Strategies Companies Can Use to Secure Employee PCs
With more people working remotely than ever before along with hybrid employees and the traditional office environment, it is more important than ever to ensure that any PCs issued to or used by employees are properly secured. Given that thousands and thousands of cybersecurity breaches can be traced directly to mistakes or misconduct by employees, taking steps to secure their PCs and other devices will help to minimize and mitigate such issues. Find out more about the best strategies companies can use to secure employee PCs and how they will protect your employees from threats both internally and externally.
Set a Firm Policy on PC Usage and Online Conduct for all Employees
The best strategies for corporate security is to have a set policy in place regarding what is considered acceptable behavior when using PC and other equipment issues by your organization. Your employees should also receive regular training or briefings about said policies and be issued digital handbooks which offer truncated versions of your rules and regulations. Since employees are much more likely to follow policies once they understand the risks and penalties for doing so, taking the time to educate employees will pay dividends for years to come.
Use Strict Password Requirements Along with Multi-Factor Authentication
Much like the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your company is only one compromised employee password away from potential devastation. For this reason, one of the simplest and most effective means to preventing such incidents is to implement policies regarding both password requirements as well as how often employees must create new passwords. Such password requirements should include the use of numbers, letters and special characters on top of having to reset their passwords every three to six months.
Another excellent means of ensuring that only authorized individuals can gain access to a PC and the apps and services it contains is by employing MFA or multi-factor authentication. This technology works in concert with your existing password system and helps to provide further security by making an employee undergo at least a two step process to validate their identity and gain access. There are several methods that MFA depends on to identify users, including biometric security measures like voice recognition and fingerprint scanning, one time passcodes sent via email or text message, and downloading a verification app which generates random codes valid for short times only.
Set Up a Webmaster or Head of IT to Administrate Individual Access Levels
Since the sharing of passwords amongst multiple people can easily lead to chaos, you should strictly limit each employee to the access they need to perform their job and nothing more. Rather than having the keys to the proverbial kingdom being passed from hand to hand, users should only be able to access apps and services which you have deemed appropriate and necessary for the completion of their work. While some people will almost always register complaints about not being able to spend time on social media or lack the ability to download or install apps without express permission from the administrator, the best security practices take precedence.
The administrator should also take responsibility for ensuring that all security updates are installed as soon as possible after their release. Given the ever-changing nature of threats to your business’s cybersecurity including vishing, phishing, social engineering techniques and much more, the importance of keeping everything updated to the latest possible version cannot be overstated.
Do Not Rely on Public Wi-Fi and Create a Secure Network as Soon as Possible
While it might be tempting to reduce your costs and overhead by using a publicly available Wi-Fi network to conduct your business activities, but doing so comes with significant risks. For those who are unaware, many legitimate public Wi-Fi networks are not only slow and inefficient, they also provide cybercriminals with ideal hunting ground for potential victims. This technique is so popular that some cybercriminals even set up fake free Wi-Fi hotspots to collect login credentials for later use and exploitation.
When you consider the breadth of Wi-Fi technology that is both available and reasonably priced to a wide range of budgets, there is virtually no excuse to not set up your own secure Wi-Fi network and prevent illegal data collection. With features including WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3), multiple bands including both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, and AES 256-bit encryption available on some models of Wi-Fi router, you can easily upgrade both your security and your efficiency in one fell swoop.
Consider Using Both a VPN and Encrypted Emails for the Best Security
When it comes to cybersecurity best practices, you should ideally use all the tools available at your disposal to safeguard employee PCs and other devices. Although the above suggestions will certainly have a significant impact, you should also strongly consider using both a VPN (virtual private network) as well as an encrypted email service for maximum security. Many businesses equipped with VPNs will require their employees to sign into said VPN before being able to access services like corporate email, affording additional levels of protection.
Those employees working from home should be especially careful when sharing valuable or sensitive information using their normal setup, though these concerns can be somewhat mitigated through the use of encrypted email services. Individual use of such services is alright for freelancers, but official employees emails being encrypted must be enacted at the executive level.
Though there is ultimately no way to completely secure employee PCs, these strategies will go a long way towards preventing the vast majority of incidents. Check out the website of your preferred security providers to learn more about products and services that may be of use.
About Dan Martin: Daniel Martin is a technology researcher and writer with more than a decade of experience. He is a professional librarian and an experienced tech teacher, writer and blogger. Specializing in technology, Dan has taught courses in technology and writing at the college level, developed web pages for businesses and higher educational institutions, written on tech topics for leading national publications and created numerous how-to guides.