In the last few months, the world has changed beyond all recognition and with it, office dynamics across the globe. It’s possible that back in early March, you’d never authorised a day of remote working in your life.
Perhaps you were of the mindset that remote workforces were less productive or that it’s harder to maintain a sense of team cohesion if people don’t gather together in one place. And then, COVID-19 hit and everyone had to rethink their attitude to remote work.
The biggest concern for many is cybersecurity. Yes, staff can still do most of their work remotely, but can they adequately keep their data safe? The answer is, with a few additional measures in place, absolutely.
And so, whether your company is experienced in working from home or your remote-working infrastructure is still developing, we’ve compiled seven top tips for making sure your security is on point wherever the office is.
1. Set up two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your phone or laptop in which users provide two different versions of verification to confirm their identity because, let’s face it, even the strongest password is susceptible to the work of hackers. By adding an additional layer of security, even if someone knows or hacks your password, they’re still not getting into your account any time soon. A data breach investigation by phone company Verizon said that a whopping 80% of data breaches could be eliminated by adding an extra step to your login process.
Setting up two-factor security is surprisingly easy. The process for each device will differ slightly and the two-step process could involve entering a code that’s only accessible from a specific device, entering additional info or even using thumbprints or retina scans. What makes this even more appealing is that even the least corporate device will now give you the option to do this.
2. Use A VPN on unsecured networks
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is the ideal solution for remote workers who may occasionally need to connect to non-private networks. A VPN allows you to connect to a secure, private network, allow users to access region-specific websites and shield your activities when using private wi-fi.
Sure, it’s great if you’re looking to keep your identity and location private but, more than that, it plays a hugely important role in cybersecurity. A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic so if a hacker manages to access it, they’ll be unable to actually read it.
3. Lock your device
Okay, this may seem exasperatingly simple, but you might just be surprised how many of us forget this basic but vital security measure. If you’re in a public place, then we hope that this goes without saying but it’s even worth doing from the comfort of your own home. Picture the embarrassment if your child sends an emoji-heavy message to one of your stakeholders or your cat walks across your keyboard and presses send on that email you were in no way ready to send yet. Keep it locked, keep it safe. Simple.
4. Use business cloud services for online work
Almost all companies have a set of corporate IT services that their employees are encouraged to use, whether it’s Slack or Microsoft 365, Trello or Basecamp or simply a personalised work email. These tools are safely configured by an IT department to ensure cyber safety. But, if you work from home and use personal accounts such as Google Drive, be aware that these are far less secure. It’s a distant possibility but an unsecured Google Drive document could even appear in a search result making it accessible to anyone who feels like taking a look. In short, stick to corporate cloud services when sending confidential data.
5. Secure your home router
Remember the last time you changed your router password? Have you EVER changed your router password? Even if you have, it’s likely that many members of your workforce will have overlooked the need to change their default setting making it unnecessarily vulnerable. It’s fairly simple to do but if you have an IT department then it’s worth designating the responsibility to them, so they can talk any members of staff through the process if they’re unsure.
If you are working with a skilled IT team and you’re likely to have confidential data flying around, set the encryption to WPA2 or WPA3 and restrict inbound and outbound traffic.
6. Beware of phishing scams and sites
We all think we’re pretty clued up when it comes to spotting scam emails from princes in far-flung lands (who have promised to send us millions, if only we send £10,000 dollars to help with transfer costs) but as we smarten up, so do cybercriminals. With the explosion in home and remote working, there are undoubtedly a number of shady characters looking to cash in on any vulnerabilities in our security systems.
Advise staff to be endlessly vigilant.
- Don’t open links or attachments unless you trust the user completely
- Hover over URL links and check email addresses are legit (Lloyds bank won’t be sending emails from ClemFandango92@hotmail.com)
- Always check a site’s credibility before entering any information
- If in doubt, contact the sender
7. Keep work and personal computers separate
Ever been tempted to fire off a work email from your personal phone? Or quickly log in to your WhatsApp account on your work computer? You’re not alone, but there is additional risk involved. Of course, if you’ve taken all of the precautions outlined above and you’re using a VPN and corporate cloud service then it should be fine. But be wary of mixing your personal computer with your work as there’s every chance it won’t have the same security protocols that you’ve worked to create on your corporate devices.
The majority of your employees will already be cybersecurity savvy. Many of these tips will come naturally to them even without reminders, but by incorporating security into official company policy, you’ll impress on them how important it is. Run security training sessions for those who are new to remote working and include these policies into future onboarding sessions. With just a little extra effort, remote working can be as secure as working from the office and, given the huge upward spike in home working, this can only be a good thing.
For more business help and advice, head to the CDL blog. Or, if you’d like to learn more about our computer disposals and data recycling services, click here to visit our homepage or call us on 0333 060 1619.