How To Ensure a Project Security While Working With Remote Teams
The information is the primary resource for any company, protection and correct disposal of which is key to business development and reducing risks. Thus, the pressing challenge for organizations is to ensure information security. Information security complexity involves technologies, standards, and data management methods, which provide sufficient protection.
Since many companies have shifted online, namely there was a 148% rise in employees working from home, they face different complexities, jeopardizing the projects they are developing. For that reason, Qubit Labs has decided to consider ways to ensure work from home security and explain the potential risks you might face.
Remote Access Security Issues
When it comes to the risks of remote work, they aren’t always about the company infrastructure, but third-party service providers and employees that are logging from personal devices, forgetting about security measures. Criminals take advantage of poorly protected devices and steal data to generate their profits. At home, employees feel more relaxed, often forgetting about their online security hygiene. Thus, they have to be constantly reminded that “1234” is a rather flimsy password, which won’t ensure their personal computer safety, and enable hackers to bring disruption to your company.
The weakest link in the dedicated team is the person who is the least resistant to external influences. Cybercriminals understand that and use psychological and sociological techniques and methods to get confidential information. Social engineering is about human weaknesses, including personality traits like empathy, naivete, and loyalty; and professional qualities, including the lack of knowledge and instructions and responsibilities neglection.
Social engineering is like “hacking” a person, which usually has serious implications for the company the person is working for. From October 2013 to August 2015, there were over 8,000 victims that were defrauded of almost $800 million in the US.
One of its common practices is pretexting. This is a psychological manipulation when the fraudsters introduce themselves as the bank or other organizations’ employees, whom people believe “on default.” Then, the person is asked to provide specific data, which helps criminals get what they want.
This is one of the most widespread remote access security issues, which implies gathering user data for authorization, namely logins and passwords, from different online services. It is presented in the form of mass distribution of spam via email. The potential victims receive emails allegedly from the sites they use, like online shops and payment systems. By clicking on the sent links, the users bring their authorization data to the scammers.
This is malicious software, which aims to undermine the user’s computer in a certain form. This is a general name for all types of cyber threats, including viruses, trojans, spyware, keyloggers, and adware. They might cause a handful of problems, from small inconveniences to serious financial harm. Such software can change the browser settings and use the computer and its resources for DDoS-attacks or gather users’ personal data, like passwords and bank card numbers. Malware is good at camouflage, and the users might not even notice their personal computer safety is under threat.
Working From Home Security Tips
Personal Computer Safety
Not every company can allow connecting all the team members via corporate devices due to technical or financial issues. Hence, employees will have to use their personal computers to connect to the corporate services. It is great if, for the sake of security employees don’t use questionable websites or download unreliable software and understand the importance of having complicated passwords and updating antivirus. Otherwise, by using the employee’s personal device, the cybercriminals can access all the resources and company infrastructure with all the privileges.
Besides, the team members connect via the Internet channels, which no one controls. That’s when additional working from home security risks appear. These are vulnerabilities of the household Wi-Fi network and the related equipment, a router, or hotspot. Depending on the ways of implementation, the means of cybersecurity are divided into several types:
- Organizational. These are the sets of activities and means of institutional, legal, and technical nature. They include legislation and regulations, local normative documents, and the measures of maintaining informational object infrastructure.
- Technical. These are specialized equipment and devices, preventing data leakage and infiltration in the IT-infrastructure.
- Software. This is special software intended for protection, control, and information storage.
- Hardware-software. This is special equipment, with installed software for data protection.
The most widespread are the software means of data protection because they meet efficiency and relevance requirements, being constantly updated and responding to threats. To ensure information security in the workplace, companies usually implement the following cybersecurity measures:
They convert data in a way that its decryption can be implemented only with the usage of relevant cyphers. It is one of the remote access security best practices and reliable methods of information protection because it is the data, but not the access to it, that is being protected. The modern encryption systems are divided into four main parts:
- Symmetrical cryptosystems. These imply having the same key both for encryption and decryption.
- Public key cryptosystems. These suggest using two keys, public and private, which are mathematically linked. The information is encrypted with the public key, which is accessible for anyone, and decrypted with the private key, which is known only to the message recipient.
- Digital signature. It is a cryptographic conversion of the text, which is attached to it. It allows other users to check the authorship and authenticity of the message when receiving it.
