As the world continues to fight COVID-19 for a second year running, working from home has become the new normal. Until late 2019, remote jobs were a luxury only a few wage-earners could enjoy. However, most businesses today have now shifted both recruitment and business continuity plans to be operated online.
When it comes to remote work, it is a very feast or famine mode of operation. It saves a tremendous amount of time and money while also improving the work-life balance. However, remote work environments cannot compete with the safeguards that businesses set up in their office for securing data. Whilst not completely bulletproof, office computers are packed with preventive security tools that make data leakage quite difficult. On the other hand, remote work makes it impossible for business owners to keep track of each employee’s data exchange. In this situation, we recommend business owners follow our list of the 5 remote working cybersecurity tips:
1. Connecting to an Encrypted Network
Remote work does not provide businesses with the facility of operating in a safe environment. Since each employee works on their unencrypted personal computers, data leakage becomes highly likely. On top of that, it is almost impossible to keep track of where your company’s data is headed as a business owner. Therefore, summoning your employees to connect to an encrypted Virtual Private Network is a good idea to make sure your data is secure.
A Virtual Private Network is a great tool that hides your IP address while you operate on your computer system. As a result, all the data exchanged during your sessions are immune from cyberattacks. With a VPN, you get the benefit of protected file sharing and improved performance. If you are an international business, your employees can also access foreign websites using a VPN for research purposes.
2.. Lock screens
You can get all the protection in the world for your computers. However, if you just leave them unlocked and in the open, they are extremely vulnerable to data leakage. As a business owner, you should always make sure that your employees actively lock their computer screens as soon as they go off them. When the working day is over, they should ideally close all their office-related windows. If they have to continue to work, they must cautiously monitor their environment and not leave their screen in plain sight.
3. Avoid using random USB drives
Though a lot of data exchange in today’s time has shifted into cloud-based systems, some businesses still use USB drives for data exchange. Not to mention how common it is for people to use a randomly given USB drive on their personal computers just out of curiosity. While we don’t blame you for your detective intentions, it is worth noting that it is quite common for hackers to drop random thumb drives to get into your system. Therefore, you should make sure that you do not insert unknown USB drives in the system you perform your corporate tasks.
4. Be aware of COVID-19 phishing attacks
Phishing attacks have been around ever since the internet first started gaining popularity. During this attack, a hacker makes the victim enter their details (login credentials, credit card details, etc) to use them with malicious intent. And since these hackers make phishing web pages look completely authentic, it is quite common for people to get trapped under them.
In recent times, organized cybercrime groups have started to make use of COVID-19 to phish. Usually, you will receive phishing links on your E-Mail that will either ask you for personal information or charity. Alternatively, they might tempt you with COVID-related information for a certain amount of money. And let’s face it, considering how fragile the virus is as a topic, it is very easy for people to get phished using this technique. We recommend that you cautiously avoid any such links that you come across while browsing the internet.
5. Using a separate system for work
No matter how much you protect your corporate data, there is always mental stress that is involved regarding your office data. Ever since the introduction of the work from home scheme, this mental stress has increased multiple folds on the face of both business owners and employees. The simplest fix to this problem is to use a separate system for remote work. If you make sure that your corporate data remains in a separate system that is locked in your free time, you immensely minimize data leakage. On top of that, you get the freedom of downloading and browsing through random websites on the internet without a worry.
Remote work has become quite popular in recent times. Even businesses that weren’t conventionally online have started to switch to online modes of operation. While this technological shift has been quite helpful in a lot of ways, it also opens a lot of doors for cybercrime. Unlike your office computers, personal computers aren’t insured from cyber attacks. Moreover, it gets very tough for business owners to keep track of each employee’s corporate data. This is why we created this list of the 5 best ways to secure your office data while remote working.