Just as many companies thought they’d perfected their best practices for office cybersecurity, the sudden shift to WFH models opened them up to new online threats. Naturally, the practices implemented in the office were not fully carried over to people’s homes.
If you also feel your WFH cybersecurity policies could use some work, check out the tips below:
1. Use Ambiguous/Nonsensical Passwords
Among the easiest and often overlooked methods of protecting yourself while working remotely or from home is to make your passwords unintelligible and ensure that you have maximum password protection across all of your devices.
The US Federal Trade Commission has advised at-home workers to set strong passwords across all of their apps and devices. Ideally, these passwords should be completely random and not make any sense at all. They also said passwords should be as long as 12-characters and made up of a mix of symbols, numbers, and upper, and lower-case letters in random order.
Of course, remembering these passwords is likely impossible, so it would be best to invest in a secure password manager.
2. Work Only On Your Office Computer
Do you think about taking good care of your emails at home before you go to bed? It could be quite tempting to use personal computers if your work computer was in a separate room or if you ever forget your charger in the office. This could be a huge risk for you or your organization.
If you have worked in an organization with a very efficient IT team, you will install updates regularly, block malicious sites, run antivirus scans, etc. Also, all of these activities could be quite transparent to you. This is a huge chance that you may not have followed all the right protocols in your personal computer as was mandatory for your work computer.
Also, your company could also very easily afford cutting edge technical controls that you could easily use on your own. With these running in the background, your PC will not be safe for office work since the information being sent on it could be compromised by third parties.
Therefore, avoid working on any device other than your work computer.
3. Deploy Encryption
Encryption isn’t a new idea, but it surely is extremely effective. What happens is that the encryption software will mix and jumble your data to the point that it becomes unreadable and nonsensical. Only the user with the encryption key (you) will be able to bring it back into its original order and read it.
Thankfully, all this happens in the background, and all you really need to do is click on a few buttons on your software to turn this feature on. Incorporate this with biometrics or rolling passkeys, and you’ll have a pretty sturdy defence.
4. Scramble Your Traffic With VPNs
You should make it a habit to use VPNs whenever you are connected to networks you aren’t in control of. This includes using Wi-Fi in cafes, airports, libraries, hotels, and other co-working places.
Often, organizations also set up their own VPNs so that all of their off-site workers can access various websites or servers which store information that is only meant to be used internally. In such cases, you will also need to have a VPN at home. It is always a great idea to get used to leaving VPN connected whenever possible since it is always safer to have it working than otherwise.
5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication with Firewall Protection
Multi-factor authentication is a popular method for authentication of users by asking them to include multiple person identifications or financial information to log in to a safe space. Multi-factor authentication also includes 2-factor authentication or 2FA and is used in remote work to ensure no threat actor is able to bypass the login easily.
Firewalls work with the same intent of MFA to shield your systems from malicious attacks by unnecessary outsiders. Firewalls are used to prevent malicious software and internet hackers from gaining access to remote endpoints. Firewall protection is provided on the internet to regulate internet leads.
6. Use Secure Backups
As we go about our daily business, we rarely tend to look back on the work we’ve already completed. However, all of those files are certainly essential. At some point down the line, we always need to go back and reconcile previous work to either help us with our current projects or to perhaps send to a colleague.
If you’re like most people, you likely have multiple local folders for each file where you store them. If your workplace is a little more sophisticated, you may use an online portal on a local server. No matter the case, the possibility for technical faults always exists in both your computer and the online portal.
In this case, secure backups are absolutely vital. Now that doesn’t just mean putting all your work files on a USB and leaving it on your desk. If you’re using offline storage, it’s best to get an external drive that can be encrypted. Even then, you should ideally store it somewhere safe. Make sure to back up your work bi-weekly or weekly.
Cloud backups are also brilliant options. With the ever-increasing security of cloud servers, many companies are turning to them for their convenience. Just make sure to choose a reliable company with a decent reputation.
7. Install An Effective Antivirus or Internet Security Software
Among the most effective tips for securing your work at home is investing in effective antivirus suites for remote workers and employees working from home.
Sources estimate that the global damages caused by cybercrime have totalled up to $1.5 billion per year, and this figure is only going to increase while hackers learn new ways to exploit our systems. These attacks could, in turn, leave you and your business vulnerable to DDoS attacks, ransomware attacks, spyware, malware, and other breaches.
Antivirus suites can single-handedly take control of the situation by offering you automated security while you’re working remotely against a long list of potential threats.
Antivirus systems are important for the following reasons;
- They defend against threat actors and motives.
- They can help reduce spam and ads.
- They are equipped with mechanisms and solutions to prevent internal threats.
- They eventually protect sensitive customer data, which most organizations today need to protect for compliance.