The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced companies worldwide to make a huge shift from traditional office working to remote working. However, the way organisations have prepared for the realities and risks that comes with it often differs. For starters, companies that have been implementing work-from-home policies have transitioned to the ’new normal’ quite efficiently than those organisations that haven’t yet. For businesses who are less prepared, switching to remote working only means facing crucial IT risks without the necessary protection in place.
To prepare the entire organisation, HR leaders should create efficient policies that can help mitigate the risks often associated with remote work.
Why Manage Remote Working Risks?
Unlike in a traditional work environment where most business aspects can be easily handled and controlled, a remote workplace comes with a list of information security risks. In order to make the home-based setup work, more and more companies are implementing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy which leads to employees using unsecured networks and accessing critical data and information remotely. Furthermore, it increases the chances of missing regular risk and compliance training that is often held in a physical work environment.
In this case, remote-access technologies are exposed to more sophisticated, external threats. To make an organisation an unattractive target to any cybersecurity breach, boosting employee awareness can be of great help. HR leaders and their staff should ensure that remote employees aren’t putting the entire business at risk through information security lapses.
What HR Can Do to Maintain Cybersecurity for Remote Workers
Indeed, information security threats are rapidly evolving. As such, the requirements for security compliance are becoming more and more complex. To address both challenges, HR leaders must build a comprehensive HR security policy.
Here’s a list of powerful ways HR teams can follow to maintain robust cybersecurity for remote employees:
Implementing policies to strengthen IT security
In this day and age where the number of successful attacks rapidly increases, HR leaders should focus on creating policies that can strengthen IT security. Organisations should invest time and effort in discovering new technologies, introducing new HR policies and developing remote training programs.
To better understand the risks associated with IT security and how to manage them efficiently, HR leaders should also consider collaborating with the IT department.
Appealing to personal interests
The primary rule in marketing is to understand the audience by appealing to their interests. Surprisingly, the same rule also applies to human resources. Since security issues may not seem to concern an employee’s personal life, HR leaders must find a way to bridge information security into something the employees would care about.
One best way is to explain to employees how valuable cybersecurity is not just for the business but for their individual safety as well. With robust cybersecurity, their personal data which includes family members’ information often indicated on the company’s health plan, can be protected.
Most often than not, employees pay more attention when they understand that their safety is at risk. As such, it is critical to let them know the why behind the security measures instead of simply imposing security precautions.
Committing to personal device security training
One of the biggest roles of the human resources department is to educate their employees regarding actions that can possibly result in security risks and how these risks can compromise the entire business.
In most cases, employees engage in risky activities without knowing the risks that come with it. They tend to use their personal devices for work and allow other people to use their work computers without thinking about data security. Despite the significant number of successful security breaches, many employees still believe they are working securely.
To protect organisations from possible threats, HR leaders should consider establishing educational programs that can help employees discover security best practices and provide them with the necessary tools required for the operation.
Establishing a highly secure environment
Unsecured networks, such as those that are found in a home environment, are considered as one of the most common security threats. Unlike on-site networks that most companies usually invest in, home networks are highly exposed to a significant number of risks.
To minimise the chances of successful attacks, HR leaders can impose the use of VPNs for remote employees. Most reliable VPNs can protect IP addresses, providing robust security on all types of connections.
Utilising mobile device management systems
Unlike in a traditional office setup where managers can monitor their employees easily through company systems, monitoring workers remotely can be challenging especially when they are using their own devices.
To address this, investing in technology that will allow monitoring and access to critical documents and applications while providing robust security can be of great help.
Monitoring employee productivity
While this technique may seem intrusive, monitoring employee productivity is a common and effective practice used by many organisations to address security concerns.
For HR leaders, the use of monitoring software can be beneficial in ensuring that employees are maintaining the same amount of in-office security despite working remotely.
Apart from the things listed above, there are still a lot of ways HR leaders can do to maintain robust cybersecurity for remote employees. But more importantly, creating a strong HR policy, committing to regular training and investing in new technologies can surely help in managing remote working risks.
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