Are you one of the thousands—maybe even millions—of people now working from home due to coronavirus? If so, it’s probably a sudden and surprising transition, especially if you’ve never experienced the WFH life before.
Sure. Your commute might now consist of walking down the hall, and you can work the day away in pajamas (or at least sweatpants if you’re on a Zoom meeting). But we don’t have to tell you that working remotely has plenty of challenges too.
Aside from frustrations like battling constant distractions or missing your lunch hour buddies, working from home can also lead to serious problems that you might not be thinking about—like proper cybersecurity for your home office.
A company’s lack of proper cybersecurity measures, strategies, and best practices for remote workers are some of the most common and serious oversights. Without a physical IT or tech team on hand to ensure effective network security procedures are being followed, typical safeguards fall by the wayside.
This lapse can quickly lead to dire—and expensive—consequences including stolen customer information, leaked financial records, phishing scams, malware, and so much more.
In short, working from home isn’t an excuse to get lax about keeping your business's online security. In fact, remote life makes it even more of your responsibility than it was back at the office.
However, if you’re not quite sure how to battle these online threats while remote, worry not. Check out our favorite cybersecurity tips while working from home:
1. Be Careful When Opening That Email!
Although the pandemic has brought positivity and goodwill out of many, it’s done the exact opposite for the more vile among us who are just looking for a quick buck.
Unsurprisingly, this includes those ever-present hackers and cybercriminals. They’re eager to use our current state of mass fear, misinformation, and confusion as a lure to get into computer networks and wreak personal and financial havoc.
In fact, since the panic around COVID-19 started rising, so have phishing email scams to a staggering 667% according to Infosecurity Magazine!
Some of the most common coronavirus-related cyberattacks include scams that trick people into handing over personal information or unknowingly downloading malware in “exchange” for fake financial or government aid. Others ask people to donate to phony fundraising campaigns for a vaccine or medical supplies. Unfortunately, there are many more examples.
To fight against these online predators, unless you can verify exactly where each email comes from, never click on a link, and definitely don’t give the sender any personal information. Though we wish these times only brought the best out of people, sometimes it truly brings out the worst.
Every time you open that inbox, please, be cautious.
2. Store and Transfer Your Files Securely
In the office, it’s likely that your IT team takes the lead when it comes to network and file exchange security. However, while working from home, you might not have the same access to IT experts who can securely set up your workstation or guide you in proper safe document storage techniques.
Though we still encourage reaching out to IT professionals to ensure that all best practices are closely followed, here are a few ways to secure your files while working from home:
- Encrypt Your Router: By enabling encryption within your router setting, you’re essentially scrambling any digital information that’s being sent back and forth through your network. Even if a hacker can tap into your network, they won’t be able to read any critical information.
- Password Protect Sensitive Files: Most digital document management and storage systems like Laserfiche, Dropbox, and Adobe Acrobat offer the option to password-protect files. Always utilize this option when digitally exchanging private information. That way, only the right set of eyes can see it.
- Choose Secure File Transfer Programs: Not all cloud-based file transfer tools are created equally. Before sending any file, always choose one with a strong reputation for security and follow their directions for sharing your documents safely. We love Microsoft OneDrive and Sync, though many other great options are out there.
- Avoid Public WiFi Networks: Since there’s no way to know how well-protected a public WiFi network is, you should never send or transfer sensitive or confidential files over one. Instead, only send files over a network that you know has been thoroughly secured and protected.
3. Carefully Dispose of Sensitive Documents
Does your city look like a ghost town and your only officemate walks on four legs? Even then, don’t let social distancing make you think that paper documents are secure from prying eyes.
Just like those phishing cybercriminals, there are still plenty of people out there searching for an easy target—and this includes rummaging through trashcans as they search for a corporate data goldmine.
Whenever you’re finished with a confidential paper document, like payroll records or private customer information, ensure you’re properly shredding, destroying, and disposing of whatever is leftover.
The same goes for old hard drives, USB drives, computers, etc., especially if they contain sensitive data. Once you no longer need the drive, completely wipe all of the information from them properly. Or, for optimal safety and security, we recommend using a professional hard drive shredding service that guarantees total destruction.
4. Create Company-Wide Secure WFH Policy
Let’s be honest. There’s A LOT going on in the world right now. Even the most diligent employees might have a hard time prioritizing proper WFH security etiquette over the myriad of other things on their minds.
To proactively prepare for this likely scenario, we suggest putting together an official Remote Work Cybersecurity Guide for your organization, distributing it to all employees working from home, and asking them to read and sign it.
This guide will thoroughly outline your company’s personnel policies, practices, tools, and expectations regarding cybersecurity for remote workers. It should also offer employees guidance on what to do or who to contact if they have security-related questions, issues, or problems while working at home.
By addressing many common cybersecurity concerns upfront, you’ll alleviate anxiety for both employees and the leadership team, as well as reduce the chances of people guessing about which security actions to take—something that could quickly lead to an even bigger problem.
Want to learn more about how you and your remote team can keep your company and its data safe and secure from breaches, scams, and other security threats?
The imageOne team would love to help! We offer programs, equipment, and years of expertise that can take your current cybersecurity strategy to the next level. Set up a free, no-strings-attached consultation today.