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Tips for Cybersecurity Disaster Planning in the Era of Remote Work 

Is your business prepared for the unthinkable? Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of cybersecurity threats that are likely to increase in 2023. It’s important for businesses to stay informed as to what could happen and take proactive steps to reduce vulnerabilities. Additionally, this landscape has become increasingly complex in the era of remote and hybrid work. The journey of improving your business’ cybersecurity begins with a single step or, in this case, a handful of easy-to-implement tips.  

The status of remote work in 2023

The economic outlook in 2023 has led to a shift in hiring for SMB’s. As a lot of larger companies are undergoing mass layoffs—particularly in the tech sector—smaller to medium-sized businesses are implementing hiring freezes or delaying hiring unless absolutely necessary. How is this affecting the remote work sector that’s rapidly expanded over the past few years? 

According to recent data from LinkedIn, “The percentage of remote-job listings on LinkedIn reached an all-time high of 20% in February but fell to 14% in October. That is, only 1 out of 7 job postings in the US offered remote work in October 2022. While this number has been slowing down, it is still more than triple the rate in October 2020 and up nearly 10-fold from remote work’s meager 2.8% share in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic began.” While new remote positions may be harder to find, many companies still have an existing remote or hybrid workforce that is larger than ever. And, in the rush to implement remote work a few years ago, some organizations overlooked essential cybersecurity measures that need to be adjusted in order to plan for disasters. If you want to make sure your company isn’t more vulnerable than it needs to be, implement the following cybersecurity tips for disaster planning. 

Disaster planning tips for remote or hybrid employees

1) Proactive updates are essential:  

When everyone was working in the office, it was a little easier to make sure work-related devices were updated in a timely manner. Even if you don’t have remote or hybrid employees that are using devices that rarely make it into the office for updates, more employees are using their smartphones to complete work-related tasks. The experts recommend you make sure you’re regularly reiterating the importance of updating software, antivirus software, and smartphones so your company is less vulnerable to potential cyberattacks. If you have an IT team that can remotely update your employees’ devices, this will help immensely. If not, make sure your employees are reminded of new updates and the need to implement them as soon as possible. 

2) Team transparency and layered system access:

It’s easier to spot phishing emails or other suspicious communications that may contain ransomware links when everyone who works at your company knows each other. It’s important to implement team transparency across the board—proactively updating all employees when a new employee is hired and when an existing employee leaves the company—so they are more able to spot potential threats.  

It’s also important to be transparent with team members about what data they have access to and what data they don’t have access to, as well as the reasons why. When you’re using an all-in-one business solution like Tigerpaw, it’s easy to adjust account permissions that will allow your organization to store all your essential data in one system while only allowing employees to view segments of data that are relevant for their job functions. Additionally, you can automatically log who accessed what information and when so your customer data, financial data, inventory data, and more are all safely secured. 

3) Have a prioritized disaster plan ready:

If the worst were to happen, what would you do first? While it might be hard to imagine what a ransomware attack or cybersecurity breach would look like at your company, it’s important to plan for the unthinkable. It might help to hear this recent interview with Robert Cioffi, COO of Progressive Computing, Inc., whose business experienced a cyberattack in 2021 and came out on top. His recommendation includes utilizing the CIS Critical Security Controls framework, which you can learn about here. This will help you establish a cybersecurity disaster plan that, hopefully, you’ll never have to use. 

4) Additional training:

Providing cybersecurity training to your employees when they join your organization will help to keep your existing disaster plans fortified. While you may have some employees that are more tech-savvy than others, it’s important to implement effective cybersecurity training for everyone—particularly if they’ll be working remote or hybrid—to reduce potential vulnerabilities. 

While some basic cybersecurity policy awareness and training up front will be helpful, it’s also easier to avoid disaster when your team is up-to-speed with the systems they use to help run your business every day. Does your team have the knowledge they need to effectively utilize the technology that keeps your business running? Making sure they’re well-trained and able to access support when needed can be difficult when you’re using a lot of different systems that don’t talk to each other instead of a single automation platform. With a knowledgeable team providing first-class support and a thorough training program that helps your employees become experts , Tigerpaw helps you run a better business with ease, essentially taking care of some of the difficulty of this step for you. 

5) Multi-factor authentication:

You can proactively help prevent the worst-case scenario by implementing multi-factor authentication as a requirement for all employees. According to a recent report, “from the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security, 31% of IT professionals who were surveyed indicated their organizations didn’t require remote workers to use any authentication methods at all. Among the 69% of organizations that did require those methods, only 35% of the IT professionals said multi-factor authentication was mandated.” Implementing this policy now will help shore up your cybersecurity defenses and make it much more difficult for bad actors to gain control of a multitude of essential business and customer functions all at once. 

Every decision and investment in technology you make can have a lasting impact on the security of your company. If you haven’t yet implemented the tips above, there’s no better time than the present. Secure the future of your business by creating a cybersecurity disaster plan that proactively defends against potential threats, works well with a hybrid or remote team of employees, and has clear steps to follow in case of emergency. 

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