COVID-19 is rapidly increasing the number of remote employees around the world.
For companies that already have a remote workforce, it's just another day out of the office. But for a lot of businesses, this is new territory.
It's hard enough to keep data secure when your employees are all in one place. Here are some tips and best practices to consider as you navigate the ever-changing situation regarding COVID-19.
Data Security and Remote Working Tips
#1: Talk to your employees.
Before you deploy your workforce to work remotely, hold a training. If they're already at home working, host a digital training session.
Train your employees about cyber security. Be sure they know how to recognize hacking and phishing attempts that can put your company's data at risk. Use this time to remind your team of best practices.
- Don't use public WiFi without using a VPN. Check out our top 10 security tips for SMBs.
- Pay attention to who's around when working offsite. Be sure others can't see your screen or watch you enter a password.
- Don't use personal devices for work.
#2: Maintain a team atmosphere.
While your team is working remotely, bring them together via a digital platform to give them timely updates and reminders. This will help keep data security top of mind and energy focused on work.
#3: Address software concerns.
Be sure your employees' devices are as secure as possible with the proper software, firewalls, and connection securities required by your industry. You may also want to consider two-factor authentication for employee devices.
#4: Enable remote connections.
If your team can directly connect to the business network, there are fewer chances of a data security hack. Be sure your company has a process for this and your team knows how to use it. Things like VPN and intranets are helpful.
#5: Have a shut-down process.
You need to have a policy in place for when an employee thinks or knows his or her account has been compromised. Ensuring your team knows this protocol will allow them to act swiftly and limit data privacy and security concerns.
COVID-19: Reminding Us Why We Need a Business Continuity Plan
Another item to consider in the wake of COVID-19 is your Business Continuity Plan.
It's one of those things people often don't think about until it’s too late. If you aren't familiar with the term, a Business Continuity Plan is a process that helps you create a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.
The plan ensures personnel and assets are protected and able to function quickly in the event of a disaster – in this case, COVID-19.
If you don't have one in place, here's a simple roadmap to get started and help prevent major downtime for your organization:
- Identify the scope of the plan.
- Identify key business areas to address in the plan.
- Identify critical functions of your company and team members.
- Determine the acceptable amount of downtime for each critical function.
- Identify crossover between business areas and functions.
- Create a plan to maintain operations.
While a strategic version of a Business Continuity Plan may be a long-term project for your company, now is as good a time as any to get started.
To save time, assign one piece of the plan to a few leadership team members and then come together to ensure it's cohesive. It's also important to train employees on their various roles and timelines should this plan need to be implemented.
If you don't have a Business Continuity Plan, it can be difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible to get your team and systems mobilized in the midst of a crisis. This can damage your reputation in the marketplace and cost you real money while trying to regain operations.
Additionally, the law requires nearly all businesses to have this sort of plan for emergencies. So if you don't have one, you're in violation of the law. And if you're audited, you'll be fined.
We all need a little push sometimes to take the time to do things we know need to happen but haven't yet made a priority. Why not use this as your reason to create official policies and procedures regarding remote working and data security, as well as Business Continuity Planning?
As we all continue to navigate the balance between normalcy and safety during this pandemic, remember to keep data privacy top of mind for yourself and your employees.
If you want to talk about how remote working could impact your businesses functionality when it comes to data privacy, or if it’s time to dust off – or create – your Business Continuity Plan, contact Red Clover Advisors today.