As one of the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, remote work becomes more common than it has ever been. Many organizations have to adapt to the new situation.
For many employees, remote work may mean a relaxed working environment. From a business perspective, it is vital to keep remote working processes stable and efficient. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best practices of organizing remote work in a secure and productive way.
Communication Must Go On
Communication is the backbone of any organization. Email is good, but writing takes time, and something has to replace office-style communication. That’s why choosing the right software for video/audio communication is important. Google Meet, Skype for business, Slack, or any other reliable communication software are somethings you can start with unless you’ve already chosen the right tool for your team.
Ensure your communication channels are stable. Constant lags or problems with sound do not only give you a negative experience but also reduce the productivity of your work. Your communication―both internal and external―should be perfect, and the right tools are essential for remote teams.
Use Secure Apps
G Suite and Office 365 are common cloud computing solutions used to improve productivity in a business environment. Using SaaS apps (CRMs, time management tools, analytics, etc.) to complement your cloud infrastructure is common. But are all of the apps secure? Unfortunately, no.
Some apps are risky. They have security gaps and potential vulnerabilities that can lead to data loss. Also, there are dangerous apps that are specifically created by hackers for the purpose of stealing corporate data. Such apps are called “fake apps.”
But how to tell a secure app from a risky one? It’s hardly possible to do it manually with 100% accuracy. However, there are some potential red flags that you should be aware of.
First of all, if an app has too many negative reviews, it may be a sign of bugs or security gaps. Secondly, pay attention to the number of permissions asked. If it seems unreasonably big, then an app has a chance to be designed by hackers with the purpose of accessing your data.
Entrusting apps risk assessment to a specialized software is good for both time-effectiveness and security. Many cybersecurity providers, Spin Technology, for example, provide tools to monitor and control SaaS apps to find potentially dangerous apps. With risk assessment tools, it becomes much easier to whitelist secure apps and blacklist the risky ones.
Prepare Against Risky Emails
Emails are essential in any business process, especially if it is remote. But not all emails are safe. In fact, an email may be a disguised phishing attack. If the attack is successful, hackers will get control over important business data.
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Phishing attacks are usually executed using emails that look like messages from colleagues or trusted organizations. Such emails contain harmful links. By clicking them, an unsuspecting user will get his system infected with malicious software designed to steal important data. Alternatively, a phishing email can contain a demand to wire money, share bank account numbers, or other sensitive information. Remote workers are vulnerable to phishing attacks the same as on-site workers, or maybe even more.
The most recent trend in phishing is disguising an attack as an informational email related to coronavirus. Such emails may look like a newsletter or a set of anti-coronavirus recommendations. In some cases, a hacker pretends to be from the World Health Organization. Of course, it’s just another social engineering tactic aimed at persuading a victim that an email is trusted.
Coronavirus phishing scams are more common than you might have thought. Google blocks over 18 million coronavirus phishing emails each day. An enormous number, but how many malicious emails remain undetected? That’s why you have to make sure that your remote work.
Spam filters are your first line of defense. Some phishing emails will inevitably bypass them. That’s why a complex anti-phishing strategy is a must for all teams. The strategy includes education, double-checking, and cybersecurity software. Keep in mind, phishing is a serious threat, and it should be addressed accordingly.
Back-Up Your Cloud Data
Speaking of cybersecurity software, backups should be mentioned. Backup is a safe copy of your data stored separately from the original data. Of course, it’s possible to backup important documents to your computer, but using special backup software is a usual practice to handle the business-level amounts of data.
Why is backup especially important for remote teams? Basically, remote work leaves significant space for human error like accidental data deletion, falling for a phishing attack, or accidentally installing malicious software. Backup is what fixes many security gaps and reduces the negative impact of a human error. With your file backed up, they can be recovered if the need arises.
What makes a good cloud backup? Automation, customization, backup versioning, and other features aimed at giving your data additional security and recoverability. Here you can choose backup options for your Gmail, Google Drive, and other Google services.
Keep Working Hours Flexible
Research shows that a flexible schedule is a top benefit for 40% of remote workers. Now, many people work from home due to coronavirus-related limitations, but it doesn’t mean that a little bit of comfort would harm. Quite the opposite. Organizing flexible working hours is a good way to keep the high morale of a remote team. In the long term, it pays off.
Of course, a lot of work remains to be done during the normal business hours (especially related to customer support), but it may be a great idea to shape your working schedule into something more comfortable.
Improving security and productivity is a constant process. This process is vital for remote workers, as remote work involves significant autonomy and personal responsibility. Yet, you shouldn’t forget that being a part of a remote team is still being a part of a team. Both risks and results are shared, so cooperation is vital. Especially cooperation aimed at keeping the working environment secure.