Monitoring also a security measure

Janet Arrowood

Your employees could be the best, most trustworthy group on the planet. But working remotely, particularly at home, poses a unique set of security related problems. Sometimes monitoring software is needed to ensure the security of company operations and protect trade or other secrets.

According to information cited by EnterpriseAppsToday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation saw a 300 percent increase in reported cybercrime attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s predicted the United States will be a soft target for more than half of cybercrime attacks in another five years.

Why are you and your employees such a soft target? Because your home and other remote working environments  — think coffee shops, airport lounges and libraries —  aren’t secure. Too many people use older versions of Windows or Apple operating systems. Routers still have factory security codes that can be found online. Most people use passwords that are weak and easy to guess. Security software is out of date or non-existent. Computers could be compromised with viruses, trackers and malware.

How can you manage these shortcomings and avoid problems? Hire an information technology firm or use your in-house IT assets to ensure remote employees are:

Using the latest version of their operating systems. You could have to get additional licenses since employees could be working on home computers. Then you need to ensure employees load and update software.

Changing passwords frequently and making passwords lengthy and complicated. Using a child’s or pet’s name, their birth date or the name of their high school or university doesn’t cut it. Think about a new account you established and what sort of requirement it had for your password. Probably something like: Passwords must be at least 10 characters long with at least one capital letter, one number, one special symbol and no words.

Not sharing computers with children or other risky users. Children are notorious for going to websites they shouldn’t and clicking on cool looking icons. Those icons are a surefire way for viruses, malware and tracking software to insinuate themselves into computers.

Running daily virus, malware and tracking software scans.

Monitoring software that tracks the websites your employees visit could be valuable from a security perspective since this tracking enables your IT team to quickly assess potential security problems.

In addition, your IT team can proactively block access to selected URLs and extensions, ensure the websites visited have valid and current security certificates and preemptively block known or potentially risky websites.

If your employees use or could use personal computers for part or all of their work activities, insist the preceding measures are implemented.

To protect employees’ privacy when they’re using their computers for personal activities, your IT team can set up a partition with a separate password that’s not tracked but still secure.

As with other forms of monitoring, transparency dictates employees know they’re being monitored. This monitoring is especially important when you’re trying to make your company systems as secure as possible. An informed employee is more likely to buy in to the need for security compliance.