Working Remotely

Staying Cyber-secure While Remote

These tips can keep your home office as safe as the actual one.

Working from home has taken on a whole new meaning. Whether you have always worked remotely or it is a new undertaking, the lines of personal and professional responsibilities may have become harder to separate.

Nowadays, the kids may be out of your hair only when remotely learning, PJs or sweats have replaced business attire, and somehow the term “after work” has lost all meaning.

While remote work assignments remain with us for the time being, remember that many of the same best practices apply at home as they do in office.

Although you may feel safer working from home, it’s important to pay attention to your cybersecurity and to keep an eye on potential vulnerabilities criminals could exploit.

To help with this task, we have compiled a few best practices that you can follow.

Keep Your Eye on Emails

As companies continue to adapt to new rules and guidelines, you might feel bombarded with emails about policy changes and office updates. It’s important to stay up to date on your organization’s development, especially if these policies are related to work hours, travel, or software changes.

At the same time, cybercriminals are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting employees. Don’t forget to scrutinize the emails you receive.

With all the changes going on, cybercriminals are aware of users’ desire for more knowledge on current events—either inside the organization or outside of it—and are using it for their benefit.

Update, Update, Update!

Like many remote workers, your organization may have supplied you with a remote laptop, cell phone, or tablet. These devices probably came with firewall and antivirus protection, and may also have optional security features like VPN and two-factor authentication.

Although your device may have started out in tip-top shape, it is now up to you to make sure it stays that way. Take time to check that your system has installed the most recent updates to your firewall and antivirus software.

Updating both adds new features to your devices and removes outdated ones. Cybercriminals are trained to exploit all of these vulnerabilities, and this—along with phishing—is one of the most common ways they can compromise your devices.

Resist the Quick-fix

We totally get it—Zoom calls don’t work right, Skype IMs are never functional, and collaboration is a pain in the butt.

Although you may be tempted to look for a quick and easy fix—either from a legitimate source or not—adding any new software program to your computer might pose a security flaw, allowing unauthorized persons to gain access to your company’s data or your own.

Devices provided by your company to work from home have, most likely, been approved with the current tools installed. By adding other software or applications you find online, you cannot guarantee the same protection.

Get a VPN

VPN stands for virtual private network. Using one can help protect the data you send and receive while you’re working from home.

A VPN provides a secure link between employees and businesses by encrypting the data that moves back and forth. Most importantly, it keeps cybercriminals in the dark and unable to see what you do online during the workday.

If you are having trouble deciding which VPN to go with, check out ProtonVPN. Developed by CERN and MIT scientists, ProtonVPN is a great, security-focused VPN service that comes with a base service at no cost.

With more than 560 servers in over 40 countries, this service has been vetted by PCMag, CNET, and ZDNet, and the company itself has a strict no data-logging policy, which means your connection is always private and information is never stored.

Watch out for a Cyber Breach

Sometimes accidents happen, and a cybercriminal winds up gaining access to your devices, causing a security breach. It’s important to know if this has happened to you. Warning signs include:

  • New programs that were not installed appear
  • Your computer slows down
  • Strange pop-up ads appear
  • Loss of control of mouse or keyboard

While there is not much you can do if any of the above happens, you should contact your IT department or management immediately.

Resources

If the buck stops with you, remember that the CSD Pool has partnered with NetDiligence, one of the most trusted names in cybersecurity, to provide our members with free access to eRisk Hub.

eRisk Hub provides users with best practices to discuss with your staff, breach coaches to walk you through the steps if your cybersecurity has been compromised, and much more.

To sign up at no cost, email us at info@csdpool.org.

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