Working from home: Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Working from home: Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Desperate times need desperate measures. With the state of lockdown at various parts of the world due to the corona virus scare, most employees are working from home. 

Besides this, most organisations do have a policy of allowing employees to work from their homes. According to data from Krisp, 80% of all remote workers work from home while 7% work from co-working spaces. It leads to a significant rise in the risk of cybercriminals from getting access to sensitive information.

Moreover, desperate times have also seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 related phishing attacks. So, how will you ensure that the remote workers are working in a secure environment? Here are some tips for you.

Manage passwords

When you are working remotely, the laptop you are working on must have a robust password management system. You must be aware of the password best practices and use them when creating one for your terminal. An analysis by Skyhigh Cloud Security Labs of around 12,000 cloud services threw up shocking results. About 79.9% of cloud services allow weak passwords that are vulnerable to cyberattacks.  

You must always lock your terminal when you are not working. It could be at your home or when you are working from a coffee joint. Also change your password at regular intervals, ideally once every three months. If you need to login to multiple software, you may as well take the services of a password manager that write them down on a notepad.

Use Antivirus software

When working from home, do request the IT team to install antivirus software on your laptop. Most antiviruses come along with a firewall. Also, remind them to have the virus database updated before you leave. The antivirus software also has malware protection and can scan your laptop and delete any malicious files. On detecting any new malware on your laptop, the software updates its incumbent virus database too. It will also scan your emails and check for any malicious files. You must also ensure that your home router is configured correctly as per the specifications of the manufacturer. The outbound filters must be in place.  

Connect using VPN

Employees working remotely must connect using a corporate VPN with proper encryption. There should not be any connection with any non-encrypted entities. The split tunnelling facility should be disabled too, and the user should not be allowed to connect to any public Wi-Fi system or a free broadband connection.

The use of VPN is manifold. One important benefit is that it masks the user’s IP and location, even from the government agencies. However, you should only access sites that have SSL certificate enabled on them. If you are a site owner, you can find many brands and types of SSL in the market that suits with different site’s requirement. For instance, it is good to install cheap Comodo Wildcard ssl certificate in case of securing unlimited sub domains.

Periodical software updates

The software residing on your laptop must be updated periodically, starting with the operating system and the antivirus. Updating the software by downloading the upgrades will help to plug any security gaps that might be there in the earlier version. Updating the antivirus is crucial as it will help to find out malicious files that are comparatively new. Your IT team must turn on the notifications for updating the internal software. The auto-download feature can also be turned on. If you are unable to do it on your own, you may request the IT team to do it for you.

Avoid using external drives

Flash drives are known to be a source of viruses that can have your laptop infected. You must not connect any external hard disc or a flash drive to your official laptop. You must request the IT team to ensure that all ports are disabled to prevent anyone from connecting any external drive.

You must not share any documents by bypassing the security systems of your organisation. Sometimes, we tend to use various free document sharing systems or even cloud systems if our official mail servers do not allow the transfer of huge files. Such scenarios should be avoided, and you may take the help of your IT colleagues to help you. 

Periodic backups

You must take regular backups of your official work. It will help you to gain easy access to the documents if your laptop crashes or there is an attack on your laptop. You may upload the documents onto a renowned cloud location like Google. You may also upload them onto a secure server of your company. If you do not have access to the server, you may request your IT colleagues to take backups of your system at regular intervals.

Conclusion

As organisations start allowing employees to work remotely, they are faced with an increased risk of leakage of sensitive and confidential information. Moreover, there could be unavoidable circumstances like the current global situation regarding coronavirus that requires organisations to have reasonable safeguards in place. 

The organization must also make aware about their employees about the risks associated through remote working. There should be a proper policy in place along with the do’s and don’ts to prevent any data breach. In this article, we have discussed some of the tips related to cybersecurity for remote employees when they work from home. While the risks could be immense, proper safeguards must be a part of the business continuity plan. 

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