cybersecurity Policy

  1. Determine what sources your employees will use to get your business’s information

Depending on how you store your information you may want to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your employees or have your data accessible in the cloud. A VPN uses encryption to create a “tunnel” for any interactions between your employees and your employees and your secure corporate network, protecting the information from outsiders. Having all your information in the cloud allows your employees to safely access it wherever they are. Regardless of how your employees access your information having it stored securely and backed up regularly is important. If you want to learn more about managing a cloud-based storage solution, sign up for our next webinar here.

  1. Set periodic security tests

One of the most overlooked steps to securing your network is testing it. Work into your policy regularly scheduled network tests to identify any vulnerabilities and weaknesses. When you first transition to remote work, you will be blind to any weak spots, and you might not even know that you had a data breach.

  1. Provide mandatory employee training

Once you have done all the work to create protocols to keep your business secure, you need to make sure your employees understand how to follow them and the risks if they don’t. It’s vital to invest in employee training to ensure that everybody knows how to avoid hacking attacks and is not afraid to report security incidents. This training should be ongoing, with multiple reminders and refreshers throughout the year. If you need help organizing your employee training, Zephyr includes KnowBe4 security awareness training. Let us know if you would like to learn more about it.

  1. Define your role-based user permissions

Access controls are a proactive layer of security for your network. Forgetting who can access which platforms, data, and tools mean losing control of your security can be detrimental. Outline in your policy that accesses will be given to specific users based on their responsibilities and authority levels. By monitoring and strategically restricting access, you can further reduce the risk of human error exposing your information, and make sure to review these permissions regularly.

  1. Dictate which endpoints should be allowed to access company data

If you aren’t utilizing VPNs (or even if you are), you should outline which types of devices can access company information. If the device isn’t owned or outfitted by the company, you won’t control its level of protection. Although it can seem challenging to secure endpoints when employees are working remotely, it is possible. You can partner with a technology professional like us or leverage your internal IT team to place security and monitoring software on remote devices.