This year has been a whirlwind, and it’s caused many of us to make adjustments that have changed our daily lives. One of the biggest changes has been a massive increase in employers allowing remote work. While working from home is a much safer and more convenient option for many employees, it’s not without its challenges.
From battling the urge to sleep in to losing track of time and working too late, teleworking takes getting used to. But the adjustment process for remote work isn’t just about your schedule, it’s also about your cybersecurity.
If you’ve found yourself working from home or another remote location during the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you’re taking all of the following steps to keep yourself, and your data, safe and secure.
Creating a Secure Telework Environment
First off, if you’re an employer, you should consider investing in cybersecurity awareness training for your employees. This can help them learn how to recognize scams, prevent phishing attacks, and protect themselves and their sensitive information from hackers.
Additionally, as an employee, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect yourself and your data, regardless of whether your company provides you with cybersecurity resources. For example, anyone who works from home should:
- Adhere to your employer’s security standards. Most companies will have some sort of protocol for working from home, so make sure you follow whatever guidelines your employer has for remote work.
- Use antivirus software. Your employer may have a suggestion on which type of antivirus software they want you to use, or they may even install it on your computer for you. If not, consider investing in one for yourself. Additionally, if you already have an antivirus program, make sure it is up to date.
- Keep your operating system and programs updated. Companies put updates out for many reasons. Often, updates are introduced to fix security issues or vulnerabilities that may exist within software or operating systems. If you don’t keep your devices updated, they may be easier for cybercriminals to target.
- Use strong passwords. If you’re going to be logging into anything work-related from home, you’ll want to make sure your passwords are unique and hard to crack. Sometimes a strong password is all that stands between you and a hacker.
- Secure your home internet. Encryption is a means of scrambling all the information that passes through your router, to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Check your router for WPA2 or WPA3 options and turn them on, if available.
- Change your wifi password. Most people never change their wifi passwords after their modem and router are installed, and many of the default passwords for these things are easy to guess. Even if you’ve encrypted your home network, change your wifi password to something secure as an additional layer of protection.
- Keep your laptop secure. Whether you are working from home or in your local coffee shop, never leave your laptop open and unattended. Be sure to password-protect your laptop and set it to lock automatically after a few minutes of inactivity.
- Ask your employer about using a VPN. Short for “virtual private network”, VPNs give you a secure way to send and receive work data from home, while also protecting that data from cybercriminals.
- Keep sensitive papers safe. If you are dealing with any work-related materials that are on paper, keep them in a locked file cabinet. Additionally, if you need to dispose of sensitive wok documents, shred them before throwing them in the trash.
- Learn to recognize phishing emails. There’s been an increase in phishing attempts during the pandemic. If you receive an email that doesn’t seem quite right, check the sender’s address to make sure it’s someone you recognize and trust, and don’t open any attachments.
- Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. It may require a little extra effort on your part when it comes time to log into one of your accounts, but two-factor authentication makes it that much harder for hackers to access your private information.
- Set up a “find my device” app. Most phones, tablets, and computers have apps that make it easy to locate your device, should it be lost or stolen. Additionally, make sure whichever app you’re using provides an option for you to remotely wipe your device so that whoever has it cannot access any of your data.
Adjusting to Working from Home
Getting used to working remotely takes a little time. In the beginning, it is likely to be frustrating and a little uncomfortable. Take it easy on yourself and know that you’ll adjust soon. Get your security measures in place and make sure you’re working in an environment in which you are comfortable and relaxed.
If your company is struggling with some of the nuances of working from home, Hooks Systems can help you out. Our IT RemoteCare packages have a bunch of great features, like 24/7 network monitoring, antivirus services, and helpdesk support, to protect your employees and your data. We can take network security off your plate so that you can focus on running your business. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help at 800-558-5340.