If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that no business is safe from cyberattack. Some of the biggest and most sophisticated business operations across the globe have experienced data breaches, including Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and multiple financial institutions – big and small.

Most businesses are aware of the importance of keeping their information safe. However, you might not often consider the importance of cybersecurity throughout the hiring process.

When you’re hiring remote workers especially, cybersecurity becomes an even greater priority. You’re unable to simply hire one IT professional for everyone’s needs. When you have people working across the globe, keeping the network secure is essential for everyone’s safety.

That starts during the onboarding process.

Let’s dive deeper into how you can protect your employees and your company throughout this process, and why extra precautions are essential.

The Importance of Cybersecurity During the Onboarding Process

If you already have a formal onboarding process for your remote employees, you’re in good shape. Only about 22% of companies have one, but it can make bringing new employees into your business so much easier. If you don’t have an onboarding process, it’s never too late to adopt one. While every business’s process will look slightly different, you can get started by implementing the following stages:

  • Preparation
  • Orientation
  • Integration
  • Engagement
  • Follow-up

Onboarding is important for a variety of reasons. It helps your new employees (especially those working remotely) get familiar with their roles. It introduces them to company culture and allows them to feel like part of the team.

By including cybersecurity precautions in your onboarding process, you’ll also show your new employees that you care about their safety. One of the best things you can do during the process is to train your new employees on how to identify certain threats, including insider threats from other remote co-workers. The more educated your staff, the less likely it will be that you experience a data breach from the inside.

How to Safely Onboard Your Employees

In addition to educating your employees about potential threats, there are things you can do to make the onboarding process more secure for everyone.

Start by ensuring your employees’ networks are secured. One of the benefits of working remotely is that it gives people the ability to do their work almost anywhere. However, if your employees are working in a bookstore or coffee shop, they’re likely on an unsecured network or using public Wi-Fi. Discourage them from doing that, and make sure their home network has strong password protection.

Additionally, introduce your new employees to different platforms and hubs you use within your workspace by registering them with two-factor authentication. Whether you have sensitive documents, team collaborations on message boards, or important private data that only certain people should be able to see, doubling up on the authentication and verification of each employee is essential.

Finally, train new employees on what they should do if a cyber-attack occurs. You can do that as a part of your standard training procedures, or you can try “live fire” practice attacks that come through your own security department.

Like a fire drill or tornado drill in an office setting, these practice attacks will better equip everyone to learn from their mistakes and figure out the best way to manage things if a real attack were to occur. It’s easy for new employees to panic when something goes wrong. These drills can prevent that from happening, preparing the right people to take action quickly.

Protecting Your Data and Implementing Cybersecurity Strategies That Work

As you start to make cybersecurity a more prominent part of your onboarding process, you’ll be able to tweak your digital handbook and best practices for both current and new employees. Consistent training will always be the key to ensuring all employees are up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity threats, knowing exactly how to prepare and respond.

As a business, however, it’s just as important for you to take precautions from the inside out. Your new employees should protect your company, but you also need to focus on protecting your employees – especially as they’re just starting out.

You can do that by implementing tried and true cybersecurity strategies that work, including:

  • Monitoring online communication through web filtering
  • Improving password management
  • Creating new backups frequently
  • Keeping software up-to-date

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major boost in remote work across the globe. While that’s been beneficial for many businesses, it’s also increased the need to implement new cybersecurity processes — especially during onboarding. By ensuring that your new remote employees understand how to keep your business and themselves safe, your data will be more secure, and everyone will be on the same page when it comes to handling attacks effectively. Take the time to implement some of these practices into your onboarding process, and you’ll have greater peace of mind when it comes to your remote workers and their safety.

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