Fully 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For many marketing organizations, that's a significant disruption: Working remotely requires different tools, a new management approach, and careful attention to data privacy and security.

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Peter McClelland manages the in-house legal affairs of Threat Sketch, a strategic cyber-risk management company that provides tools for professionals to increase their clients' cybersecurity and privacy position and decrease risk.

I invited Peter to Marketing Smarts to talk about the risks of going remote, along with steps you can take to protect yourself and your company.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation.

Making your team remote creates more points of contact for hackers to exploit (02:30) "When you take things that had been in-person communication—talking to someone down the hall, having a meeting in a conference room—and you're shifting that towards Zoom, increase in emails, possible increase in wire or electronic money delivery, obviously you're going to have a lot more points of contact where a bad actor...is able to access an enterprise's system and conduct whatever malicious activity they had set out to do."

"The number-one thing that folks should be trying to do, the first step before anything else, should be threat intelligence. Get an idea of where threats are coming from.... If you're seeing there's a great increase in threats coming from particular areas that are known from trying to get money, you'll want to make sure you're taking extra precautions in your business email.

"Make sure you're not clicking on any links that you really shouldn't, because you possibly have a ransomware attack. And make sure you're checking any transfer of funds to make sure it's a legitimate request and legitimately authorized."

Employees should set up two-factor authentication on their accounts (5:00) "Employees, individually, should be doing some things to help their enterprise, and your marketing organization should have rules in place to guide people towards doing it. The first thing folks should be doing is making sure they have two-factor authentication activated on their work email addresses, Zoom accounts, anything along those lines.

"Because if someone happens to have gotten your password through a hack you don't know about or some other way, that [two-factor authentication] will make it so a text has to go to your phone or some other method before they can actually access your account. So you can flag if it's not a legitimate request to access an account and it'll get shut off. You should be doing that anyway, but now is better than a week from now. If you weren't doing this already, now's a great time to start."

Choose a secure password, because facial recognition and retinal scans are too risky (for now) (09:50) "Biometrics are progressing.... There are a lot of laws that govern health and biometrics that make a lot of privacy concerns about that. There are a lot of ways that this kind of information could be misused. And that is the main reason companies have been hesitant to incorporate it. Because if they lose your biometric information, there's no real way to make that right.

"If it's facial recognition software, your facial algorithm can't change. The computer's always going to be able to find you. Your thumbprint...you're not going to be able to change that, and your retina's certain not changeable, as well. So that's been a lot of the hesitation towards incorporating [biometrics] into security."

To learn more, visit ThreatSketch.com. You can also follow Peter on Twitter at @CountryTechEsq.

Peter and I talked about much more, including the two most pressing threats to enterprise security right now, so be sure and listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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