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By now, your LinkedIn feed and inbox is already exploding with news stories on COVID-19 and its immediate impact across the globe and the enterprise. And even though business isn’t coming to a halt—the way we work is changing fast—possibly forever. With two thirds of workers more productive remote, reduced overhead, turnover and absenteeism, working from home is having a big moment. That’s because collaboration doesn’t end inside your workspace—it’s everywhere technology is.

Last week, we shared five ways to accelerate your remote workforce to protect your team members and your organization. And one of our readers shared, that’s great, but what about security?

So, this week we’re looking at how you can protect your employees’ health and your business data at—the same time.

Security is a common concern for companies taking the workforce remote. In fact, just two years ago, 86% of business leaders had the same question about team members working remote. Active everyday threats loom around every corner in airports and runs to Starbucks. Employees on unsecured networks or with confidential company documentation out in public can create real risk.

From employees using unsecured Wi-Fi networks to workers carrying confidential papers with them to public locations, remote work has added additional levels of security considerations for companies and their data.

Don’t panic. Instead peruse these straightforward approaches to keeping your organization and your data safe.

1. Create a company-wide security policy.

Knowledge is power. The reason spear phishing and cyberattacks are still so rampant is because too many employees just aren’t on guard or aware of the importance of data security. It’s mission critical to educate your workforce on how you are actively maintaining your organization’s security and what role they play.

Build a cybersecurity policy—explain why you’re creating it and how they can help your organization stay secure. Walk your teams through the high level details before sending it to all employees—new and existing—to sign.

So, what does this policy look like? First, start with a mission statement, (why it was created), and then drill down to the specifics on security policies across the board—on and off of organizational devices. Reinforce why compliance is important and how you’re supporting compliance with technologies, coaching and other resources. Each employee should sign acknowledging they’ve read and agree to the policy.

2. Introduce Single Sign-On.

Not only does Single Sign-On (SSO) increase compliance, user satisfaction, and productivity, it instantly levels up your organization’s cybersecurity. Why?

While SSO only uses one username and password for authentic across all productivity apps, it makes it harder for hackers to compromise any of the accounts associated. Users have one username, one password and an extra layer of security on all the applications they use daily. Compromised credentials are a key driver of breeches. Because the more usernames and passwords we have, the harder password management becomes. Users start simplifying passwords i.e. Password1, or, using the same credentials across multiple platforms—making them an easy target.

In response to COVID-19, some MicroAge partners are letting organizations try SSO free—contact us for details.

3. When it doubt, VPN.

Sound basic? It isn’t. Amazon started having employees test Virtual Private Network (VPN) weeks ago to prep for a mass open office exodus. That’s because with VPN, employees can securely access shared files wherever they are. By putting the right controls and parameters in place, you can require VPN login for employees to gain access to any sensitive business data.

VPN is the keep-it-simple-stupid solution—enabling employees (after some quick education) to VPN in before signing onto any public Wi-Fi networks. VPN encrypts your remote workers’ internet traffic while monitoring for any signs of alarm. No matter where remote workers are, your data is secure.

4. Arm your organization with the right security.

Remember that security policy we talked about? It needs to require all employees to keep their firewalls, antivirus software and anti-malware current across devices. That means taking the time to restart and run updates.

The ability to wipe lost or stolen company laptops or other devices also comes in handy. Team members can shift to their personal laptop or phone in the meantime.

These objectives should tie into your larger security strategy.

5. Define, plan and implement your security strategy.

Having an IT security strategy is more important every day with an increase in remote work, and a move to the cloud. Ransomware attacks increased by 12% last year and cost organizations more than $8 billion.

And, according to Comparitech, downtime resulting from ransomware costs most organizations upwards of $64,000.

Having the right security technology and processes is a mandate to staying in business in the digital age. Bringing in outside security subject matter experts promotes better anti-malware and ransomware software, comprehensive training and a stronger security strategy overall.

Secure your remote workforce.

Let’s talk.

Our collaboration experts care. We’re here to quickly and safely guide you to a secure, remote environment. Please don’t wait for the situation to escalate, demand is high, contact us now.

NEW: MicroAge Launches Best Practices Tips in Cybersecurity Webinar Series for Cybersecurity Pros

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