The coronavirus outbreak is leading numerous organizations on a scramble to develop plans for staff to work remotely. Companies hoping to keep employees safe and stop the spread of the disease — while maintaining regular operations — have to look beyond simply sending staffers home with a laptop. Practicing good cybersecurity hygiene to prevent exposing the business to cyberattack is as critically important in a home working environment as in the office.
Infosec, a leader in cybersecurity education and security awareness training, offers our readers these seven tips for staying cyber-secure when working remotely:
Don’t develop a false sense of security because you are comfortably snuggled up at home. Many people don’t practice the same strong password habits on their personal home devices as they do at the office. Add a strong password and two-factor authentication to your Wi-Fi and the router, plus any other personal devices.
Jot down a list of everything you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands and determine a security posture for each. Paper notebooks and folders. Company phone. Company computer. Portable hard drives. USBs. Contact lists. Customer lists. You probably have more than you think.
Not recommended. Everybody should know the danger by now, yet 81% of recent survey respondents said they still use public Wi-Fi. If you are going to use the unsecured public network at your local coffee shop or library, think twice about exposing your company’s private information this way.
While you are using public Wi-Fi and other unsecured networks, be warned that at the same time you might receive a tidal wave of malware-loaded COVID-19 phishing attacks. Cybercriminals are playing off people’s anxiety from the pandemic.
When working remotely — especially in a public space — take care to guard your login credentials. If they are seen or shared accidentally, you’ve made tracking down illegal access very hard for the security team.
Many companies have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as part of online protection packages for remote and traveling staff. A VPN provides a secure, encrypted connection that tunnels data directly to its destination. If your company doesn’t have one, talk to your boss. VPNs for home use run between $5-$12 a month.
Keep your family and friends from using your work computer. Install an antivirus program in your home system. Get a copy of your company’s security policy and follow it. Lock up or shred confidential documents — and don’t toss them in your home recycling bin. Don’t leave your laptop, documents or other devices in your car. Keep track of your smartphone. These common-sense steps will make you look like a security pro.