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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought massive and disruptive changes in the digital infrastructures and the lives of individuals and companies. This pandemic is the main reason why companies permit their employees to work from remote places/homes rather than their office premises.
Statistics on Remote Working:
- 40% of the employees love the flexibility in their schedule when they work from home.
- Since 2005, the WFH rate has risen to 140%.
Statistics also indicate that previously only 5% of the Americans were working from home, which has increased to 60% post-2020.
Though most employees are giving good work productivity due to a happy environment, IT professionals are worried about cyber-crimes gaining the upper hand in these remote workplaces.
Since most businesses are positioning their networks and systems in remote areas to assist their employees in working from home, cyber-criminals have started wandering in these remote areas.
They try to aim for lucrative targets, and this pandemic situation has given them a target of attacking remote workplaces which lack strong security. They try to exploit the disruptive situation for invading data privacy and stealing sensitive information for monetary benefits.
However, apart from malicious intrusions in the network made by hackers, human errors are also accountable for the issue.
Cyber-threats which Need to be Addressed:
- Using unsecured Wi-Fi
- Lack of employee training and awareness on cyber-threats and their solutions
- Lack of security of personal devices (sharing the same, or keeping them in open space)
So, being a remote employee, you need to keep your network and systems secured and ensure customer data and business information security.
Below mentioned are a few cyber-security tips for employees working in remote locations. Let’s check them out.
Cyber Security Tips for Remote Employees:
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network):
Hackers love unsecured connections, and hence, employees working in remote places should use the company’s VPN, which gives them a secured internet connection, by routing their data traffic through an encrypted channel.
A VPN sustains external attacks because it hides your IP address and makes you invisible by shielding your identity.
- It hides your sensitive data
- It permits you to bypass firewalls and geo-blocks
- Mitigates data sniffing
- It prevents data-throttling and circumvents bandwidth-throttling
- It’s cost-effective
- It encrypts online links
VPN enables remote workers to prevent intruders from accessing data by encrypting network traffic and preventing the display of your monitoring actions.
Research indicates that more than 26% of internet users rely on VPN services. Hire an IT professional to check out the best VPN service which fulfils your requirement.
Never turn it off while you are working and avoid using public Wi-Fi for your remote workspace.
- Ensure Data Confidentiality by Encrypting Data:
Encryption of data at your remote workspace is important to make it unreadable. It is a process that makes the text scrambled so that the hacker cannot read the same. Only the intended recipient, having the decryption key, can read and decode the message. Such is the power of the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate when it is installed on the website.
Tip: If you are an entrepreneur, secure your website with encryption technology by installing an SSL certificate. Though there are many SSL service providers, CheapSSLShop.com tops the list by providing the cheap SSL certificate and awesome customer support services.
When employees work in remote places, the risk of devices getting lost or sensitive data being compromised increases, but if the data exchanged between the remote workplace and company website is encrypted using SSL certificate, the company data can be secured.
- Keep Devices Separate:
To keep business data secured, it is essential to keep the home laptop and office laptop devices separate. If your laptop is not secured properly, working on the same for official use may pose a threat to the organization’s data and information.
Most of the businesses invest in an IT team that ensures regular security updates, runs regular scans, monitors suspicious activities, and blocks unwanted entries. Similar strict security monitoring is usually not possible in personal laptops.
Ensure that your family and friends do not use your official device. Never share the login credentials where sensitive data is stored. The best solution is to use your office-issued laptop for office work.
- Use 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) or MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication):
More than one authentication method to secure your computer network always helps in case of cyber-attacks. Hackers may break one shield, but they may be unable to break the remaining barriers, and hence your network remains secure.
Using MFA for your remote location helps prevent cyber-criminals from network access because they need to pass through two or more verifications before they can gain access.
Example: Logging in the network or account may require OTP or code verification sent via SMS apart from entering passwords.
Research indicates that user identity risk is reduced by 99.9% when MFA is used. MFA or 2FA prevents hackers in their attempts, thus helping the IT team in lessening their task and in helping ignorant employees to safeguard their systems against such cyber-criminals.
- Utilize a Centralised Storage Location:
A centralized storage facility for all employees working in offices and remote places works the best for security reasons.
In many cases, I have observed that employees working in remote places store the files locally on their computers. They are ignorant about cloud services or centralized storage facilities. This puts your organization’s data at risk since unsecured storage can be compromised easily.
Please communicate with your remote workers regarding the same, train them on data storage in such locations to keep it secured. This will simplify the accessibility, availability, and security of data for remote workers.
Use a firewall to secure your storage and to prevent intruders from entering the same. Also, take necessary backups (centralized backup to cloud) in case of contingencies.
- Beware of Zoom and Video Conferencing:
Video conferences and zoom meetings are ideal for communicating with remote workers or work-from-home employees.
Trollers crash your zoom meetings by displaying vulgar videos, content, or porn. They also attack with public calls. They can invade your privacy by monitoring your meetings and gain your sensitive information.
- The best way to avoid this catastrophe is to always post zoom invite links or meet IDS in a private space using complex passwords.
- Install all updates on all devices using Zoom
- Create a waiting room by including only invitees
- Once the meeting commences, lock the room
- Keep your zoom meetings private
- Ensure end-to-end encryption security for data privacy and zoom meeting security
- Keep your Devices Secured:
This pandemic has increased the rate of home-working individuals, which has made the task of data security more pivotal and challenging. Hence, it would be best to keep your devices updated and systems secured with anti-virus/anti-malware software to ensure data security and device security.
Security measures to be followed:
- Ban all Wi-Fi hub spots which are free for use.
- Opt for a VPN in case of use of any public Wi-Fi.
- Train your employees about cyber-threats, their symptoms, and their solutions.
- Use complex passwords and MFA for added security
- Update your operating system regularly
- Limit access to sensitive data.
Train your remote workers and make them capable of keeping their devices secured from malicious links and codes by following the above security protocols.
Strong passwords, VPN, and best email practices help secure the remote working process. This process can be easily secured with end-to-end encryption along with the tips mentioned above and can ensure successful remote working during these pandemic times.
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