How to Protect Remote Employees from Identity Theft

Having your identity stolen is, without a doubt, an extremely stressful, vulnerable experience. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, even those who are seemingly the most tech-savvy. According to a 2021 Javelin study, identity theft cost U.S. businesses around $56 billion in 2021 alone.

Especially since many people are working remotely these days, it is becoming increasingly important for employees to practice recommended online safety measures. With the rapid adoption of remote work, particularly over the past few years, many companies have shifted their processes to accommodate remote workers. The change has also compelled IT departments to reexamine strategies for managing workers outside of the traditional office setting. Remote workers also may be inadvertently endangering the security of their company’s data.

Here are some ways to keep remote workers protected from burdensome incidents such as identity theft — resultingly keeping companies safe from further harmful acts.

Install the right antivirus software

Antivirus software acts as a shield that prohibits hackers from entering systems by detecting and removing malware. Make sure staff members are constantly keeping their software up to date.

Keep work devices updated

As manufacturers release new software updates to operating systems, it’s crucial to install the latest versions as soon as possible. Many of these routine updates include enhanced security measures, which essentially make it harder for hackers to infiltrate systems and steal data.

Practice camera and microphone safety

Fraudsters are known for using some shockingly invasive methods to access people’s data, including eavesdropping via their devices’ webcams and built-in microphones. Invest in software that protects remote workers’ computer and smartphone cameras and microphones. Webcam privacy covers are another popular solution.

Educate employees on cybersecurity best practices

Virtually any device is susceptible to being manipulated. Moreover, any person is subject to having their identity stolen. To help prevent cases of identity theft and other cyber-attacks, all employees, whether they work in the office or remotely, should be instructed to:

  • Use a VPN (virtual private network). Never connect to a public Wi-Fi network, particularly when traveling or briefly working in a third space such as a coffee shop.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information or accessing personal accounts (e.g., bank accounts, health records, photo albums, etc.) on designated work devices.
  • Always use company devices outfitted with extra security for work purposes.
  • Never leave work devices unattended, especially in public areas.
  • Create strong, complex passwords and update passwords periodically.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for additional layers of security to accounts.
  • Always use caution when video conferencing and screen sharing. Keep personal or work files out of sight and entirely off-screen.

At Rural Mutual, protecting our customers is our top priority, and we prioritize staying on top of the latest cybersecurity trends affecting users everywhere. To learn more about how you can keep your employees safe from identity theft and other common issues, contact your local agent.