Employers need to provide some guideline to the workforce before going off for remote working. Soure: Shutterstock

Employers need to provide some guideline to the workforce before going off for remote working. Soure: Shutterstock

How employers can safeguard their remote workforce

In Asia, a lot of businesses have found themselves in a new reality due to the disruptions that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused.

As government bodies across the region enforce travel restrictions, cross-border interactions, and quarantine orders, employers have to make a sudden shift to remote working.

In one way or another, critical business functions and industry segments have to go on to sustain the economy. Working remotely means all business processes, interaction processes, data management tasks, and backend workloads have to be done from employees’ homes and online.

However, that means employers are now facing the challenge of managing the security risks that remote working could bring.

To begin with, it is important to understand that risks here stem from the fact that the workforce will be operating outside of the secured corporate IT networks, accessing operational systems using private or public networks with uncertain levels of security.

Define the data

In the face of greater risks to data breaches, ransomware or malware attacks, it’s important that employers educate the workforce early on the threats that are present and the types of information that need to be strictly protected. That includes login credentials and sensitive corporate documents to intellectual property, customer information and other digital assets – safeguarding measures are essential.

At the same time, it is also key for employers to encrypt valuable data and information systems so that any changes, transfers and access requests made can be tracked.

Set the rules

Employers should make it a rule that valuable information and data should never be shared across unsecured devices and open servers. If possible, employers should invest in enterprise-secured file-sharing platforms and collaboration tools to reduce breach risks.

When it comes to password and login credentials, on the other hand, it is best to get utilize password management tools or multi-factor authentication systems to minimize cyber threats. Running a password audit would also be a beneficial strategy.

Shift to cloud

Next, employers that are still storing data and information locally should make the shift to the cloud immediately. Cloud platforms and cloud-based apps are instrumental when practicing remote working and ensuring all data are backed-up in cases of a security breach.

Most cloud platforms leverage advanced capabilities like artificial intelligence and machine learning to augment cybersecurity performance, so employers may be able to ease their minds during the quarantine periods.

Last but not least, employers should update operating systems and software regularly to truly ensure that cyber threats and risks are minimized.

In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to provision cybersecurity software and tools to employees that will be relying on their personal devices when working remotely – after all, it’s best to be safe than sorry.