Cybersecurity Tips for Working Remotely

Category: Data Security , Cyberbytes
Author: Josh Isley

COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has challenged businesses in ways that have never been seen before. The pandemic has brought normal, everyday operations to a screeching halt for almost every industry. Many executives are deciding to send their personnel home to prevent exposure and spread of the virus. The term that has been dominating headlines across the globe is “social distancing”. This is an initiative recommended by healthcare professionals to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that proper care can be given to those that have been infected. While normal operations are being slowed, many businesses are carrying out operations remotely. This allows employees to continue their work from the safety of their own home. However, working remotely might be new to many organizations, and it can pose a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to attack like a wolf picking off a dismembered flock. Ensure your remote workers diligently guard against cyberattacks with these tips.

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Avoid public Wi-Fi

Many people see remote work as an opportunity to work in new settings. They set up in cafés, bookstores, and coffee shops. However, employees should avoid doing this during this pandemic. First and foremost, these types of public settings should be avoided due to proximity and exposure with other people. Also, public Wi-Fi networks can create easy opportunities for hackers to target individuals who are sharing the same connection. Employees should work in a secluded home office with a private network that is encrypted and unavailable to the general public.

Secure your devices

Organizations that allow the use of personal laptops and devices should make sure employees are using updated security protection software to protect personal and company data. It is strongly advised to install firewalls, antivirus, device encryption, and other preventative software. Employees should also password protect personal devices such as smart phones or tablets. Make sure passwords are strong and backed up by multifactor authentication.

Back up important files

Files that outside of their typical element are at danger of being lost. Ensure that all important files are backed up in case of an incident. Companies that experience ransomware can lose all of their data unless it is backed up. Back ups should be more than a one-time occurrence. Files need to be updated and backed up on a regular basis.

Communication is key

A crucial element of successful work is successful communication. This starts with high-level executives effectively communicating with their teams about the company’s policies and procedures for remote working. From there, employees should have quick, effective ways to communicate with other members of their team. This ensures that everyone is given the best opportunity to successfully work in an alternative environment. Supervisors and employees should keep their phones and laptops available for open contact during the workday. Strong communication is a strong defense against cybercriminals.

Limit access to certain files

During the pandemic, many businesses might have to make the decision to limit certain access privileges. With everyone working from different connection points, data becomes more vulnerable to those outside the network. It may be worth making the decision to limit access to certain files to specific personnel. Executives should prioritize personnel based on risk level. High risk employees should have the most restrictions when operating remotely. Low risk, reliable employees should be utilized as company anchors to protect valuable data during this time.

Conclusion

No one knows how long this pandemic will last. More importantly, no one knows the amount of damage it will cause. Compliance with company policies is vitally important and in the best interest of everyone right now. Do what’s in your control to keep your company safe from cybercriminals. Do what’s necessary to help protect your company, your coworkers, and those around you. Lastly, always be a good friend, a good neighbor, a good caretakerand a diligent worker. From all of us at NXTsoft, we wish everyone safety and good health during this time.

 

March 18, 2020
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