Many companies are taking operations outside the offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lot of chaos during the switch to remote working. All the focus is on output but there’s something equally if not more important to worry about, cybersecurity. When an entire workforce is at home, this should be the single most important concern for companies.
We live in a world where data is a valuable currency. Malware, ransomware, and viruses are all over the web waiting to capture company data. In the office your network is internal and it’s much easier to keep data secure but working at home exposes you to new vulnerabilities. You can never be too safe when it comes to cybersecurity, even some of the largest companies have been victims.
A cyberattack doesn’t just mean data on that device is exposed and if your employee isn’t protected hackers can access the entire network. All your employee data, facts, figures and sensitive information no longer belongs to just you. This isn’t an internal problem either, many companies have consumer data. Your customers are trusting you to keep their information safe. You need to make sure you keep their trust and therefore their business.
It’s a scary world on the web but luckily there are plenty of things you and your employees can do to stay safe. During this pandemic safety is our number one concern. This includes cyber safety, so we care sharing some tips with you.
We asked our Cybersecurity Lead Alexandra Barreto “What can you do to stay safe during these uncertain times?” Barreto says: “The first thing companies need to do is securing their employee’s devices”. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are the most popular mobile devices and should be encrypted (which varies according to the OS used), and all connections should be secured through the use of a VPN. Alexandra explains the importance of using a secure connection: “VPNs encrypt all data transmitted, and when you use a public connection such as the one you have at home, you’re more vulnerable to attacks than when you use the one at an office”.
Here are some simple tools for your team that you can implement right now:
· 2 Factor Authentication — Instead of a simple password, require a second factor usually a token sent to verify identity.
· Automatic session log-out — A machine automatically logs you out after a set idle time. This logs out remote accounts as well.
· Encrypted disks - Scrambles your data to make it unreadable to unauthorized users
· Secure password manager — Not only does this make remote work easier by giving necessary users access but all entries are encrypted
· Updated operative systems — Updating your system can remove vulnerabilities. Your OS is working for you to keep you secure. Most updates contain important security measures. The infamous Equifax hack was entirely preventable with a simple update.
· Having active firewalls — Firewalls restrict unauthorized access and untrusted users.
· Constant security training and awareness — Sometimes breaches are caused by simple human error. These are completely avoidable with proper training. Stay informed, stay safe.
· Secure at Home Wireless Network — Safety starts at home, especially when working remote. Your wireless connection needs to be encrypted and password protected because it’s a direct gateway to your entire network.
· Utilize a VPN — VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPNs can encrypt data, secure history and help protect against cybercrimes. Working remote makes a VPN a necessity for your team.
Use this as an opportunity to implement a company-wide security policy in you don’t have one. Whether in the office or at home security policies should be in place as soon as operations are online in any capacity. Share this information with your team. As cybersecurity lead Barreto says, “A secure and knowledgeable team makes for secure practices that will make companies work out efficiently”.
Look for our second part in our cybersecurity at home series about common cybersecurity mistakes!