The entire world had an emergency exit from their workplace in 2020. What we thought was going to be temporary soon turned out to be a long ordeal. Working from home isn’t a luxury anymore. It is the need of the hour. I never thought that my Cox cable connection and kitchen table would be so useful. As the world improvises on a lot of what we call normal, there is more to learn about cybersecurity. Since the entire team is not in one place, we have to be more careful to stay safe online. The threats increase as each worker is on their own and work hours are more flexible than ever.
Working from home in an emergency like the pandemic didn’t let us prepare for it. The challenge with remote work is to keep employees productive as well as secure. So, the makeshift workstations cannot be lax with their online security. As companies learned the value of a remote work model, they also stepped up on information security protocols. Here are a few strategies for teams that are working from home.
#1: Security Awareness Training
Your company is as safe as your least secure employee. Hence, it is vital to provide security awareness training even when working remotely. The training should touch on essential topics like password security, phishing links, and social engineering. The more aware your workforce is, the more secure you are. If even one of your employees clicks on the wrong link, it will end badly for everyone.
Since the pandemic began, cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated as well. Formal cybersecurity education can safeguard your employees from hacks and ransomware. Your trained employees are less likely to fall victim to socially engineered emails. Awareness of threats and how they happen is crucial here.
#2: Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN can be a great way to secure your home network. Many home networks use WPA security which is considered weak. You can shift to a WPA2 (AES) or WPA3 security type. However, that configuration can be too technical for many people. Since IT Support is not readily available, a VPN may be the best choice. Most VPNs work as a firewall and protect you against cyber-attacks.
A VPN for remote workers can connect them to the office network. This way, they will have all the same security features and functionality while staying home. The anonymity a VPN provides is something most IT professionals suggest you should rely on. Moreover, the VPN will also encrypt the data and company information. All passwords and internet traffic would be unreadable for any third-party intruders.
#3: Separating Personal and Work Devices
According to research conducted by HP, more than 70% of employees are using their office devices for personal use. Moreover, one-third of them had let someone else use their work device. It is a security risk, especially considering that the corporate firewall no longer protects the devices. Using a work device for personal use like shopping or surfing the internet is not a safe practice. It increases the chances of your device getting compromised.
The simple solution for this security risk is to use separate devices for work and personal use. It may seem like a hassle to change devices, but it is for the better. You should only use the work computer for accessing company information using a VPN.
#4: Updating System Software
Your IT department still wants you to update your devices as soon as possible. The most secure device is one that has the latest system software on it. If IT rolls out an update, you should not put it off for some other time. Updating as soon as possible can save you from risk or vulnerability. Most system updates come with security patches and bug fixes that will improve your device’s functionality. You should also update all software you are using on your work laptop.
#5: Implementing Secure Password Practices
Guessing a password is easier for hackers than you think. Safe password practices are thus essential to keep your system secure. A secure password should never include personal information. The more complex your password is, the safer it can be. You should also make sure that all your passwords are different from each other. All your passwords shouldn’t be at risk if even one is exposed. If you have trouble remembering all your passwords, you should use a passwords manager. System-generated passwords are often complex and can be more secure. A good practice is to keep updating your passwords after every few weeks.