- Keys management. This is a process of information processing, the point of which is to allocate the keys between the users.
Usually, encryption methods are used when there is a need to send confidential information via communication channels, like email. Also, it is utilized for the authentication of the transferred messages and encrypted data storing.
To ensure work from home security, first off, check whether the employees have supported operating systems. The old versions aren’t supported enough, so they don’t have security patches, making the devices vulnerable and threatening sensitive data. It would be practical to set automatic updates to minimize the risks and always have the latest versions of software and operating systems.
Whether your employees are at home offices, coworking spaces, or coffee shops, emphasize locking their devices whenever they walk away from them. Your work security will increase multiple times when all the devices will have automatic locking. In this case, even if the team members forget to press the button, the computer or laptop will do it itself.
Your employees might have everything required for secure work, yet all the effort is in vain if their password is too weak. IT security best practices mention that a PIN has to avoid including common phrases, sequences, repeating numbers, information that can be easily accessed, like birth date, address, or a relative’s name. You can provide your employees with a password manager, which is a tool helping to come up with unique passwords. It will prevent situations when a data breach of one account will endanger others.
Antivirus can protect your teams from the malware mentioned above and enhance security at work. It will help to detect and remove the virus from the system. Besides, such software is prophylactic, so even if the computer doesn’t have viruses, it will eliminate any malware attempts to access the devices.
A simple authentication implies one step of proving the user’s identity, like sending a specific password via email. As for two-factor authentication, the second factor is a one-time password or a digital signature, formed by the hard copy, which stores the private key of the authenticated subject, and the first factor is knowing the login and password of the user. The additional element of the second factor of the authentication is the awareness of the PIN code, which allows using the hardware security module with the private key for certifying the messages while exchanging them.
Such authentication will increase the company’s general security level and enable lowering the risk of password theft. Cyber security jobs working from home require two-factor authentication because it was of the weak authentication and passwords that companies faced cybersecurity incidents.
Vpn Security Best Practices
A corporate VPN is a private virtual network of the organization, which allows creating network connections within internal public nets. It aims to protect data transferred via internal communication channels. All data is encrypted and checked for integrity. The technology has two main types, namely IPsec and SSL/TLS. Your remote employee will connect to the VPN via the access server connected to the internal and external (public) network.
When connecting, the user will undergo the identification and authentication, and when these are successful, the remote employee will be authorized. VPN security best practices provide a shared workable environment at minimum cost and high protection levels. Besides, that’s a great way to ensure an individual device’s access to the company’s local area network. The employee could work from any place as if he/she was at the office. Besides, when connecting via public WiFi and using a VPN, the administrators won’t be able to access the clients’ personal data connected to the hotspot and compromise the employees’ corporate accounts.
IT Security Best Practices For The Business Owners
It is necessary to implement filters and antispam systems and services. Most email services use filters that protect users from unwanted ads and detect the email that can be defined as spam. They search for the sender in the spammers’ list and check whether there are words typical for such messages. When files are added to the letters, they have to be checked before entering the corporate network.
The best practices for remote workers are to activate the antivirus checking or use a Security Gateway. Firewalls and network safety policies will also aid in lowering the likelihood of third parties accessing your corporate network via email.
If your company hands over the hardware, one of the most practical working from home security tips is to implement an access control policy. In this way, the employees will have permission to access certain sites or install programs based on their roles within the company. This can reduce the possibility of data leaks and breaches.
Educate remote employees on cyber hygiene
When the team members are aware of computer security practices, they will understand the importance of having reliable antiviruses, firewalls, and strong passwords. Before installing anything on their devices, they will check whether the software manufacturer is a secure source.
Also, emphasize creating backup copies on the external hardware or cloud. This will prevent losing data if the hackers get access to the devices. Remind them about protecting their wireless networks by using WPA2or WPA3 encryption and deactivating the remote control when they have finished configuration.
Thus, there is no limit to work from home security, so when having remote teams, make sure your working environment is safe and can confront cyber threats. Even if the smallest virus gets into your corporate network, all the projects will be at risk. In case you don’t have enough time to deal with all the cybersecurity issues, you can entrust this to Qubit Labs. We will be glad to help you manage the remote teams and ensure your projects’ safety and effective development. Feel free to contact us to discuss everything in detail.