2020 has been an interesting year considering the Covid 19 pandemic, US presidential election, and other events. This year has also caused more people to work remotely and spend more time online. So, banks must ensure that their information is secure.

In fact, cybersecurity firms have reported an 800% increase in hackings and data breaches since the pandemic started. Some of these attacks have included hijacking video conferences, holding data hostage for ransom, and more. Use the following 7 best practices to ensure your bank will have top-notch remote security.

1. Secure WiFi

Having secure and reliable WiFi is one of the most important methods to improve cybersecurity in banking. One way to obtain secure wifi is to work on a private wifi network with your current phone carrier. Usually, these are available for a nominal cost, which can vary per provider. You can use the mobile hotspot feature to ensure your remote workforce has access to this private wifi network.

Using a private wifi network will prevent sneaky attacks from someone on the public network. This tool will also guarantee that others won’t be able to monitor your traffic. It’s also important to work in private, secure locations without having confidential information out in the open. Many employees might want to work in coffee shops or other public places, which could put this information in jeopardy.

Another way to improve your workforce security is to have your employees’ change their passwords from the network default. Motivate your employees to create strong passwords with various types of characters and numbers. Many regulated industries, including financial services, strongly encourage their employees to change passwords once a quarter!

2. Create A Clear Acceptable Use Policy

The best businesses are transparent, especially when it comes to employee policies. Having clear rules will help your remote workforce stay on track and strengthen your cybersecurity.

One easy step is to provide employees with company approved work devices (i.e laptops). From there, clearly define what they can and can’t use this company laptop for. This will help distinguish the separation between work and personal device purposes.

Something as simple as checking work email on a personal device can lead to risks when it comes to cybersecurity in banking. Most larger companies have entire IT departments that run anti-virus scans and have strict workforce security protocols, which many personal devices lack.

Another important remote workforce management tool that will help provide this balance and  security is a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN will pass all of your data via an encrypted tunnel, protecting it from hackers. It will also mask your IP address, so it won’t be exposed.

3. Train Employees on Phishing Scams

Like the above point, this next remote security best practice is related to employee management. Besides having clear rules, provide your employees with regular, mandatory cybersecurity training. Your employees don’t need to become IT experts, but at least educate them on the fundamentals like phishing.

Phishing refers to unscrupulous hackers using emails, social media messages/posts, and even phone calls to steal confidential information.

Some ways to avoid phishing attacks include:

  • Not opening email attachments from an unknown third party.
  • Never sending password information via email.
  • Avoiding sites without an SSL certificate. These sites will say “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS”. Using a secure site is extremely important if you plan to buy products from it. SSL certificates also help with SEO, as Google gives more favorable rankings to secure sites.
  • Being wary of abbreviated links. While sites like bit.ly can make links shorter and less intimidating; they can also hide information. Carefully right click and paste the questionable link into checkshorturl.com to see what it actually says.

4. Mobile Device Management

The line between work and life has become more blurry with a remote workforce. Many employees are using their mobile phones to work. While this can improve convenience, it can worsen cybersecurity in banking. Having an encrypted app is a key remote security tool that will secure communications.

Be sure to encourage your employees to avoid connecting their smartphones to public wifi. It’s also prudent to control the permissions within your smartphone. You can choose whether certain apps can access your camera, microphone, or even email contacts.

Controlling permissions can also prevent apps from bombarding your team with unnecessary notifications. Not only does this improve security, but productivity will increase as your team will be more focused. Another way to improve productivity is to work in time blocks without having access to a mobile device, social media, or other distractions.

5. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi Factor Authentication is another important tool to protect against cybersecurity attacks. One example is by having a user enter in login credentials and then generating a secure code to be sent to either a mobile phone or email. This adds an extra layer of security as hackers won’t be able to access this information. Many banks use this to make financial transactions more secure.

There are three categories of MFAs which are knowledge, possession, inheritance.

Knowledge

Some MFAs that fall under the knowledge category are PINs and personal questions. Pins are usually a 4-6 numeric code. Some personal questions could be mother’s maiden name, favorite childhood hero, the town where your parents met, etc.

Possession

Temporary codes being sent to registered mobile phones and emails fall under this category. Generally, these codes are only valid for 15-20 minutes and you’d have to get a new one after this time has passed. Access badges, software tokens, USB devices and security badges are included in this category as well.

Inheritace

This is a relatively new category which includes finger print, facial and voice recognition. Out of all the categories, this one is the most secure since it’s the most personalized.

6. Develop Well-Documented Processes

Having well documented processes will clearly outline how to enhance your bank’s remote security. It’ll outline best cybersecurity in banking practices to avoid being susceptible to attacks. Some items to include would be setting up Multi Factor Authentiction, schedule of IT trainings, phishing red flags guide, and more.

These processes can also include auditing your current technology to see if there are any risks. For example, you could use this time to replace unencrypted USB drives with encrypted ones. Another possibility might be having to reassess employee tasks that could have room for error.

One case could be auto-populating important data like Social Security numbers into transaction forms, instead of having employees manually fill them out. Not only will this increase remote security, but it’ll make your employees more efficient.

7. Promote a Workforce Security Minded Culture

Education is the key to success, especially with remote workforce management and cybersecurity in banking. Besides having mandatory training and classes, create an open workforce. Many times, people can feel insecure by asking seemingly obvious questions. Promptly asking questions and getting quick solutions can enhance remote security.

Even the smartest and most genuine employees make mistakes. Having a security minded culture encourages these employees to quickly report errors to IT Besides this, most industries have regulatory compliance like HIPPA for healthcare and FINRA rules for financial services. Another way to create a security minded culture is to educate your employees on relevant industry regulations.

Bottom Line

More people, especially your employees, are spending more time online. Remote work has become a necessity for most businesses, which has led to a rise in compromised data.

This might seem intimidating, but there are several strategies that you can use to improve your remote workforce management processes. Simple methods include using a VPN, providing phishing training, and promoting a security-minded culture which can help protect your bank against cybersecurity breaches.

Need help ensuring your communications will be secure and compliant? Schedule a consultation with our experienced team today!