With 2020 drawing to a close and the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, anyone who can be still working from home. But when you’re working from home, you don’t have the benefit of robust cybersecurity infrastructure to protect you from hackers, phishing scams, and malware. Hackers know that lots of people are working remotely, and what’s more, they know that remote workers may be more vulnerable to attacks, and that corporate IT staff are stretched thin, with less money and time to spend on security.
And if you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t have an IT staff, to begin with. Instead, you might have to rely on an antivirus program and regular cybersecurity training for staff. Here’s how you and your employees can stay secure while working from home.
Be Mindful of Physical Security
It’s easy to focus solely on digital threats to your business data and forget that devices, as well as physical notes and records, are also physically vulnerable to theft, so be mindful of the physical security of devices and work documents. No one is probably going to be working in a cafe during a pandemic, but it’s worth gently reminding your employees from time to time to secure their devices and workstations so that family members and others who come into the home can’t see them. We’re not suggesting that employees’ families would steal your sensitive information, but young children or even hapless adults may accidentally compromise it in some way if they manage to access it.
Hackers can easily access webcams and use them to spy on the user, so for your privacy’s sake, buy a webcam cover (if your webcam doesn’t already have one) and install it — or, if you have a dedicated webcam, unplug it when not in use. The danger is not so much that hackers will see you picking your nose (although, you definitely don’t want them to), but more that they will be able to spy on important, sensitive paperwork and documents visible through the camera. When using the webcam for a meeting, choose a virtual background to keep hackers from spying on your workstation.
Do Regular Security Checks with Staff
Staff should have home network security training and you should provide them with antivirus software and home network security solutions to keep them safe. But you should also do weekly check-ins with staff to make sure their network and device security settings are in line with enterprise requirements. Refresh your employees’ knowledge about phishing scams and cybersecurity with regular training. You may need to teach your employees how to secure their home wireless networks by configuring their router, installing a firewall, and changing their home network name and password.
Implement Common Sense Security Measures
Whether you’re the only one working from home or you have another staff clocking in remotely, you need to make sure common sense home network security solutions are in use in every home from which an employee works. If you can afford it, the most efficient way may be to offer teleworking employees a home security station to monitor traffic coming in and out of their network. This is the most robust network solution for the home since it can protect against hacking, intrusions, web threats, and malware.
Employees should also be using antivirus software on their work devices. Use a company VPN so that remote workers have an extra layer of security when working remotely. Use unique, strong passwords for any login accounts, including using the strongest possible level of login authentication for VPN users.
If you’re using video conferencing platforms to hold work meetings, you should be aware that some of these platforms are less secure than others. Zoombombing, for example, is an act of trolling in which hackers intrude on a Zoom meeting to disturb the viewers, and they can be quite unsettling. You may want to use a more secure video conferencing platform, like Microsoft Teams or Webex.
Working from home might keep you safe from the pandemic, but it can leave you vulnerable to hackers. Keep your home network safe while you’re working from home, and support your employees in doing the same.
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