With the UK government advising that people avoid non-essential contact with others wherever possible, many organisations are embracing remote working at previously unprecedented levels.
Contemporary businesses are fortunate that infrastructure exists today that allows them to continue working effectively with a remote workforce. Some are finding the upside by of the current situation by embracing this as an opportunity to test that infrastructure in new ways that broaden the scope of their company.
It is key in developing these innovative measures to ensure that your security protocols are updated to match the evolving needs of your network.
Make sure all your essential cybersecurity measures are running on every remote device
All essential precautions you take with the machines you use in the office need to be implemented just as carefully on the ones you use at home. Your antivirus, firewall and other web protections all need to be in place and you should still be using multi-factor authentication when accessing services that handle sensitive information.
Portable devices like laptops, tablets and mobiles need to be encrypted as a high priority. Even if you expect to only work from the comfort of your own home, it’s worth taking that extra precaution to be on the safe side with your data.
These are all measures that, if you are conscious of your cyber hygiene, should be implemented anyway. But it’s worth double checking that everything is working at full capacity and completely up to date when rolling out new remote working procedures.
Use a secure, encrypted connection
Its’s common knowledge that it’s wise to take additional precautions if you’re using public WiFi in places like libraries or coffee shops. Often people don’t take the same kind of approach to risk when working from home.
Many home routers haven’t had any additional security measures implemented since they were first installed. When you’re handling sensitive business data whilst working from home, it’s worth taking a few extra steps. At the very least, changing the password you were given with your router can make it more difficult to compromise.
It’s also worth using a secure VPN to encrypt your internet traffic so that any information you access or share from a remote device is rendered unreadable even if it is intercepted by an external actor.
Make sure you understand the security measures offered by your cloud service providers
When you work remotely, you’ll depend on cloud services to connect with colleagues and share access to files and information. A lot of businesses will use these while they’re in the office anyway, so it might not be the biggest change of pace for many people.
But a lot of employees are going to use these services remotely for the first time. Cybercriminals know that there has been a surge in the number of people working remotely and will take advantage of the additional pressure put onto cloud providers. Right now, a thorough understanding of your providers’ security measures is critical.
It’s unlikely that out-of-the-box services will be perfectly suited to every business and protecting data handled in the cloud is typically considered shared responsibility. You need to be aware of any possible vulnerabilities in the services that support your work and your data so that you can implement your own measures to secure any gaps.
Be extra cautious of unfamiliar emails
While it is always crucial to be careful with messages from unfamiliar senders, practicing caution is key now more than ever. Cybercriminals are not above exploiting people’s fears about their health and the health of their loved ones.
CheckPoint’s Global Threat Index for January 2020 reported several spam campaigns related to the coronavirus outbreak. Some spread malicious malware. Others pose as the WHO or other (sometimes fictional) medical authorities to ask people to transfer money in exchange for a non-existent cure or as the government, offering monetary relief to anyone who will part with sensitive financial information.
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