The COVID-19 outbreak has not only changed the way we live, but it has completely altered the way most of us work. Due to the pandemic, countless companies around the globe have moved their staff from the office to the virtual world, making remote work the primary method of doing business.
The technologically-advanced reality we live in enables companies and their employees to easily switch from office to remote work, and continue performing all regular duties without any interruptions or complications. In fact, a lot of people worked remotely, full-time or part-time, even before the global health crisis.
While remote work helps protect people’s health, brings about positive shifts within a company, and increases productivity, it also comes with more than a few challenges. A lot of those challenges are linked to online security, since working at a home environment does not come with the same cybersecurity measures as working at an office. Thus, employees are more likely to make security mistakes at the comfort of their cyber-insecure homes than at the protected workplaces.
Considering the fact that online threats are everywhere, and have further increased with the rise of remote work, companies have to take additional cybersecurity measures and fully adapt their security policies in order to avoid breaches that could be devastating.
Here are 5 things companies and workers can do to maintain a safe level of cybersecurity
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
This policy of using extra strong passwords and two-factor authentication should be applicable to emails, domain names, applications, and everything else employees use on a daily basis to perform their tasks. Additionally, a company should enforce a policy of using different passwords for different things, since a lot of people have a tendency to use the same one across platforms. A business should also set automatic logouts after a period of inactivity, for further safety and security.
- Audit and secure home working environments
It’s extremely important for employees to audit their homes and the devices they use for work, and secure potential threats. All devices, including laptops, phones, and etc. should be updated and scanned regularly, router passwords should be changed, and outdated software should be removed or replaced with newer software. Ideally, employees should perform all tasks on company-managed devices.
- Always use VPN encryption
VPN or Virtual Private Networks are commonly used to bypass geographic restrictions on certain sites and view content that is only available at certain locations. However, they are also used for securing, encrypting and protecting employees’ online data, so that it can’t be exploited.
- Beware of work-from-home scams
Online scams targeting remote workers are literally everywhere, since hackers and cybercriminals are increasingly looking to make money on IT security vulnerabilities that come with the new reality of working from home. Employees should take special precautions when opening emails, since many phishing messages look rather harmless. Companies should also advise employees to never click on links or download attachments from any emails that look even remotely out of the ordinary.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks and keep devices secure
Companies should advise employees to avoid public Wi-Fi networks at all costs, since those networks can be accessed by many other people, and cybercriminals consistently use them to gain access to people’s data. If employees do have to work in a public space, or if they live with other people who aren’t allowed to see their work information, they have to keep their devices secure with passwords and encryptions.