Cybersecurity and Remote Work – Pandemic new life
Working from home isn’t a new experience for companies that already allow their employees to be remote. The difference with a pandemic is that companies that didn’t allow their entire workforce, or any of their workforce to be remote to begin with are experiencing new and bigger challenges. Businesses that are still using on-premise equipment or even a hybrid environment, are struggling the most. Cybersecurity and remote work is part of a new company culture that many are needing to adapt to, fast.
Due to Coronavirus outbreak, many are forced to work from home without advanced notice or resources to properly prepare their employees. This has caused a delay or disruption in normal business operations for many of our clients, and businesses around the world. The work from home requirement is putting additional pressure on corporate IT and forces IT teams to scale up their efforts, often without the resources to scale up new hires.
Here are a few suggestions that can help you during this time:
Use your PC as if you are in the office – limit surfing the web
In the office, we are protected by a corporate security practice. As home workers, our corporate devices most likely carry some level of protection, but the risks are heightened by your home cybersecurity environment. A good example of this is if you are leveraging your home WIFI or Lan connection. If your home PC is running slow or has always seemed to have problems, you could have spyware or viruses that you’re unaware of, for example. Machines sharing a Wifi or Lan connection could potentially infect or attempt to infect your work pc/laptop.
Is your home network updated, secure, passwords changed often, etc.?
These are simple things that corporate security covers on a regular basis to ensure security practices are maintained in the office network. For this reason, security awareness weekly discussions with your employees might help you reduce the risk of cybersecurity threats.
10 Tips for working remotely:
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication
- Email Filtering for Spam or Spoofing
- Look for phishing emails
- Always look carefully at the email address a message was sent from, not just the name of the sender.
- Make sure the email address is completely correct
- Fake email accounts will look very authentic except for one or two letters being different.
- Exchange personal information by phone.
- No bank, doctor’s office, or credit card company should ever ask you to exchange personal information through email.
- Encrypt sensitive data in emails
- Turn off bandwidth-hungry applications when not needed
- Always use your corporate VPN access when required—staying secure is vital
- Know when to switch between home internet or mobile internet
- Use a separate home internet network for work to isolate personal devices
- Ensure your home internet router password is long and strong (and use a password manager)
- Keep work data on work computers
One of the greatest challenges for a remote workforce is to maintain a secure environment. By ensuring some of these steps are taken, you are able to reduce your organization’s risk. The potential for cyber-attacks increases when employees work at home because many home networks are outdated and poorly configured. Enterprise network security has personnel who actively monitor and stop malicious traffic, but at home, this becomes your responsibility.
If you want to know how you can continue to ensure cybersecurity integrity with your remote team, we recommend that you contact us for a complementary consultation so we can discuss how to improve your Security posture.
– Galaxia Martin – VP of Operations, SMBHD