Tools are only as good as their operators. This should be your standing philosophy as the world constantly shifts and evolves to a more hybrid-like work model to help deal with the complexities faced after the COVID-19 pandemic. So, although finally figuring out what tools and processes are essential to the security of your business is great, unless your employees are fully-in on participating with these processes, you’re in for a tough journey.
Within a hybrid work model, you’ll have employees spread out over multiple locations, but working together online. Some may use less secure home internet connections for work, while others may use personal devices to get the job done. That’s why it’s critical to improve your security systems, tools and controls to make sure they meet the demands of a hybrid work environment.
This means investing in cloud-based SaaS applications, secure VPNs, identity and access management tools, patch management applications, unified endpoint management systems, and backup and recovery solutions.
Make sure the application you choose follows the Zero Trust idea. It’s the idea that states that every attempt to access company networks and systems must be verified first, whether within your network or outside it.
If your security policies and procedures are not clearly documented, it’ll be a struggle to enforce them. Your staff needs to know the steps involved, and the reasoning behind the whole process, or there may be a lack of important participation from their side. For example, if you don’t have an Acceptable Use Policy for your VPN in writing, your employees may end up using it for non-work purposes.
Identify critical IT policies and procedures like change management, remote access, incident response, etc. Then, have them all documented and shared with the teams and members of your staff. Remember to keep the files up to date and in an easily accessible, centralized location. This will make it easier to enforce said policies. Employees will understand what is expected of them and why. Finally, make sure policies are reviewed periodically and make adjustments if needed.
Aim to make your employees the first line of defense against cyberattacks, instead of the lowest hanging fruit. Although this approach has been around for years, it’s even more important in a hybrid work environment. The risk is higher, so you must take it seriously. Gimmicks will not allow you to meet compliance requirements.
Set up interesting and engaging training programs that will help reduce human errors, develop good security habits and create awareness about the current threat environment employees face online. Create training videos and provide your staff with a knowledge base covering security best practices and SOPs.
Along with that, you should also setup interactive training programs that help employees learn how to defend against phishing, ransomware, brute-force password attacks and social engineering. And if you don’t know what those words mean, you need the training that much more! After training, reinforce what they learned by conducting routine tests and simulations. (Here at Tekie Geek we have an amazing employee training program that you can sign up for at https://bulletproof.tekiegeek.com. We’ll phish your employees and test them to see if they fall for it!)
When communication and support channels are clearly defined and easily accessible, you’ll be able to handle threats more effectively. Every staff member will know how to raise an alarm, who to contact, and what they should be doing after reporting it. More importantly, it will help you be able to detect threats early, allowing you to minimize the impact they might otherwise have.
In combination, you should also clearly define what tools can be used for communication and collaboration. For instance, employees should be highly discouraged from using personal networking apps, like WhatsApp and Facebook, for official communication and file transferring. Not only does it put company data in danger, it might also hurt your company’s ability to be compliant with regulations.
When it comes to constructing new security strategies or figuring out new systems, ensure that you give proper attention to user experience and efficiency. For example, if your company’s antivirus solution tends to slow down employee workstations, they may wind up disabling it to get work done faster or more efficiently, which is a recipe for disaster.
Although security is critically important, it shouldn’t come at the cost of productivity, efficiency and user experience. Following security measures and policies should never feel like extra work, otherwise employees will grow weary and abandon security best practices altogether. Make sure your security systems and strategies combine nicely with their workflow.
The truth is, building a security-first culture is going to be challenging. The hybrid work model has only made it more complicated for business owners by adding dozens of new layers and steps to the security process. But fret not! If you need a skilled staff, 24/7 support and specialized tools, Tekie Geek has you covered!
If you are thinking about going down this path, we can help ensure proper and effective implementation and ongoing management of necessary IT/cybersecurity and data security controls.
Sign up for a consultation to learn more about how we can help today!