A global pandemic has permanently shifted the way we work. In fact, 16% of all companies around the globe now run entirely on a remote model. While a remote workforce offers unmistakable benefits, it also poses unique risks. Companies must ensure network security for their remote workers, a difficult task when employees log in from various networks and locations. However, companies can minimize risk while maximizing productivity.

1. Use a VPN

Because your employees send sensitive data that may belong to clients or partners over the Web, a home network just isn’t secure enough for remote work. However, using a VPN protects data through encryption so that employees can work from anywhere.

2. Offer Training Specific to Remote Work

Employees accustomed to working in an office have had an entire IT team to ensure their devices and connection are functional and secure. The same isn’t true for remote workers. The average employee is no IT expert, so offer training specific for working from home to ensure they know the differences and risks, especially regarding phishing attacks.

3. Enforce Multifactor Authentication

Despite the network security measures listed above, hackers have succeeded in accessing information with little effort through phishing attacks. One way to make a hacker’s ‘job’ that much more difficult is to enforce multifactor authentication or MFA. MFA requires employees to provide information, such as a one-time code, when logging in. Even if someone obtains an employee’s password, they can’t do anything with it when you use MFA.

4. Keep Devices Separate

The cost of providing secure laptops to remote workers is far less than that of a data breach. Employers should ensure that everyone logging in from outside of the office does so from a device that is secure and up-to-date. Training should emphasize that these devices are only for work (software can block non-work traffic). Finally, IT needs access to these devices to provide support or install updates.

5. Be Aware of ‘Shadow IT’

Remote workers may use unauthorized software to find or send work-related information, including communicating with other employees. Programs that fall outside of company technology are known as ‘shadow IT’ and provide a unique risk. However, businesses can determine what apps employees want to use and find safe alternatives to accomplish those goals, minimizing the risk of shadow IT and prioritizing network security.

With these tips, your remote workforce should remain secure. It’s essential to take the necessary steps to minimize the risks associated with being out of the office.