A Guide to Working from Home Securely During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the UK enters its third lockdown and the majority of employees are now working from home full time, it’s never been more important to ensure your business and data are secure.
Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses across the UK had to adapt to working remotely. But what many companies may not know is that working from home can increase the risk of cyber-attacks. As an IT support company we are well aware of what can happen.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best ways you can ensure that your company is kept secure when you are working from home during the pandemic.
Install anti-virus software on all devices
If your business hasn’t updated all workforce devices with anti-virus software, do it now! Without strong security solutions, which the company office probably has, your data is at risk of being stolen by hackers. That’s why it’s hugely important to install the best anti-virus software you can afford and roll it out to employee’s devices.
Most devices will have a built-in firewall, however, you will also need to check that your employee’s devices have enabled them.
Always use strong, unique passwords
One of the most straight forward ways to ensure your business stays secure whilst working from home is to always use strong passwords. They should be comprised of a collection of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Your passwords should also be unique to each account. You should never use the same password for multiple accounts, as if it is ever breached, your data is at risk of being stolen from a number of sources, rather than just one.
If you ever have trouble remembering your passwords, there are online tools such as Last Pass which securely keep a log of passwords.
Update router login details
Alongside having strong and unique passwords for your online accounts, it’s also good practice to update your router login details. Default login details for routers can be easily accessed online by hackers and used to take control of your device, so it’s vital that you change it.
Always complete new updates
Everyone puts off completing long updates on their PC, especially if they are busy at work. However, software updates are extremely important when it comes to maintaining strong online security. One of the most common paths cybercriminals take when hacking a system is by identifying out-dated systems that show vulnerabilities. So, to stay secure make sure you complete all new updates and filter this down to you employees.
This is one of the most important points to consider when working from home securely. If a hacker manages to infiltrate your Wi-Fi connection, it can mean that they have access to everything send or submit online, which includes passwords and financial information.
To avoid this, you will need to configure your network connection and encrypt your Wi-Fi connection. This means that it will ask anyone trying to connect to your Wi-Fi for a unique password. There are a few ways to do this, but the best option is WPA2. Use your router settings to change the encryption type and create a strong password!
Use a VPN
If you are working from a public space, make sure you never use the public Wi-Fi. It is not encrypted, which means hackers can steal information you send over the network. The safest practice is to use a virtual private network when connecting to Wi-Fi you don’t own.
Stick to corporate channels
When working from home, it may be more convenient to use your personal Gmail or Google Drive to save and send documents. However, this can be risky as they may not have the same level of security as the corporate channels. Most business will use software like Office 365, Slack and Teams to communicate, send and save data. These tools will usually be configured to the company IT infrastructure, ensuring they are secure. Therefore, it’s always safer to stick to these corporate channels.
Be wary of spam!
The new ‘normal’ of remote working has increased the number of spam emails sent by hackers, mainly due to them wanting to take advantage of employees who may not be ‘on the ball’. If a strange looking email manages to find its way into your company inbox, always be wary that it could be spam or phishing. Always read emails careful, don’t click links and don’t make any rash decisions. If you are being asked to provide financial information or sensitive data, always double check this with a phone call to another member of staff as verification.
Back up data
Whether you fall victim of a scam, virus or human error, backing up your data can greatly reduce the damage caused by theft or loss. Most companies use cloud storage services like SharePoint or OneDrive to store important information and files.
Lock your devices
You may decide to complete some extra work in a public space, or perhaps you live in a shared house. If you leave your device at any time, it’s good security protocol to lock it and cut the risk of data being stolen.
We can help keep your business secure!
If you’re concerned about cyber security (and you should be!), don’t feel your business is taking its security seriously enough or would simply like a review of your existing arrangements, get in touch. A member of the E2E team will be happy to help.
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