Simple steps SMBs can take to prevent a data breach while remote working

Simple steps SMBs can take to prevent a data breach while remote working


As Kansas City gradually reopens, more and more people are being allowed to go back to work. Soon, offices will be full again. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that were able to realize the benefits of remote work are likely to continue supporting work from home practices.

However, much like how predators stalk their prey, cybercriminals have shifted their focus toward remote workers. You need to protect your remote staff, but not every cybersecurity effort has to be cutting-edge or sophisticated. Here are simple steps you can take to prevent data breaches from happening.

Review and update your cybersecurity policies

Remind your staff that every member of your organization has a responsibility to keep data safe from unauthorized parties. With that in mind, revisit company cybersecurity policies and see where you can improve your posture. Here are some measures that might be missing from your playbook:

Separate personal accounts from company accounts. While remote workers will most likely use their own devices and connections, do not let them use their personal communication and banking/online payment app accounts to transmit company-related communiques and perform financial transactions. Staff members must have their own separate accounts for work.

Have everyone use password managers and multifactor authentication (MFA). Password managers help users easily implement strong and unique passwords, while MFA adds extra layers of security beyond passwords.

Always implement software updates as soon as these become available. Such updates often contain security patches that address discovered vulnerabilities, so leaving software unpatched means leaving them exposed to cyberattacks.

Provide everyone with cybersecurity awareness training

The majority of cybercriminals aren’t those who are sophisticated enough to build their own malicious programs or know how to bypass cybersecurity systems. Rather, most just buy illicit kits and deploy malware, just like how fishers cast wide nets with lures. It’s easier and more efficient to let random people open seemingly harmless emails and download bad attachments than it is to launch targeted attacks at particular persons.

This modus operandi of cybercriminals highlights the importance of holding cybersecurity awareness training across your entire organization. And now that your distributed teams have learned how to use videoconferencing and other online tools to communicate and collaborate with one another, you can use these to establish remote learning lessons. Make these mandatory and regular — and include mock trials and practical tests — to increase their effectiveness.

Implement identity and access management (IAM) protocols

Among the steps listed here, this is perhaps the most sophisticated. It requires your IT team to increase its cybersecurity measures in terms of IT tools and administration.

For instance, your IT team might want to explore implementing a zero-trust policy. Unlike earlier security paradigms that focused solely on blocking malicious actors at the perimeter of your company network, a zero-trust policy assumes that such actors have already infiltrated your network. And with so many unsecured personal devices and connections being used for work, this might already be the case.

A zero-trust policy essentially creates micro-barriers around critical data and only grants access to personnel who need the data to do their jobs. Regardless of whether you’re granted general network access, if you don’t need such data to accomplish your tasks, then you’re barred from it. This is what is known as the principle of least privilege.

Your IAM system must also have protocols for contractors, third-party partners, and former employees. You need to be able to grant limited access as well as reduce or revoke it when it is no longer necessary.

Have the proper strategies for when things go wrong

“Prevention is better than cure” is indeed true, but when a data breach does occur, do you have a strategy for containing that incident and preventing more breaches from happening? Do your staff know how to recognize data breaches and report malware infections without spreading the infections themselves? Would your IT team be able to quarantine affected software programs and systems? Do you have backups to fall back on in case your data is compromised?

These are but some of the questions that business continuity plans and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service will address.

Organizations in Kansas City rely on Umbrella’s excellent IT services. To learn more about how we can help safeguard your data, download our eBook today.

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