Stay safe outside your office.
Employees working remotely is trending upward in recent years with employers becoming more open to the concept. While having the choice of your work environment may seem like a great perk, that benefit still comes with some concerns regarding cybersecurity.
Just like you would within the four walls of an office, remote workers have a set of cybersecurity standards they should adhere to. Before you get the go-ahead to work remotely, ensure you are following these guidelines.
1. Use strong passwords.
The issue of bad passwords is brought up over and over, but it’s an issue that bears repeating.
Your password is your first line of defense against cyberattacks. The weaker the password, the easier it is for intruders to gain access. Ensure you’re using strong, hard-to-crack passwords by using a reliable password manager tool, or check your password with websites like Dashlane’s How Secure Is My Password? tool.
2. Avoid public networks.
When working from a coffee shop or restaurant, the prospect of using the location’s public WiFi can be tempting. In many cases, however, these public networks may come with little or no security, allowing customers—and cyberattackers—easy access.
Because anyone can get access to these networks, you should avoid using public, unsecured networks. Before connecting, check if the network is using WPA or WPA2 authentication (i.e., a password-protected network in which the encryption key constantly changes). That goes for your home WiFi too. Before you get permission to work from home, make sure your home network is password-protected.
3. Use a VPN.
If somehow an intruder was able to gain access to your device, shielding any information from prying eyes would be paramount.
That’s where a virtual private network (VPN) comes in handy. VPNs encrypt your browsing history, making it virtually unreadable to cyberattackers and even your internet service provider. If you and your co-workers aren’t already using a VPN on all computers, make it the new standard.
4. Use security protocols.
Is your organization taking basic steps to improve cybersecurity? Measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and email encryption are easy to take for granted, and consequently easy to forget about.
Your work computer should already have firewalls built in, but if you’re looking for an extra layer of security with a third-party firewall software, make sure you keep it up to date. Similarly, have a reliable antivirus software installed on your devices, and more importantly, keep it updated. Finally, make sure your emails are encrypted for the same reason you would use a VPN.
5. Use 2FA.
If you’ve already taken a step to make sure your network is secure, why not take an extra step just to be sure? When you use two-factor authentication (2FA), you’re adding an extra layer of security on all login attempts. For example, when you log onto your employer’s network, you should receive a text message or a notification on your phone asking to either verify or enter a numerical code.
Using 2FA can ensure that even if your login info falls into the wrong hands, there will be a backup plan in place to ensure cyberattackers can’t gain access.
6. No personal devices.
It’s impossible for your employer to monitor what you put on their personal devices. While they can mandate what software is downloaded on company-owned devices, you can download whatever they want on your personal devices—this can include malware, if you’re not careful.
To prevent this from happening, avoid using personal devices for business.
7. Stay vigilant.
The most important factor in any cybersecurity plan is you. If you don’t know how to follow best practices, all other cybersecurity measures are moot.
Stay updated on what practices you and your co-workers should follow. Make sure you’re educated enough on best cybersecurity practices by participating in regular training exercises that teach how to recognize cyberattacks before they can happen.
What other cybersecurity steps do you take? Let us know in the comments!