Getting a start-up off the ground is hard work. It’s made even harder if you have to contend with a security breach during those early months or years. If you have remote employees, managing security is a little trickier than when you have everyone in-house.
For start-ups with employees working away from the office, take a look at these seven essential security tips:
The first step in keeping your business operations and data secure when employees are working remotely is education. So many security hacks occur because of an innocent mistake on the behalf of a member of staff. Staff should know which Wi-Fi networks to trust, how to keep their computer software updated and how to spot suspicious emails. They should also be reminded about keeping their laptops and smartphones safe when on the move. Train your staff on how to stay secure when working away from the office.
Use A VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to connect to the internet securely. It can come in handy if you need to bypass regional restrictions on internet content. And if your workers are using public Wi-Fi networks when they’re away from the office. A VPN makes it much more difficult for hackers to access any sensitive company information or install malware on your remote worker’s computer.
Establish Levels of Access
Very few people within your start-up will need to access all data. Certain files, bits of the website and particular software capabilities can be kept out of reach. This helps to prevent accidental or malicious damage being done to your data and operational ability. And you can always grant temporary access if an employee needs to do something specific that falls above their current access.
Use the Same Software
When remote employees are using their own laptops to complete work for your start-up, give them access to the same virus protection and business software as your office computers. That way, updates can all take place at the same time and reduce the chance that a hacker will find a weak spot to abuse.
You, or a member of your I.T. team, should try to be on hand to answer any remote worker queries. When you maintain an open door policy for security issues, you’re much less likely to get an employee clicking on a suspicious link or replying to a phishing email with sensitive information. When faced with a security concern, they can get in touch and be advised on how to proceed without having to make the decision themselves.
Update Passwords Regularly
Weak passwords continue to pose a big risk to companies, big and small. Everyone within your start-up, including remote workers, should regularly update their passwords as a security measure. Passwords should always contain at least 12 characters, no recognisable words or sequences and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Send reminders to staff so that everyone gets a prompt to make the change.
Use a Secure Cloud Service
Many businesses now use the Cloud. It’s an easy way to store and share files, especially when you have employees who work remotely. Whilst the best Cloud service providers take their clients’ security very seriously, do your research before picking a supplier. You should take into account the physical security of a provider’s data centre, the level of data encryption they provide and any certifications they have.
A little ground work and regular updates will help to protect your business data, even if you have employees who work remotely. Just remember to prioritise your start-up security and keep reassessing the measures you have in place.
Amelie Mahone is a loving wife and a mother of 3. She loves to read about history and write articles on various topics, such as: business, education, history, teaching. As a young mum, Amelie also likes to read about motivation and parenting.