Are You Maintaining Cybersecurity While Your Staff Work From Home?
Working remotely may be safer during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not necessarily secure. Are you putting your data at risk while your staff works from home?
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to hastily adopt a remote work model. With employees stuck at home, they have no choice but to find a way to deliver remote access to business data and applications.
Even before the pandemic, it was becoming increasingly more common for businesses to hire remote workers – that is, staff members that work from home, outside of the business’ city of operation, and even much further away.
It’s important to recognize that this pandemic will be like open season for cybercriminals. When businesses start prioritizing remote access to data over the security of that data, they make an easy target for hackers.
Don’t Compromise Cybersecurity For Remote Access
Think of it this way – at the office, everything is protected by the same set of cybersecurity solutions – firewalls, antivirus software, etc. These are defenses that you’ve invested in and can trust.
Is the same true of your employees’ home networks and personal devices? Probably not.
With so many employees operating remotely, working from a laptop or smartphone, how can you be sure that your data is completely secure? Are you taking the necessary steps to maintain security while your staff works from home?
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Manage Your Passwords: One of the best ways to maintain complex passwords is with a password manager. Password managers are the key to keeping your passwords secure. A password manager generates, keeps track of and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option. Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.
- Use A VPN: When you use a virtual private network (VPN), your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet. That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data – no matter whether you’re on your mobile device’s data connection, or using an unsecured retail Wi-Fi network while you’re in line for coffee.
- Implement a Mobile Device Management Policy: An effective MDM policy should also instill safe and secure practices for employees that use personal devices for business purposes. Key considerations include:
- Decide When And How Mobile Devices Will Be Used. Integrated into your internal network, these devices can be used to access, store, transmit, and receive business data. You’ll need to have policies in place to regulate how employees use their devices to interact with sensitive data.
- Consider How Mobile Device Use Can Pose Risks To Your Data. A risk analysis will help you identify vulnerabilities in your security infrastructure, and help you determine the safeguards, policies, and procedures you’ll need to have in place.
- Protect Your Personal Information: Always double-check what you may be sharing on social media. With the wrong security settings, anyone can see what you post, including personal information that may make it easier for them to guess your passwords, answer your security questions, and pose as you online.
- Stay Safe While Mobile: Don’t download apps that aren’t approved by your smartphone provider’s app store. Unauthorized apps are a common way for hackers to sneak malware onto your device. Always be skeptical of permissions you grant and the data you provide when using mobile technology.
- Keep An Eye On Your Hardware: It sounds simple, but it’s important. Don’t let your phone or laptop out of your sight. Stolen devices can directly compromise your data. In the event that you do forget something at a coffee shop, make sure you have remote wipe capability so that you can remove any sensitive data from the hardware.
- Implement Stronger Security Settings: You know you shouldn’t trust default security settings, right? Just because a program is generally considered to follow standard security practices, that doesn’t mean that it’s as secure as it should be “out of the box”. Greater security often means less convenience – albeit, in small ways. Regardless, when it comes to modern products and services, the priority is usually to enhance the user experience, rather than configure the best security settings possible. After all, technology should be set up to better suit you, not the companies that develop it – don’t let default settings share too much of your data.
- Stay Up To Date: Did you know that one of the most common ways that cybercriminals get into a network is through loopholes in popular software? Much of the software you rely on to get work done every day could have flaws — or “exploits” — that leave you vulnerable to security breaches.
To address this, developers regularly release software patches and updates to fix those flaws and protect users. This is why it’s imperative that you keep your applications and systems up to date.
Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:
Tips for Working From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Top Five Reasons To Clean Your Phone To Avoid Coronavirus
5 Considerations in Cybersecurity Plan Development