Working from home can offer greater freedom for your staff. With increased flexibility some staff may find it’s easier to work their work around other aspects of their life. While many businesses have worked from home out of necessity, some have found that the approach suits them and their staff, so much so that they will be continuing to work from home indefinitely.
Working from home offers unique challenges that you would not necessarily face with all staff working from an office. This is particularly true for cyber security. We’ve broken down nine work from home cyber security tips to keep your business and your staff safe online.
Cyber Security Tips for Remote Work
We have spoken previously about the importance of installing software updates. Software updates fix bugs and potential security issues that developers discover. The majority of cyber attacks that are reported are the results of vulnerabilities in software, often from using an out of date system.
Getting staff to keep their own systems updated is probably not the best option as there’s no guarantee that everyone will do so. Instead you should consider managed patching services that make sure staffs’ systems are all updated with the latest software.
Multi factor authentication is one of our main recommendations for cyber security. The combination of something you know with something you have protects online accounts far better than just a password. Passwords can be guessed or hacked, but cyber criminals would also need access to your second method of authentication.
We recommend using authentication apps such as Microsoft authenticator. These constantly generate one-time passwords that are valid for 30 seconds. If the authenticator app is on your phone, it will be far harder for accounts to be compromised.
Use a VPN
Accessing company systems has traditionally only been done in the office. To allow staff to access systems, many IT teams would set their users up with a VPN. A VPN, or a virtual private network, creates a secure connection and allows staff to access files from the server as if they are in the office.
While working from home, employees will be relying on their home networks. As a general rule home networks are not as secure as work environments. If a home network is compromised this can potentially have an effect on the whole office environment if a company device is connected to a compromised network. using a VPN will be just like being in the office.
Antivirus software can protect your device from viruses, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, and other types of malware. Antivirus software will detect and recognise various types of malware and remove it from the computer system.
Separate Work and Personal Devices
If you have a company issued laptop, you should use this to do your work rather than using personal devices. It can be irritating to constantly swap between the two but it is important that you should have as little business data on personal devices as possible.
If something were to happen to your personal laptop and it contained important company data this is a serious security breach. And at the same time, if your work network gets compromised and your work device contains sensitive personal information, this can be a potential threat to your privacy.
Be Wary of Phishing
How many emails do you receive every day? Hundreds? Thousands? while the majority of these emails will be genuine, there will be a few that are fishing-designed to trick you into clicking malicious links or submitting sensitive information.
There are a few ways to spot phishing emails, such as looking for spelling mistakes, hovering without clicking on links to see where they are trying to take you and seeing if there is particular urgency to the email. If in doubt never click a link to an email even if it appears genuine. If a link is taking you to a company website, go to the website directly in a web browser instead.
Cover Your Webcam
Video calls are very much the norm in today’s workplace. what would once have been a quick chat in the office often gets turned into a fully blown teams meeting. But when you’re not in a remote meeting you should keep your webcam covered. There are reports of cyber criminals gaining access to company systems and even gaining access to individual devices and turning on webcams.
You never know when a webcam attack could take place so it’s best to protect yourself and take extra measures. Also, you should consider changing your background or blurring your background during some video calls if there is potential sensitive information or personal information in the background that you do not wish to be seen.
Take Care With Screen Sharing
When sharing your screen on a video call, you should take care of the windows and programmes that you have open. You do not want to accidentally show sensitive information in internal or external meetings.
Rather than sharing your full desktop or screen, try sharing an individual window. So if you are sharing a PowerPoint presentation, only share the window that contains that presentation. If you need to jump between programmes, you’ll have to stop sharing each time. If you need to jump between multiple programmes, be sure to close any sensitive information prior to sharing just so the wrong screen doesn’t accidentally get shown.
Keep an Organised Workspace
Many cyber attacks happen as a result of distractions. If you aren’t distracted you may accidentally click a dodgy link in an email because at first glance it appears genuine. Try to minimise distractions in your home office so you can concentrate as much as possible.
Try to keep a tidy and organised workspace to reduce the distractions in front of you. And if you are able to work in a room either away from the rest of the house or that is your own designated space, you should.
Home Cyber Security Tips
As working from home is likely to increase, businesses should take as many steps as they can to ensure the safety of their data and their staff at home. If you are looking to improve cyber security within your organisation, speak to one of ACUTEC’s consultants today.