There are a lot of great reasons to let your employees work from home. It’s popular with employees because it provides them with more flexibility, but it’s great for your business too. It can help you save money on overhead costs, and it increases productivity.

However, all those benefits go out the window if your business is ever compromised. Stolen data can sink a business quickly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your employees work from home! You just have to know how to protect remote workers, which means knowing exactly how they can compromise your business in the first place.

Phishing Scams

Think phishing scams are obvious? Think again. Just because some phishing scams aren’t executed well doesn’t mean all scammers are sloppy. Many phishing attempts are very believable, which is why a whopping one in three employees is likely to fall for a phishing scam.

Whether it’s an email from someone your employee recognizes who has been hacked, a malicious link that is sent to them in a message, or payment scams, there are so many ways for scammers to convince you and your workers that they are real so you compromise important information.

Training can help. With specific guidelines, like never clicking on links in emails, no matter who they are from, you can keep your business information from being hacked.

Weak Passwords

At this point, surely everyone understands the importance of strong passwords. That may be true, but most people keep picking weak passwords anyway. They are easier to remember, especially if your employees are required to change their passwords frequently. Unfortunately, that means they’re easy for hackers to guess. Once a hacker guesses a password, they have unlimited access to the same information that your employee does.

You will have to encourage your employees to choose strong passwords. A few ways to convince your employees to choose strong passwords every single time include:

  • Providing your workforce with a good password manager
  • Sharing articles about businesses that are compromised due to weak passwords
  • Having meetings where you help your employees choose passwords
  • Offering group rewards when there have been no security threats

Unencrypted Sharing

Encrypted data can be a difficult concept for employees without IT experience to understand, but it’s vital when it comes to keeping your business safe and secure.

Employees who share unencrypted information and documents send them through the internet just as they are. It’s much easier for hackers to see that information. In contrast, encrypted data is scrambled when it is sent through the internet and unscrambled only when it is accessed by the recipient. 

Make sure you set up your employees with programs that ensure all information is encrypted before it is sent along. You can also teach them how to encrypt their own files to get them into the habit of thinking about the importance of encrypting important information.

Bad Home Wi-Fi

You have complete control over the systems and devices employees use when they work in the office. That isn’t true when they work at home. Wi-Fi can be especially dangerous when it comes to compromised information.

Home networks are relatively easy to hack. That’s because most people set up their Wi-Fi so it works without considering the importance of security. You have to make sure they do understand so their flimsy home Wi-Fi doesn’t compromise your business.

Employees should have anti-virus software and maintain a firewall. Firmware on their router should be updated, and default admin names and passwords should be changed. Provide them with a VPN or work with a DNS provider to ensure their access to the internet is secure.

Working From Multiple Devices

You may have a computer or laptop all set up for your employees to work on, but that doesn’t mean they will always use it. Cell phones and tablets are extremely convenient to use, especially on the go. However, they are almost never protected in the same ways as their laptop computer.

From accessing open Wi-Fi networks to malicious apps and out-of-date devices, mobile security is a real challenge. If you are unable to secure mobile devices for your employees, request that they do not use their personal devices for work.

Having a remote workforce is great for you and your employees, but only if their behavior doesn’t put your business at risk of failing. By knowing how your information could be compromised, you can create more secure systems that keep your business and its information safe.

Photo credits: eOffice

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