The digital era and advances in technology has made it eminently simpler for all of us to perform our everyday tasks from the comfort of our homes. With 70% of full time workers working from home amidst the pandemic, homes and coffee shops have become the new office for the majority. But like an icecream comes with the downsides of added calories, so does this luxury of working from home, the challenge of information security is constant amongst all remote workers.
Here are some do’s and don'ts to help you stay safe as well as protect your company’s security:
Don’t Use Unsecured Networks
Unsecured networks are chief spots for malicious parties to spook on internet traffic and obtain confidential information. Avoid public wifi networks at all cost, with other people having access to that network and the absence of a firewall between you, threat can be a room away.
Do Use Personal Hotspots
VPNs provide a flexible connection that can help protect your traffic. There are numerous VPN networks available like NordVPN, Express VPN, SurfShark, Mac VPN & many more. But be cautious of false VPNs that falsely claim to protect your information, they’re the worst services and can potentially share your data with advertisers, how to find them? Well the ones that are free are often fishy! Use FastVPN extension for Chrome, which will help you to hide your IP address, you can also bypass numerous web restrictions, block ads, and avoid malware.
Do Not Use Personal Devices For Work
With 40% remote employees admit to transferring files between work and personal computers. It sure can be tempting or even cost effective to use your personal computer for work- but that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make that can risk you and your company tremendously! Why do you ask? Well personal devices often lack the tools already set in business networks like strong antivirus softwares, customized firewalls, and automatic online backup tools. Without these the risk of malware finding on your personal computer and leaking of work and personal data is extremely high.
Do Invest In A Separate Device For Work/Personal Use or Implement Other Security Practices
If you are unable to have two separate devices for personal and work use, there are other security measures you can take. VPN for Mac, Firewalls and a good antivirus software can be your saviours in protecting and blocking unknown malware.
Also, it's good to know how to get rid of virus on computer if you are suspicious that your device already has some.
You can also invest in a network scanner such as Intruder's network security scanner. These scanners can check your devices across networks to see if there are any cybersecurity weaknesses. If you find any, make sure that they are addressed before hackers start knocking on your door.
Do Not Share Business Information Through Messaging Apps
Avoid using personal accounts on Facebook/Instagram for communicating or sharing information with your clients or co-workers. Applications like Slack can allow for file sharing to be easier and also safer with business information being stored at one place. Fun fact: Having one official platform is also proven to be better to provide for team collaboration.
Do Use Encryption On Your Device
It is not uncommon for emails to contain sensitive information, but make it a point to encrypt the data attached to an email to prevent an unintended recipient from having access or misutilisation of that information. Install applications that ensure protection and avoid tampering of your email content, some popular ones are Preveil, Private-Mail, ProtonMail & many more. Also, make sure your device has all stored data encrypted to protect in the unfortunate event of a theft.
Do Not Open Unknown Email Attachments
Email being responsible for 92% of malware threats with 90% of data breaches from phishing and 1.5 million new phishing sites created every month, it’s essential to ignore emails that do not come from trusted sources.
Do Block Unfamiliar Senders
Look for unknown senders, internal links or urgent requests asking for personal information and report such activities upon validation. Create secure back-ups and update your system, browser and plug-ins regularly. It is also important to avoid phone-based phishing attempts. Criminals will still attempt to scam you by appearing as a legitimate company and calling to ask for your personal information. Be suspicious of unsolicited calls and never give out your information unless you have verified the caller’s identity.
Do Not Fall For Ransomware Attacks
With 81% rise of ransomware attacks at businesses and a rise in work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, an increase in malicious campaigns by cybercriminals to target remote workers is expected. Phishing emails or even other scams requesting for personal information or upfront payments are highly likely. To figure out if a site is “fishy” look for signs like: an absence of an https padlock symbol, incorrectly spelled domain names, poor grammar, absence of an “about” page and missing contact details.
Do Research Well Before Sharing Details
If you’re looking for third parties to assist you, search for reputable and trustworthy companies(Check out our services). Make it a point to not share information with anyone until you have them researched thoroughly and also avoid indulging in a client that desires an upfront full payment. Also create secure backups of significant files and data, and if suspicious inform and report your IT department immediately.
Do Not Take This Lightly and Do Spread Awareness
When practices are digital, mistakes can be common (Check out 7 common mistakes you do during work from home and how to avoid them) but if you follow the above tips as well as rudimentary implementations like setting strong passwords, not leaving your work computer unattended, installing updates regularly, you and your company have not an inch to worry about!