No matter how big or small a company is, cybersecurity must be implemented. Cybercriminals don't choose the size of a company they attack. They target anyone who they think is vulnerable.
Technology has paved different ways, such as creating multiple job opportunities and innovating paths to make life easier. But as technologies advance, similarly do the tools and methods of cybercriminals.
Now, the so-called gig or freelancing economy is becoming well-known. There are thousands of companies that hire remote developers.
These are the factors that influence the company's security, whether you hire an in-house or a remote developer:
- Use of unsecured WI-FI: Unsecured WI-FI becomes a gateway for hackers to enter your system. Anyone connected to your company's WI-FI network can access your data. Using unsecured WI-FI is similar to using a public WI-FI.
- Use of personal device: BYOD or Bring Your Own Device is also a risk. It's common to use your own device at work. Employees find it easy to manage their work email or other tasks. But using an unsecured device can bring threats to your business.
- Loss of devices: Another problem might be the physical loss of the device. When a device is lost, there could be a chance that the information might be stolen from the employee's computer.
- Lack of knowledge: Some employees are not aware of cybersecurity, whether they are in-house or remote developers. The lack of knowledge means the employees won't be able to protect the company's data in case of a real threat.
- Weak passwords: Password guessing is one of the first things hackers do to steal data. Most hackers are aware that people don't secure their login credentials with a strong password. This makes it easier for them to get what they need. Employees also do the same. They use personal information when creating a password for their work accounts.
- Social engineering: Someone can trick employees into giving away their passwords. This is how social engineering works. The hacker tries to gain the trust of an employee until they eventually give their login credentials away.
If your developers are informed about cybersecurity, they will find ways to secure their devices and protect their content.
How to educate your remote developers about cybersecurity
Training your remote workers must be part of your business plan. Allocating even a small amount of money and time to educating your employees about the risks of cyber threats is rather beneficial. In the long run, it could save you more — your business will not be an easy target because of your employees' knowledge and safe practices. Also, provide updates about the latest news and trends in cybersecurity.
Avoid public Wi-fi or educate developers about the proper use of it
Require your remote developers to use a secure, encrypted Internet connection when working with your company's data. There are times when this isn't possible. Therefore, if they can't avoid using free WI-FI, inform them on their following operations.
For example, you can ask them to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing the company's data or website with public connections. VPN secures the data going in and out. Therefore, it avoids anyone to take a peek at your data or steal it.
Use two-factor authentification (2FA)
When you grant access to your company's website or data, ask your developers to secure their accounts with 2FA. It is a method to double the security of an account. Even though a hacker or thief knows your password, they won't be able to log in without a verification code.
It's even better to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It's a three-step process to verify your account instead of a two-step process. The 2FA is secure, however, the use of MFA multiplies security by several times.
Avoid using unsecured software
There are free legitimate and safe tools for developers, but their functions are limited. Availing paid tools is expensive, that's why some developers opt for free fully functioning tools without knowing that they are carriers of malware. To avoid this risk, provide your developers with all the necessary tools they need, especially if you're looking for a long term collaboration.
Use strong passwords
Decoding one's password is the first thing cybercriminals resort to. The simpler the password, the better for them. Passwords like the name of a city, a pet, or a favorite thing should be discouraged. Instead, instruct your remote employees on using strong passwords to minimize data loss risk. A strong password must have a combination of upper and lower cases, at least one symbol, and numbers. It should contain more than ten characters.
Secure their devices
Ask your employees to secure their devices, such as laptops and mobile phones, with strong passwords. Ask them to install an app that could locate their devices, in case it was stolen. This app can also delete a device's data remotely.
Restrict access to certain websites
Providing a device for your remote workers is expensive. Therefore, it's best to instruct them to use separate devices for work and personal use. But if this isn't possible, you can educate them on how they can keep their devices safe. For this, limit websites they can visit.
How to know if a website is safe?
- It has an SSL certificate.
- It must contain contact information.
- It must have a verified or secure seal.
- Draw attention to malware signs like suspicious pop-ups, suspicious ads, etc.
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Developers use a lot of tools and software during their work. Be it SaaS software for project management, HR, or CRM, always remind your programmers to update them. Such actions will prevent cybercriminals from acquiring access to developers' computers.
Install security software
Inform your remote workers on the importance of installing security software on their devices. There are free software programs available to protect devices, but with limited features. If you want to ensure the security of your company's data, provide your remote employees with security software.
Train how to recognize a cybersecurity threat scenario
Since anyone can fall victim to social engineering, it is crucial to educate your employees about such probability. Train them to read the signals of a person attempting to gain their trust. Also, inform them not to attach and install any device to their work computer, especially if it is from an unknown source.
Avoid clicking on links
Email phishing is a common strategy used by cybercriminals to attack. Despite the abundance of such tactics all over, many people still fall for this trick. It's best to advise your remote employees to avoid clicking on links that look suspicious, such as an email informing you have won a contest or cash, or an email that asks you to change your login credentials.
Learn to tell a fake app from a real one
Being a developer presupposes the use of versatile apps and software to manage daily tasks. Educate your employees to notice the signs of a fake app. Inform them about this to avoid installing malware into their device.
What to check before downloading an app?
- Name of the app
- Name of the developer
- Date released
- Screenshots and description
- Number of Downloads
Educating your remote developers, especially those who have access to your company's website, can decrease the chances of cyberattacks. Often, threats happen due to negligence or lack of knowledge, but if you inform your employees, it could be avoided.
Also, remind them to report in case their devices were stolen or they noticed any suspicious activities on their devices.
Although practicing all the things mentioned doesn't guarantee 100% protection, at least it ensures that you are less likely to experience cybersecurity attacks.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia - the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.