Legal and Compliance
November 2, 2023

How to Maintain Security When Employees Work Remotely

Maintaining a secure remote worker environment requires businesses to implement robust remote work security protocols to protect sensitive information. Developing a comprehensive remote working policy, establishing secure communications channels, training workers, and conducting regular security audits are some of the best security practices companies can use to prevent cyber security work from home risks.

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While a home office offers many work-life balance benefits, it exposes both the employees and businesses to a range of new cyber security and working from home risks.

That's due to many remote work applications and devices plugging into the company systems to access and share information.

Thus, businesses need to give serious thought to how to maintain security when employees work from home to protect their sensitive data and information from slipping into the wrong hands. That creates the need to develop robust cyber security work from home measures.

Remote Work IS On The Rise

Remote work has been on the rise since the pandemic and has become an essential part of modern business operations. According to StandOut CV, 16% of UK workers work full time from home, with 44% embracing a hybrid work week.

So, how do you maintain security when employees work from home? 

This article lays out common cyber security work-from-home risks, practical steps that businesses can take to provide a secure remote work environment, and how Playroll secures your sensitive data in an environment rife with cyber security work from home risks.

Common Cyber Security and Work From Home Security Risks

The first step to ensure robust remote work security is to understand what you're up to. common cyber security work from home security threats include:

  • Phishing attacks and social engineering
  • Insecure Wi-Fi and home networks
  • Malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, etc
  • Data leakage
  • Weak passwords
  • Unsecured devices
  • Unencrypted communications
  • Shadow IT, including unauthorized software or work tools
  • Insider threats
  • Video conferencing risks due to inadequate security configuration
  • Inadequate software and operating system updates
  • Unauthorized device access
  • Lack of security awareness
  • Over-sharing on social media
  • Vendor security risks
  • Cloud security risks

Once you’ve understood your remote work security risks, the next step is to conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. Then, implement security controls and secure communication channels to safeguard sensitive information and mitigate the identified risks.

laptop for cyber security and working from home

Implementing Robust Cyber Security Worker From Home Security Controls

Since remote workers use software applications and remote worker tools to interface with your company systems, focusing on application security is a powerful security control to guarantee information security.

So, how do you ensure application security for remote workers?

Below is a rundown of top cyber security work from home best practices for application security to ensure secure access to company systems and resources.

  • Use secure communication tools: To protect data in transit, employees should use secure communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, encrypted email services, and other secure messaging platforms for work-related discussions.
  • Data encryption: Encrypt sensitive data, both at rest and in transit to secure sensitive information even when accessed by cybercriminals.
  • Regular software updates: This cyber security work from home measure helps you ensure all software applications and operating systems are up to date and regularly apply security patches to fix vulnerabilities. If possible, let your employee devices have automatic updates.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA): Add an extra security layer by requiring remote workers to verify their identity through various methods before accessing company systems. For instance, by inputting a one-time code sent to their mobile devices or email after entering a password.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Encourage your employees to use strong, unique passwords for their Wi-Fi and home networks, avoid public Wi-Fi while working, and change their default router password.
  • Use a VPN: Your employees should use a VPN to ensure privacy. To implement this important cyber security work from home security measure, let them have your company VPN to ensure a secure connection when accessing the company network.
  • Avoiding phishing scams:  Educate your employees about phishing and social engineering scams. They should avoid clicking or opening suspicious links or attachments sent to their work emails.
  • Endpoint security: Well-updated antivirus and anti-malware software on remote devices can help protect against viruses, spyware, ransomware, etc
  • Secure file sharing: File sharing and collaboration tools should have controlled role-based access and permission management.
  • Regular security training: Regular training is a top cyber security work from home measure that helps keep remote workers in the loop with the latest cyber threats, phishing attempts, and remote work security best practices.
  • Develop a rapid incident response plan: In case of a hack or unwelcome security event, you should have protocols in place to respond to security incidents as quickly as possible.

Creating an Effective Remote Worker Security Policy

A secure remote working policy should be top of mind when thinking of how to maintain security when employees work from home.

That's because as an employer, you can only go so far in providing remote work security. Most of the cyber security work from home measures are still left to your employees.

Therefore, you need to provide a clear remote working policy that outlines the following:

  • Remote worker security expectations
  • Employees security responsibilities
  • Security guidelines for hybrid and full-time remote workers
  • Device management measures to secure remote devices

You can start with a 30-day remote work security plan that provides a step-by-step guide on how to enhance security within the first month.

Make sure your remote working policy addresses all the security protocols and is well communicated to all remote employees to ensure compliance.

Playroll's uncompromising data and platform security adheres to the most comprehensive data security standards to ensure the safety of your data and information.

Cyber Security and Working From Home Security Compliance and Audits

Cybercriminals never relent in their efforts to cause harm, so you shouldn't. Once you've ensured application security and put in a robust remote working policy, you need to conduct regular security audits and continuous assessments. That helps identify vulnerabilities and fix them to ensure that your cyber security work from home security controls are working.

That will help you to:

  • Identify gaps and vulnerabilities
  • Ensure your remote worker security measures align with industry standards and regulations, like GDPR.
  • Continuously train remote employees and ensure they maintain compliance
  • Carry out comprehensive security audits to track data access and usage to demonstrate compliance.

Manage Your Remote Team Securely With Payroll

With over half of UK employers offering remote work, full-time and hybrid remote workweek arrangements are only expected to continue rising.

