Remote work is quickly becoming the new normal for modern companies but it’s nothing new for us virtual assistants!
When many offices were forced to shut down during the pandemic, team leaders discovered something, we’ve known about for a very long time – remote working.
Countless studies show that remote workers are more productive and invested in their work than their counterparts, often working up to 1.4 days more per month. Remote staff members also demand fewer overheads and don’t require massive investments – a benefit we extol to our clients, right?!
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to the remote working trend affecting remote employees and virtual assistants alike.
86% of business executives agree that remote workers could increase a company’s chances of a security breach. We imagine many clients may be thinking the same. So, how do we ensure that we work securely in this new landscape?
Here are some virtual working security tips
Step 1: Create a Cybersecurity Policy
The first step in defending your client’s company data is ensuring that you are following the right guidelines for data protection. Shortcuts are often the main cause of security issues, especially when it comes to setting passwords and protecting data.
Don’t assume you’re logging into a system from a secure environment when you actually could be opening the door to criminals.
A strong cybersecurity policy will outline everything you and your team team members need to do to stay secure. This includes making sure that they’re using strong passwords for their accounts and that they never log into services from a public connection.
Your cybersecurity policy could also determine which applications and tools are safe for you and your associates to use when dealing with business data.
Step 2: Secure Network Connections
Access to an unsecured Wi-Fi network is one of the most common ways for virtual assistants to stumble into a security breach.
Unfortunately, a lot of VAs are using their standard Wi-Fi connections and home routers to connect to their work stations. These services aren’t always as protected as they should be.
The easiest option for you may be to implement VPNs. Using VPNs ensures that you have a direct and secure way to connect to the business network and access important information.
Make sure that any VPN you choose covers every level of encryption that’s important for you and your team.
Step 3: Consider Password Managers
Password safety is another critical part of running a secure business in the age of remote working and virtual assistance.
Virtual Assistnats are using a wide range of software solutions and accounts each day, so the number of passwords they must remember is increasing.
The result is often more and more that we resort to using repetitive and simple passwords to access tools and applications.
53% of people admit to reusing the same password for multiple accounts. While you can support your clients and team with information on how to choose more secure passwords, a password management solution may be a better option.
Password managers allow team members to access a range of tools with just one set of credentials. That means they only have a single code to remember.
“Passwords are like underwear, change them often, keep them private and never share them with anyone!”
Step 4: Explore Two-Factor Authentication
A password manager can help to make your accounts more secure – but passwords still only offer a single layer of protection. Two factor authentication could be an excellent choice for those who want to strengthen the security of remote teams.
That’s because even if someone was to figure out your password, that wouldn’t be enough to get them into your client’s account.
Multi-factor authentication requires an additional input of a limited-time code or something similar to unlock access to an account or service.
Multi-factor authentication is increasingly becoming more advanced. Today, it’s possible to build strategies that use a password and biometric data to secure services. You could protect your data with text or email authorisation, a fingerprint or retina scan.
Step 5: Remember the Basics
Technology like biometric security is opening the door to a new level of protection for today’s businesses.
While these advanced offerings could be an exciting step forward for a lot of companies, it’s worth remembering that the fundamentals are still important.
Using encryption software with your video conferencing and messaging software is a must-have in the remote world.
It’s also worth ensuring that you, your associates AND your clients have up-to-date systems for security on any devices they use, such as antivirus software, anti-malware, and phishing protection. Firewalls are even available to cover everything from tablets and computers to smartphones and other mobile devices.
Remember, mobile device management tools can also help your team to ensure that apps and security services remain up to date on your devices.
These services allow you to implement patches remotely, remove dangerous data from an employee’s hard drive, and even blacklist certain apps.
Working virtually doesn’t have to jeopardize data security. Once remote workers are fully educated in the demands of secure working, and you have the right tools in place, you can enjoy all the benefits of flexible working without the security threats.