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Is Your Hybrid Workforce Working Out?

There can be no doubt that the pandemic has permanently shifted the way many people work. While it seems like the entire world rapidly switched to working from home in 2020, the shift back to offices has been slow and, in many cases, changed to either a workforce permanently functioning from home or a hybrid workforce that splits time between home and the office.

Now is a good time for IT departments to perform a self-checkup to ensure your hybrid networks are safe and meet your needs. Here are some tips to safeguard your network.

Ensure that all employees are using company-issued computers. Always.

It can be so easy for employees to jump on their personal laptops to check email or log into the business’s project management software. What employees view as a quick, harmless act can expose the company to unnecessary security risks. Insisting that company computers are always and only used for work is a necessity.

Review antivirus and internet security software.

Ensure that your antivirus software suite is comprehensive and protects against the full complement of security threats. Review that each of these threats (that can all lead to ransomware attacks) are met by your suite:

  • Phishing Scams – particularly those sent by email
  • Malware, spyware, and viruses
  • Zero-day attacks – which is an unknown exploit that exposes a vulnerability in software or hardware and can create complicated problems well before anyone realizes something is wrong
  • Trojans and Worms

The best antivirus software suites protect against all threats and update themselves automatically, ensuring you are constantly protected from emerging threats.

Confirm employees only use company-owned devices

This is another situation where it can be so easy for an employee to allow a child or spouse to use their computer to look at emails or log on for virtual school instruction and, at the same time, expose your network to security concerns.

Confirming that company devices are only used for company work ensures a level of comfort and protection.

Utilize a central storage solution

Have you embraced cloud computing? If so, establishing the expectation that all employees are storing and backing up to the cloud is vital. Cloud storage protects your company; if it is compromised, you have a backup of your necessary files. Reviewing this practice with employees can help provide them and your business with assurances that it is appropriately utilized.

DQE Communications can help provide additional reassurances by providing private and direct connectivity to top-tier cloud service providers.

Use strong, safe passwords

This one seems self-explanatory, but it’s worth revisiting with your staff, particularly when considering the hybrid work environment. While your email solution may regularly remind staff to change their password, think about how many of your team may have never changed their wi-fi password from the one initially assigned by their network provider or that came with the router.

It would also be wise to encourage work from home staff to change their SSID, the name of their wireless network, to something that makes it more difficult for people to identify who the network belongs to. Think about how many times you’ve searched available wi-fi networks in your neighborhood and see “Smith-HOME” pop up as someone’s network name. It’s easy to surmise that’s your neighbor Joe Smith’s network.

Select a network provider with colocation capabilities

Your digital file storage is a vital component of a thriving network system, and the need for secure off-site storage is fundamental. Colocation benefits businesses of all sizes. For example, smaller companies can benefit from the features of a large IT department without a costly investment. Larger organizations can develop their data storage capacity without expensive construction or facility leasing.

DQE offers state-of-the-art colocation sites situated in downtown Pittsburgh and Butler, PA. DQE can provide reliable data storage wherever is most suitable for your company’s security needs.

Many of these solutions rely on employee knowledge, training, and cooperation. Perhaps now is a good time for a company-wide training session or, even more accessible, creating a checklist reminder for all employees. Empowering staff to be partners in safeguarding the security of your network is a great strategy to enhance and improve the overall security of your hybrid work systems.

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Please note: DQE does not provide services to residential addresses.