7 Tips to Secure Collaboration with Remote Designers & Developers

Remote resources can be incredibly cost effective but they aren't without their risks. Learn these 7 tips to securely engage them.


Working with sensitive information across remote teams may leave your infrastructure vulnerable to certain attacks.

With hackers and security issues running rampant across a variety of industries, searching for secure, reliable ways to share workflows online is important for the success of a business. Thankfully, taking certain measures to protect remote teams can ensure information stays in the right hands at all times.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your projects and data in safekeeping, here are 6 tips you can use to secure collaboration with remote developers.

Find Security-Minded Freelancers

Outsourcing to remote workers is being used more and more. As Dann Albright, staff writer at Recruitment.com explains, “In a rapidly changing technological environment, organizations need to have access to a highly educated, skilled workforce. And keeping that workforce on staff doesn't always make sense. Outsourcing projects means companies can always hire contractors with the latest skills.”

Finding great freelance talent is critical to getting projects done on time and on budget, but without the proper security protocols in place, a project can become a cybersecurity disaster.

Limit Developer Access When Possible

Since you’re working with remote developers, chances are that they won’t need root access to your servers.

Instead, it’s better to set up remote developers with delegated access to any necessary files. This way, they can read and write information within certain folders and not have full authority to browse or change information anywhere else.

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In either case, whether it’s logging in with root access for full administrative authority, or assigning delegated access for limited use, it’s always best to establish remote connections through an SSH (secure shell) connection. Doing so allows devices to access remote servers and cloud technologies via a secure connection at all times.

Limit Access to Hosting Sites

Within this idea of limiting developer access, it’s also worth mentioning that you can limit access to your hosting site as well.

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Quite often, companies may not host their own websites, which means they may have to give up access to remote developers in order to make changes or complete new projects. If this is the case, you can limit your developer’s actions with delegated access that prevents them from tampering with administrative functions and account information.

In some cases, your remote developer may even offer site-hosting on their own. Your IT department can easily redirect your site to the developer’s IP address if you want to transfer site maintenance. However, be wary that your remote developer has full control over your site moving forward.

Use File-Transfer Protocol

Many remote developers have their own workflows set up for a variety of projects.

Especially with smaller development projects, like editing a website or coding automated email commands, remote developers may upload files directly to a server. When they do, they should use a file-transfer protocol (FTP) to ensure a safe connection between multiple remote systems.

(Sourced from geeksforgeeks.org)

Essentially, an FTP allows developers to bring a site’s files and information into their local workflow. From there, they can make changes and test connections to ensure proper functionality. When they’re finished, they can easily upload files back into the server through FTP without jeopardizing its integrity in the process.

As a reminder, you don’t want to let too many remote developers connect to your FTP servers, so it’s always a good idea to limit the number of IP addresses that have access. That way, even if an outside entity breaks into your system, they won’t be able to gain access and cause interference.

Secure Connections with VPNs

Along with FTP, another important tool to secure connections amongst remote developers is to use a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN encrypts any traffic coming and going form your network. This is highly important when working with remote developers around the country and globally since their initial Internet connections may be vulnerable to a myriad of threats. Even if a hacker were to intercept traffic from a company’s VPN, that information would be encrypted in a way that would be useless to them.

Set up a VPN account specifically for each developer working on the project and require them to connect to the VPN to be able to access the development environment. Setting up your environment in such a security centric way is great for internal peace of mind, but also can be a selling point if you’re using remote resources on client projects.

Use Cloud Storage for Backups

Of course, scheduling time to backup important files is crucial for any successful business, but when working with remote developers, using cloud storage for backups is just as vital.

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Along with any system backups, you can use cloud storage to save copies of files to allow easy access to different versions of information and to avoid instances of overwriting files, deleting files, or files being corrupted at their origin. Another great feature of cloud storage is that files can also be restored in the event that something crashes.

Plus, tons of cloud backup systems have total encryption across networks, so you won’t have to worry about infrastructures being at risk.

Secure Passwords Under One Roof

Finally, a major tactic you can use to protect collaboration with remote developers is to secure all of your passwords under one roof.

(Sourced from lastpass.com)

To do this, you can use a password management service to stockpile all of your passwords and have quick access to all of their variations across multiple platforms. Best practices for password management include using a series of capital letters, numbers, and special characters to increase privacy and decrease the likelihood of hacking.

In addition, when using a password management service, you can set certain parameters to limit password visibility to remote developers and grant password approval on a per-project basis. For instance, anyone who accesses the service doesn’t actually see the passwords in action — they only populate automatically for whatever access they need.

Build Trust

With all of these tips in place, the best thing you can do to upkeep success is to communicate with your remote developers and build trust.