Employers, IT, and General Employees: How to Create a Secure Online Work Environment

How to Create a Secure Online Work Environment
How to Create a Secure Online Work Environment

Needless to say, 2020 has been an unprecedented year. As companies continue to allow their employees to work from home in record numbers, it’s becoming clearer that the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses run. As business operations change and cyberattacks continue to rise, companies need to create, revise, or solidify their cybersecurity protocols. Below, in this article, you can find the details about how to create a secure online work environment.

Common Corporate Security Breaches 

Unfortunately, large and small businesses across the globe regularly experience cyberattacks and security breaches. These threats can come from the outside, unwitting employees, or even internal actors with malicious intent. In recent years, security threats have most commonly taken the following forms:

  • Denial of service attacks
  • Phishing scams
  • Download attacks
  • SQL injections
  • Malware
  • Ransomeware

The Consequences of a Security Breach

Cyberattacks have long been a concern for businesses. But now, with the recent influx of remote workers, the threats have grown exponentially. When cyberattacks succeed, they can have massive consequences, and sometimes lead to the closure of the victim business. The fallout from a single cyberattack can include:

  • Exposure of customer data and private information, which is often sold to another entity
  • Exposure of corporate data and other sensitive information
  • Financial loss through the payment of a ransom
  • Disruption of day to day business/forced downtime, resulting in huge revenue losses
  • Reputation damage, leading to a significant decrease in business
  • An increase in insurance premiums
  • Possible legal exposure/liability

What Does a Secure Workplace Look Like?

While the consequences of cyberattacks are grim, companies can take action and protect themselves from malicious actors.

Whether employees work from the office or elsewhere, business owners and managers should consider their entire network their workspace. This means they not only have to onsite protocols and regulations but also contingencies for using VPNs or other security measures.

In an ideal world, a cyber-secure business could have the following:

  • Advanced devices with up-to-date software
  • Work-only devices for those who work outside of the office
  • State-of-the-art security software
  • A VPN for out-of-office Internet access
  • Frequent cybersecurity training
  • Clearly documented rules and regulations for online activity that apply to everyone using the network, including vendors
  • Accountability between employees
  • An active IT team to troubleshoot issues and enforce online safety
  • Protocols for password protection
  • Multifactor identification
  • Restricted access to sensitive information
  • Policy for data backup and recovery

Who Plays What Role?

Taking on all of these security protocols may seem overwhelming. However, if employers engage their entire workforce, they can create a culture of security and accountability. To develop an ideal workplace as described above, the following teams need to get involved and take on the suggested responsibilities:

Employers and Managers: 

  • Invest in a Top-tier Security System-  Though the sticker price of a comprehensive security software system may seem high, the risks of not having one far outweighs the cost. Employers, especially those who have remote workers, should consider hosted endpoint security software, which protects each individual device that uses the company’s network.
  • Make Security a Priority- If the boss doesn’t take cybersecurity seriously, no one will. It’sIt’s up to the employer to create a culture of awareness and vigilance against cyber threats.
  • Provide Sufficient Training- To keep their business safe, employers should hold cybersecurity training regularly. As new threats develop, employers need to update their entire staff and educate them on how to spot or avoid the attack.

IT Team Members: 

An organization’s IT department also plays a critical part in the development of a secure online working environment. These are the individuals responsible for protecting sensitive data, and keeping information flowing smoothly through protected channels. In the case of a security breach, or if frontline safeguards become compromised, then IT personnel can act as the second line of defense.

General Employees: 

All other employees can play their part by:

  • Following all guidelines set by the employer or IT team
  • Reporting any unusual or suspicious activity
  • Keeping their work and personal online activity separate
  • Further educating themselves on common cyber threats and how to avoid them

Working Together to Secure Success

Unfortunately, cybercrime has become a universal issue for companies, governments, and personal computer owners alike. As attacks continue to rise, businesses can no longer afford to ignore the possibility of falling victim to cybercrime. However, if companies can devise strategic security plans that involve their entire workforce, they can drastically reduce their risk of suffering from an online attack.

Also, Read: The Importance of VPNs for Cybersecurity