Cyber security

How to keep your business secure when remote working

07 March 2024

To ensure that a business is secure, workers should be using devices that have antivirus software, anti-malware and firewalls installed in order to protect business data. Companies should also encourage use of a password manager, educate their staff on ensuring a secure internet connection or using a VPN, using 2FA (two-factor authentication), and build a solid understanding of the latest elements to look for to avoid online scams.

Keeping your business secure when remote working

Remote working, whether full-time or part-time, is widely considered the norm. From working from home to completing tasks in a coffee shop, in a co-working space, internationally, or whilst on public transport. We are becoming a society that can work from anywhere.

But how secure is remote working for businesses?

Unsecure public or home Wi-Fi, weak passwords, GDPR, amongst many others. We’re all aware of the risks working outside a typical office environment can pose. Many of us understand too that cyber security is paramount to business success, trust and reputation nowadays.

While the case for using cyber security services is clear, the onus has to still be partly on the hands of employees to make sure that they’re aware of the risks and able to protect business data when working remotely too.

Take a look at our top tips for educating staff and protecting your business when working remotely.

8 ways you can keep your business secure with staff working from home or outside the office

1. Use a password manager tool

Almost every website you visit requires you to set up a user account and password. To avoid using the same password, and as human memory cannot possible remember hundreds of passwords, this is where using a password manager tool comes in handy.

A password management tool keeps you safe and it’s incredibly convenient. When used correctly, this tool stores all your unique and strong passwords for all your different accounts. Often, a password manager can also help you generate new and random passwords too.

Review all your passwords

If you’re setting a password management tool up for the first time, then this is an ideal time to review all your passwords and make sure that they’re unique, strong and adhere to best practice.

Only use long, strong, varied and unique passwords

While it is tempting to use passwords that are simple and easily-memorable, these types of passwords put businesses at risk of cyber-attacks as they’re far too easy to guess by hackers.

By using a password manager tool, never again will you forget a password or get locked out of an account (unless you added the wrong information to the manager tool in the first place, or forget to update it).

Need to share a password with your team? Not a problem. A password manager creates a safe platform for you to do so. This tool should always be used over sending passwords via email or instant messaging (e.g. on Slack or Teams) where they’re susceptible to being intercepted or hacked.

2. Ensure the internet connection is secure. Consider encrypting home Wi-Fi

Working from home has many employee benefits, and has remained popular amongst businesses and staff. However, secure remote working requires a safe Wi-Fi connection. It is a good idea to encrypt home Wi-Fi. This can start with changing the router’s default password, as this is the most susceptible aspect to hacking as they can be easily guessed by hackers with knowledge of particular routers and companies. And default passwords tend to be weaker, especially when paired with the original router name.

Other tips for securing home Wi-Fi: limiting what devices can access the network, and turning on encryption.

If employees are working remotely in public locations, such as coffee shops, on public transport, or in shared office spaces, ensure they connect to a VPN first, or use mobile data instead.

Top tips for remaining safe whilst on public Wi-Fi: never access any personal financial information; don’t login or send personal information to websites that aren’t fully encrypted (e.g. URLs that begin with HTTP instead of HTTPS); don’t use the same password across different websites; pay attention to warnings; and switch off connecting automatically to the nearest Wi-Fi.

3. Introduce 2FA (two-factor authentication)

You’ll likely have come across 2FA, also known as two-factor authentication or MFA (multi-factor authentication). It’s likely you’ll have encountered it when logging into banking apps. 2FA requires you to have two forms of identification needed in order to gain access to your account.

If 2FA is not able to be enabled, then you can try installing one-time passwords instead – which allows biometric authentication. Typically, the user is sent an automatically generated alphanumeric password to their phone or email to login – with this authentication method, you can also use sign-in methods that rely on unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprint, face or voice recognition.


4. Be cautious of online scams

We all like to think we can spot a scam, and that we won’t fall victim to one. Unfortunately, scams are not always easy to detect; scammers deceptively use psychological tactics that play on emotion meaning anyone can be deceived, if they’re not careful.

That is why it is vital that your staff are aware of legitimate communication, and what they look like, so that they can spot when something isn’t right and if it’s a false communication.

As a business, you can stay clued up on the latest online scams by checking Action Fraud. Then you can regular communicate with and advise employees on the latest tactics.

As a general rule, its best to educate staff and encourage them to not click on links or open attachments from email addresses they don’t recognise, look out for spelling and grammatical errors with emails, and always check who has sent the email – paying close attention to the email address and domain names.


5. Educate employees & carry out staff training

An educated workforce will make better informed decisions. And better decision-making inevitably leads to a protected organisation and a reduction in cyber-attack exposure. When individuals within a business can spot potential attacks or breaches, they can mitigate risk and protect business data. Employees that have a stronger understanding of what to do and how to react are better able to handle situations such as a cyber security incident.

Keeping a business secure means protecting data and information from outsider and unauthorised access. Educating employees on cyber security and what to and not to do means that they’ll be able to reduce a business’s susceptibility of being hacked – meaning they won’t open spam folders or click on suspicious links!

To begin educating staff on cyber security and data protection, you can run training sessions and ask them to sign a policy document.

6. Encourage the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Ensure business security, especially when workers are using home or public Wi-Fi by encouraging, and making readily available, the use of a VPN. A VPN establishes a protected network connection when using public networks; they allow the user to disguise their online identity, preventing third parties from tracking online activities and stealing data.

When remotely-based employees use a VPN that’s an extension of a business network, it offers them the same security and connectivity benefits as if they were in the office.

7. Use helpful software (firewalls, antivirus software and anti-malware) / Carry out regular updates and backups

Remote workers, or employees working from home, should keep their device secure by making sure that it is up-to-date with the latest antivirus software, anti-malware software and firewalls. It is important to regularly carry out updates on the device to ensure that it has the latest bug fixes installed. This helps protect a business’s data; it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to safeguard confidential information and prevent security breaches.

8. Lock your screen if leaving a device unattended!

If you’re working remotely, always remember to lock your screen if leaving your device unattended.

Using a Windows device? Lock your screen with the shortcut: Windows Logo Icon key + L key or by pressing Ctrl, Alt + Del.

Using a Mac device? Lock your screen with the shortcut: Control + Command + Q

Need help managing your business’s cyber security? Get in touch with our team

Looking to level up your business’s cyber security? We have a specialist IT security team that can help secure your IT systems and better protect your network and data. Give us a call today on 0845 257 8010, alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.