As working from home becomes the new norm, it’s important to keep cyber security in mind. It’s up to both employees and employers to take the proper security measures. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to educate your workers on proper data security. Likewise, your remote workers should be committed to carrying out extra security procedures in order to work from home. So what should these procedures be? Here are five considerations to get you started.
Shift security responsibilities to individuals
One of the most important things to keep in mind for managing employees working from home is individual responsibility. At the office, you can control the security situation, managing access to your network and devices. At home, employees’ company devices might still have safeguards, but their environment presents more security risks. Home WiFi and access to personal devices and services are just a few.
Even if they don’t realize it, your employees are responsible for data security at home. Remind them to take precautions and educate them on what good home cyber security looks like. Local IT firms that specialise in cyber security can help you ensure your remote workers use best practices.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, phishing scams have increased. While these sorts of cyber attacks are always prevalent, workers are especially susceptible during a time when regular routines are disrupted. Phishing scams can go beyond emails, too. Social media, text messages, or any online space where someone can contact you is open for phishing.
Remind your employees never to click on suspicious links. What makes a link suspicious? If it was sent by an unknown contact, if it resembles a real website but varies just slightly, or there’s a typo of some kind it’s probably not legitimate. If you’re on a desktop or laptop, always hover over hyperlinked text with your cursor to see the full URL.
Regulate VPN usage
VPN’s (virtual private networks) have been a go-to for remote workers in the past few years. They’ve come to be considered as a catch-all for security threats as a result. With a huge portion of the workforce teleworking during the coronavirus pandemic, however, VPN’s have been under stress. Some VPN’s have limited licences or provide less bandwidth, which reduces usage.
When your employees work from home, check that there are sufficient licences on your VPN. Also, remind your staff that they don’t need to be logged into the corporate VPN for every activity online whilst at home. The VPN is designed to protect access to your business’ services, not to protect employees as they pay their bills, browse the web, or do personal video calls.
Revise security priorities
Your previous security strategies should be updated if most or all of your employees are working from home. You don’t have to overhaul your plan completely, but you do have to account for some crucial changes. One of these is patching. With people working from home and routines far from normal, it’s tempting to put off patching but doing so still leaves you vulnerable to cyber criminals.
Additionally, you might have to rework your user privileges. Your previously privileged users consisted of your IT department, but now, other groups need the same access. Many companies scrambled to grant permissions to their finance or legal teams, without putting proper security protocols in place alongside them. This can leave your network vulnerable to attack.
Advocate additional layers of security
Encourage your employees to add layers of security if they work from home. Password managers and multi-factor authentication are useful and easy to use. Encryption software also protects devices that get lost or stolen. Other simple steps like changing the password on a router, deleting old accounts, or not allowing other household members to use company devices and networks go a long way as well.
As an employer, you should also require your employees to have up-to-date firewalls, antivirus software, and anti-malware on all of their work devices. If you don’t have company-issued devices for your employees to use, you can rely on mobile device management platforms or local IT support services to help your workers manage their cyber security.
Final Thoughts on Cyber Threats Working from Home
Working from home doesn’t have to mean jeopardising data security. Normal routines might be in flux due to the coronavirus, but it’s important to take the time to establish policies about remote working. Investing in resources to help remote workers manage security or to educate them on best practices is also worthwhile. By doing so, both you and your team will feel confident working from home.
David Share is the founder and director of Amazing Support, an award-winning Managed IT Support & Cyber Security Company in London & Hertfordshire. He has professional experience and has been as a Company Director, as well as Head of IT for legal and professional practices over the past 10 years.