Entrepreneurs

Eight Ways Leaders Can Help Remote Employees Keep Corporate Files Safe

Whether you run a fully remote or a hybrid business, keeping corporate files safe while your employees work from home is of the utmost importance. Remote work creates new challenges for business leaders to contend with—such as employees using personal devices to access documents or working from unsecure public networks—and that means leaders will need to take certain steps to ensure sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

To help, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council provide a few strategies business leaders can use to help their employees keep company data safe, and discuss why these tips are so effective and necessary for any business with remote team members.

1. Provide Cybersecurity Training

Data security for remote workers is a hot topic. Home or public connections aren’t as secure as a company’s encrypted network system. Worse, employees often use both company and personal laptops, which isn’t a best practice, so education is essential. Regular security awareness training and phishing campaigns can help keep your workforce aware of the changing security landscape. This education reduces security risks. – Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited

2. Employ A VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) when working remotely must be mandated in your company policy. It’s best to provide the VPN yourself and explain to employees how important it is in their personal and professional lives. Robust VPN services, particularly those with military-grade security, are crucial to keep company data safe and cover vulnerabilities. When connected to the internet with a VPN, devices are protected against data interception, locations are kept private and all online activity is kept anonymous. VPNs can also detect malware and other suspicious files that could threaten the integrity of what your employees are working on. A business VPN ensures that connections among office and remote workers remain secure and private even as they share company resources for their respective workflows. – Bryce Welker, Crush The GRE

3. Use An Online Storage Solution

Keeping corporate files secure while working from home can be a challenge for small businesses. I found that the best way to keep corporate files secure is to use an online storage solution that offers both cloud computing and security. This will ensure that our data stays safe, even if our computer is hacked. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

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4. Avoid Universal Access To Files

It’s best to restrict employee access to only those files that they need for their work. Providing universal access to your files creates many potential security threats. For one thing, if there’s a security breach, it can be difficult to identify who is responsible. Each employee should have their own user account and password. When no longer needed, sensitive files should be deleted or moved to a secure location in the cloud. Also remember that when an employee leaves or an agency or independent contractor is done with an assignment, make sure you change the password. There’s no way to make any system 100% secure, but you can greatly improve security by taking basic precautions and limiting access to important data. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

5. Require Use Of Company Computers

One important recommendation I always make to employees to keep corporate files safe is to use their company computer 100% of the time. Sometimes it might seem easier for your team members to log on from home using a personal computer, but the trouble with this is that it opens up a whole host of security issues. Does the team member’s computer have malware on it that might inadvertently infect other computers on the company network? The methods used by hackers today are incredibly complex and sneaky. This makes it difficult for people to know when their computers have been commandeered by a hacker for nefarious purposes. The smarter move is to just play it safe and only allow company files to be accessed and transferred on company computers and never on employees’ personal devices. – Richard Fong, Disability Help

6. Utilize Strong Passwords

Remote work carries inherent risks to confidentiality, but they are avoidable. One of the easiest ways to ensure your sensitive files are secure is by utilizing stronger passwords. I know that sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t know what an effective password looks like. Each password you use should be unique and consist of mixed capital letters, numbers and special characters. If not, a cybercriminal could easily hack this information and use that one password to access a wide variety of sensitive material. If you make it a company policy that all staff use unique and complex passwords, you minimize the risk of compromise significantly. – Nick Venditti, StitchGolf

7. Limit Sharing Across Multiple Locations

Limiting the need to share or access files across multiple locations is one way of keeping corporate files safe. My team works within our company’s Google Drive, and we’ve taken steps to secure individual files as well as our Drive as a whole. By adding collaborators to relevant files, we’ve eliminated the need to share files across less secure means because everyone can access what they need through their account. There’s no need for employees to store files directly on their computers, and since we know where everything is, it’s much easier to monitor the security of everything we produce as a business. – Diana Goodwin, MarketBox

8. Leverage Encryption Software

One way to keep corporate files safe when working from home is to encrypt them. This means that even if someone were to get ahold of the files, they wouldn’t be able to read or use them without the proper key. Encryption is a great way to protect sensitive information, and you should consider investing in document encryption software, especially if your employees are working remotely. Alternatively, you could work on reliable cloud platforms that support document creation and storage (for example, Google Drive or Microsoft Teams). In our company, we’re able to create a setup where our employees can access files on their phones but only if they have a phone lock and use encryption tools. Such tactics help increase security while keeping workflows smooth. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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