Best Practices for Secure Remote Work

Team SafeBase
August 14, 2023

What You’ll Learn

  • The importance of implementing security measures to protect sensitive data in a remote work environment
  • Cybersecurity tips to protect data and devices with remote access

Professionals ranging from C-suite directors to customer service agents have transitioned to remote work, and many organizations (including SafeBase!) fully embrace this form of employment.

Remote work has become an integral part of modern business operations, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With it has come a surge in cyber threats and data breaches, making it imperative that businesses prioritize security while still allowing employees access to sensitive data from diverse locations. 

If you’ve already implemented remote work security protocols, regular upgrades and systems checks are necessary. Neglecting these duties might lead to successful cyberattacks and data breaches.

Protecting Devices

Securing devices is the cornerstone of an effective cybersecurity strategy. Every device used for remote work, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets, plays a critical piece of safeguarding your organization's data. These devices can be loaded with confidential business information and might be used to directly access your network. With remote teams operating on various devices, enforcing device security best practices can protect against numerous cyber threats. 

Use Antivirus Software

Installing antivirus software to scan for viruses and malware is a good place to start defending your remote networks from digital threats that can compromise sensitive data. Regularly update the antivirus software to stay ahead of emerging threats.

Regular Device Updates

Device updates are another important component of data security. Depending on the device type, updating your OS or operating system patches might be necessary.  Monitor these updates and try to install them as soon as possible. Updates often resolve newly discovered vulnerabilities. By providing clear instructions on how to install these updates or automating the process where possible, you can ensure remote devices stay up-to-date and secure. 

In some cases, it might be necessary to access cloud-based applications, like Dropbox or Google Drive, to backup data and prevent data loss in case something goes wrond during the update process. Cloud-based applications can provide a convenient way to back up your important files and documents while maininting security of your data until it is ready to be restored.

Strengthen Passwords and PINs

Focus on company-wide strong passwords, and encourage employees to do the same with their personal passwords. If a criminal can guess your password is "companyname123," your protections become useless. Consider using a password generator and two-factor authentication (2FA). Physical 2FA tools, like Yubikey, add an additional layer of protection - requiring cybercriminals to steal both the device and guess your password to access sensitive data.

Using Secure Communication Tools

Secure communication protects data from prying eyes. Secure video conferencing platforms, for instance, utilize passwords and waiting rooms to restrict access, where the conference originator chooses who gets in from the waiting room.

You need a secure messaging app as well. If a platform doesn't use end-to-end encryption, pick another platform. End-to-end encryption scrambles messages before they leave the sender's phone and decrypts them at the recipient's end. It’s one of the best ways to keep private messages private.

Encrypted email communication matters, too. Choose an email provider that uses an encrypted email protocol like Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME). This ensures only the intended recipients access the message's contents.

Avoiding Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi networks offer convenience, but they're far from secure. Cybercriminals lie in wait, ready to intercept information sent over public networks. That's why you need an alternative if your employees sometimes work at places like airports and coffee shops. Whatever option you choose, make sure to educate employees on the potential dangers of connecting to unsecured public networks.

Utilize a VPN

Encourage the use of a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic sent over the internet and tunnel that data through a third-party server. Even if an attacker captures your traffic, they won't be able to decipher it.

Find a trusted VPN provider and consider purchasing an enterprise subscription if you have multiple employees using the service. Make sure to provide clear instructions on setting up and using VPNs to avoid potential configuration errors.

Personal Hotspots or Tethering

Personal Hotspots or tethering a smartphone to a laptop are other options, although these methods depend upon the employees having access to mobile devices with unlimited data plans. These options could be viable if your company dispenses work phones.

Being Cautious with Email and Social Media

Employees represent a potential threat avenue, susceptible to phishing attacks that can lure them in through deceptive emails and social media messages. 

Train your employees to recognize phishing messages. It's important to emphasize that cybercriminals are constantly developing new tactics. Instructing employees to never click on a link or open an attachment from an unknown sender is one of the best ways to protect data.

Social media scams also can occur, but you don't have to prohibit social media access. Rolling out a comprehensive social media policy company-wide will help prevent data leaks and security breaches. The policy should clearly outline guidelines for employees regarding appropriate company device usage, disclosure of company information, and interactions with external parties on social media platforms. It should also include instructions on how to report suspicious activities and set privacy control.

And again, email encryption dilutes scammers' power and shields your company from data breaches.

Creating a Secure Home Office

A home office should be treated like a workspace and made secure. Implementing company-wide policies can significantly contribute to data safety. Here are a few ideas:

First and foremost, emphasize the importance of strong passwords for all employees. Scammers can do serious damage if they infiltrate employee WiFi networks. 

Next, limit physical access. When employees work remotely, they handle critical data that must be transmitted via the internet and will be stored on devices that could be accessed by unauthorized parties. By determining and granting appropriate permissions to only the most crucial authorized personnel, organizations can prevent unauthorized access and minimize the risk of data breaches. 

Prioritize safeguards that make it nearly impossible for sensitive data shared remotely to fall into the wrong hands. Utilizing encryption as often as possible when information must be shared can ensure secure and confidential transmission of data remotely.

Finally, ensure that employees completely erase any confidential data stored on personal laptops before disposing of them. Provide comprehensive guidelines on how to securely delete sensitive information, including a list of reliable data erasure software that can overwrite data multiple times to prevent any recovery attempts by unauthorized individuals. Implementing remote monitoring tools can also ensure employees comply with data erasure protocols and allow IT to step in if it was done improperly.


Remote work isn't going anywhere. It's a viable solution to many problems organizations face and offers flexibility for modern employees – but not without risk. Secure remote work is an ongoing commitment that demands constant vigilance from everyone on the team. The proper security measures help protect data and prevent cybercriminals from accessing networks, devices, and emails.

Prioritizing security takes time and resources, but it's the only way to protect your business while working remotely. Utilizing the practices above can allow your organization to confidently embrace the benefits of remote work without compromising data integrity.

Prioritize the security of your business and empower your security team to create a resilient defense against evolving cyber threats in a remote work environment. Contact SafeBase to schedule a free demo and explore how our platform can help you showcase your security policies and build long-lasting customer trust even when working remotely.

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