That underscores the need for businesses to implement robust cyber security work from home measures to provide secure remote worker environments and protect their sensitive data.

While a home office offers many work-life balance benefits, it exposes both the employees and businesses to a range of new cyber security and working from home risks.

That's due to many remote work applications and devices plugging into the company systems to access and share information.

Thus, businesses need to give serious thought to how to maintain security when employees work from home to protect their sensitive data and information from slipping into the wrong hands. That creates the need to develop robust cyber security work from home measures.

Remote Work IS On The Rise

Remote work has been on the rise since the pandemic and has become an essential part of modern business operations. According to StandOut CV, 16% of UK workers work full time from home, with 44% embracing a hybrid work week.

So, how do you maintain security when employees work from home? 

This article lays out common cyber security work-from-home risks, practical steps that businesses can take to provide a secure remote work environment, and how Playroll secures your sensitive data in an environment rife with cyber security work from home risks.

Common Cyber Security and Work From Home Security Risks

The first step to ensure robust remote work security is to understand what you're up to. common cyber security work from home security threats include:

  • Phishing attacks and social engineering
  • Insecure Wi-Fi and home networks
  • Malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, etc
  • Data leakage
  • Weak passwords
  • Unsecured devices
  • Unencrypted communications
  • Shadow IT, including unauthorized software or work tools
  • Insider threats
  • Video conferencing risks due to inadequate security configuration
  • Inadequate software and operating system updates
  • Unauthorized device access
  • Lack of security awareness
  • Over-sharing on social media
  • Vendor security risks
  • Cloud security risks

Once you’ve understood your remote work security risks, the next step is to conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. Then, implement security controls and secure communication channels to safeguard sensitive information and mitigate the identified risks.

laptop for cyber security and working from home

Implementing Robust Cyber Security Worker From Home Security Controls

Since remote workers use software applications and remote worker tools to interface with your company systems, focusing on application security is a powerful security control to guarantee information security.

So, how do you ensure application security for remote workers?

Below is a rundown of top cyber security work from home best practices for application security to ensure secure access to company systems and resources.

  • Use secure communication tools: To protect data in transit, employees should use secure communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, encrypted email services, and other secure messaging platforms for work-related discussions.
  • Data encryption: Encrypt sensitive data, both at rest and in transit to secure sensitive information even when accessed by cybercriminals.
  • Regular software updates: This cyber security work from home measure helps you ensure all software applications and operating systems are up to date and regularly apply security patches to fix vulnerabilities. If possible, let your employee devices have automatic updates.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA): Add an extra security layer by requiring remote workers to verify their identity through various methods before accessing company systems. For instance, by inputting a one-time code sent to their mobile devices or email after entering a password.
  • Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Encourage your employees to use strong, unique passwords for their Wi-Fi and home networks, avoid public Wi-Fi while working, and change their default router password.
  • Use a VPN: Your employees should use a VPN to ensure privacy. To implement this important cyber security work from home security measure, let them have your company VPN to ensure a secure connection when accessing the company network.
  • Avoiding phishing scams:  Educate your employees about phishing and social engineering scams. They should avoid clicking or opening suspicious links or attachments sent to their work emails.
  • Endpoint security: Well-updated antivirus and anti-malware software on remote devices can help protect against viruses, spyware, ransomware, etc
  • Secure file sharing: File sharing and collaboration tools should have controlled role-based access and permission management.
  • Regular security training: Regular training is a top cyber security work from home measure that helps keep remote workers in the loop with the latest cyber threats, phishing attempts, and remote work security best practices.
  • Develop a rapid incident response plan: In case of a hack or unwelcome security event, you should have protocols in place to respond to security incidents as quickly as possible.

Creating an Effective Remote Worker Security Policy

A secure remote working policy should be top of mind when thinking of how to maintain security when employees work from home.

That's because as an employer, you can only go so far in providing remote work security. Most of the cyber security work from home measures are still left to your employees.

Therefore, you need to provide a clear remote working policy that outlines the following:

  • Remote worker security expectations
  • Employees security responsibilities
  • Security guidelines for hybrid and full-time remote workers
  • Device management measures to secure remote devices

You can start with a 30-day remote work security plan that provides a step-by-step guide on how to enhance security within the first month.

Make sure your remote working policy addresses all the security protocols and is well communicated to all remote employees to ensure compliance.

Playroll's uncompromising data and platform security adheres to the most comprehensive data security standards to ensure the safety of your data and information.

Cyber Security and Working From Home Security Compliance and Audits

Cybercriminals never relent in their efforts to cause harm, so you shouldn't. Once you've ensured application security and put in a robust remote working policy, you need to conduct regular security audits and continuous assessments. That helps identify vulnerabilities and fix them to ensure that your cyber security work from home security controls are working.

That will help you to:

  • Identify gaps and vulnerabilities
  • Ensure your remote worker security measures align with industry standards and regulations, like GDPR.
  • Continuously train remote employees and ensure they maintain compliance
  • Carry out comprehensive security audits to track data access and usage to demonstrate compliance.

Manage Your Remote Team Securely With Payroll

With over half of UK employers offering remote work, full-time and hybrid remote workweek arrangements are only expected to continue rising.

That underscores the need for businesses to implement robust cyber security work from home measures to provide secure remote worker environments and protect their sensitive data.

Scale the way you work, with Playroll.

Let's grow your distributed workforce, today.