10 Action Items to Reduce Remote Work Security Risks

  • By: Adam Wire
  • November 16, 2023
Remote Work Security Risks
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Virtual board and committee meetings have quickly gained traction as many nonprofits and businesses have found they provide a convenient alternative to in-person meetings. But keeping your organization’s devices and programs secure in a remote work environment requires taking some crucial security measures. 

Follow these 10 action items to securely manage a public meeting remotely or move from in-person to virtual board meetings.

Understanding Remote Work Security Risk 

Having a remote workforce introduces a host of security challenges. When employees access company systems and sensitive data from various locations using different devices and networks, it provides cybercriminals with more entry points to exploit. In addition, home networks are often less secure than those found in corporate environments. 

The consequences of neglecting remote work security can be severe for employers and their employees. The risks include data breaches, financial losses, and reputation damage.

Remote Work Security Action Items

Knowing where your company devices and programs are most likely to experience security gaps and what your biggest risks are can help determine the most important steps to take to mitigate security risks. However, all businesses can benefit from implementing these 10 action items.

1. Determine Endpoint Protection Needs

Protecting your entire network is a more complex process than simply installing a cybersecurity software program on company-owned and personal devices that your employees routinely use for work. Consider what your endpoint protection needs look like and take steps to ensure no client or other outside user has an opportunity to maliciously access your devices or programs.

Continuously monitoring laptops, tablets, desktop computers, smartphones, and other access points for signs of a potential threat is key when it comes to securing each of your network’s endpoints. Some of the most common aspects of a comprehensive endpoint protection system include: 

  • Quality firewall and anti-malware program 
  • Behavioral analytics that monitor for signs of unusual activity 
  • Compliance monitoring to ensure proper procedures are followed 
  • Sandbox inspection and URL filtering
  • Strong data encryption system 

2. Secure Your Connections

Connecting to any network can increase the potential of your device or sensitive information being hacked, especially one that isn’t secure. While it’s not difficult to ensure your business network is secured with a strong password and other measures, ensuring your information is protected when remote workers access it from other networks is not as easy. 

Your IT team should discourage remote employees from using company devices or accessing secure information on public Wi-Fi networks. In addition, remote employees should ensure their personal Wi-Fi network is protected with a strong password. Remote connections to your network and online resources should be through Virtual Private Network (VPN) or HTTPS.

3. Implement 2FA

Adding two-factor authentication (2FA) to your company’s software programs is a significantly stronger alternative to relying on a password alone. 2FA requires a user to verify that they are supposed to have access to a correct password by confirming their access on another device or by entering a second piece of information. 

4. Understand Users’ Access Rights and Permissions 

Make sure you know what access rights and permissions your employees have on their machines and on the network. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s essential to understand what the people in your company should and shouldn’t do, and assign permissions accordingly.

5. Check Policies and Update if Needed

Cybersecurity best practices are constantly evolving, which means frequently reviewing your network access and other cybersecurity policies is crucial. Start by scrutinizing access control policies to ensure company data and systems are only accessible to those who require it, implementing measures such as the principle of least privilege and multifactor authentication. Evaluate data handling and classification policies, emphasizing proper data encryption and secure transmission protocols.

To address remote work, set clear guidelines for the use of personal devices and secure connections. Additionally, review password and authentication policies, promoting the use of strong passwords and considering the implementation of password management tools.

6. Consider Electrical Outages and Power Surges

Power outages can wreak havoc on your company’s cybersecurity, and the likelihood of experiencing them increases with remote employees dispersed across several cities and states.  Significant power issues can disrupt programs that are currently in process or damage your security system, which can result in lost data, corrupt files, and vulnerable entry points. 

To mitigate these threats, organizations should invest in robust power protection measures. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems act as a crucial line of defense, providing a buffer against sudden power loss and allowing for a graceful shutdown of devices. Ensure remote workstations are equipped with surge protectors to safeguard electronic equipment from the damaging effects of voltage spikes.

7. Schedule Regular Access Reviews

Regularly review who has access to each of your company’s programs and devices, and remove access that is no longer relevant as needed. Team members who have moved to a new position or department may no longer need all their previous authorizations, while those who have left a company should be completely removed from its network to prevent unauthorized and potentially malicious use.

8. Keep Your Training Going

Conduct ongoing training to ensure your team members know the steps they’re expected to take to keep their devices and programs as secure as possible. Regular training sessions not only reinforce best practices but also provide a platform for introducing new security measures and addressing emerging risks. Encourage a culture of cybersecurity awareness, where team members actively contribute to the collective defense by reporting suspicious activity and adhering to established security protocols.

9. Alert People to Cybersecurity Updates

Regularly communicate cybersecurity updates with your team, including information about the latest security patches and updates for software, operating systems, and antivirus programs. Emphasize the importance of prompt implementation to address known vulnerabilities and enhance overall system resilience. This not only bolsters the security of individual devices but also contributes to the collective strength of the organization’s digital infrastructure.

10. Develop a Process for Backups and Restores 

Even the best-maintained devices and programs run into issues from time to time. Require your team to conduct regular backups of their systems. Emphasize the importance of storing these backups in secure locations to mitigate the risk of data loss in the case of physical damage or theft. Automate backup processes where possible to streamline the procedure and reduce the likelihood of oversight.

Conduct periodic drills to verify the effectiveness of your backup and restore mechanisms. This proactive approach ensures that in the event of a data loss incident, your team can recover swiftly and resume operations with minimal disruption.

How OnBoard Powers Remote Boards 

Keeping your board of directors organized can be challenging at any time, and working remotely can further complicate the process. Using a quality board management software program is a helpful step in enabling remote work while keeping data secure.  

OnBoard includes a wide range of features, including secure messenger and video conferencing integrations, that make it easier to run a secure and effective board of directors meeting from anywhere. In addition, OnBoard’s secure system of record for board meeting content, communication, and data limits exposure to risk and reduces the number of vulnerable endpoints. 

OnBoard is SOC 2 certified, ISO 27001 certified, and certified under the Data Privacy Framework Program. Platform administrators can deploy customizable multi-level and granular control for sensitive data, including the ability to purge notes and annotations.

Ready to level up your board operations with OnBoard? Get started with our free board meeting minutes template.

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.