With the move to at-home work for countless businesses, many of the standard office procedures and expectations are cast aside for the benefits of remote work.
While there are intangible perks to full or part time remote work like an uber-relaxed dress code to lunchtime leftovers or even companion pets who share your office space, some office precautions and safety measures should not be forgotten just because you fire up the company laptop with remote work software.
But what does remote work mean for the company’s data security? Let’s look at a few computer security principles and practice to keep your virtual office just as safe and secure as it would be if you clocked in at the office every day.
Why Is Cyber Security Important When Working Remotely?
The security of a company’s information implies protection against accidental or deliberate common computer security threats that may harm the data owners or their users. The actions of a qualified computer security specialist should be aimed at the prevention of data leaks, rather than combating their consequences. But at the same time, a cyber security analyst is important to maintain easy access to information for those people who legally use the databases.
The damage caused by information leakage cannot be predicted in advance. In some cases, the damage of computer security systems leads to a complete inability of the company to engage in business activities.
How to keep data safe and secure? The issue is not new, but with the development of electronic means of processing and storing data, companies that hire remote workers become more and more aware of data leakage and illegal copying.
In most cases, the following data is vulnerable:
- Information about the real financial condition of the company;
- Innovative developments of scientific and technical departments;
- Registration data for access to secure servers;
- Personal data of employees.
An additional “headache” for every computer security analyst is that the theft of information can negatively affect the company not immediately after its commission but after a certain time. The data that may seem unimportant can damage the reputation of the company and reduce its market value when released to the public.
Therefore, when developing measures to ensure information security, data cannot be divided into “important” and “not important”. Everything that is located in the IT infrastructure of the company and stored in servers should be secured. And that is why every computer security tip matters.
By the way, if you are concerned about the security of your ecommerce website, we have overviewed some of the truly working DDoS attack detection measures to keep you aware.
What Is a Security Best Practice To Apply When Working Remotely?
Home networks are less secure than corporate ones, which makes the computers connected to them a source of serious potential problems. Cyber security risks associated with remote work include traffic modification, interception of passwords and confidential data, as well as hacking of routers and redirecting users to malicious sites.
Below we’ve collected some computer security key points to consider to make remote work safe.
1. Keep Software and Operating Systems Up to Date
It’s so easy to ignore that little popup reminding about software updates, but in the case of software on a computer used to conduct business, don’t put off the prompt. One of the simplest ways to keep your laptop, the remote work tools you use and all the data safe and secure is to update all software as recommended.
Security patches are always included when needed in the operating system or software updates, and new vulnerabilities are risky with older versions of programs. When a personal device is used for business, keeping software up to date is even more crucial because access to corporate data might be at stake when a protective update is missed or skipped.
2. Reset Passwords Regularly
Even though it might seem like an unnecessary step, regularly resetting passwords is a simple way to avoid vulnerabilities. Remote workers might avoid this sometimes annoying task since no other co-workers are around, increasing a false sense of security. But in reality, changing passwords is recommended by cyber security services experts more than just once a year. Weak or moderately strong passwords should be changed between every 30-90 days for maximum security.
Experts agree, though, that excellent passwords that are very strong, long, and contain a wide variety of characters may not need to be reset quite as often.
3. Invest in Antivirus Software
Conducting business from home might mean using a personal device for business matters for some remote workers. But for any laptop or device outside of the office, using antivirus software is critical in keeping the remote office data and information safe.
For personal devices, installing antivirus software will prevent malware, viruses, hacks, and any other cyber threat from infecting or infiltrating company and private data.
The use of effective and up-to-date antivirus software is something that remote workers may not consider as a high priority to have installed since devices owned by companies usually are monitored and updated regularly by the IT department when officing onsite. But for remote workers, this basic protection is vital to keep corporate information safe and secure while working from home.
4. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A great way that managers and staff can encourage remote workers to be as safe as possible when working at home is to urge the use of a VPN. This private network will improve privacy online by not only bypassing location-specific content (which is why many remote workers do not want to use one) but most importantly it will encrypt data so it cannot be intercepted or captured.
The use of a VPN is a crucial safety step that should be a standard expectation for remote work since it adds a strong layer of security to data transmission from the home office to all work connections.
5. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
An often-overlooked safety measure that remote workers can be encouraged to utilize is a multi-factor authentication step when logging in to devices. Corporate data can be protected against unauthorized access when an MFA uses such capabilities as biometrics or SMS and voice logins to ensure that security is maintained.
Companies like OneLogin by One Identity have created MFAs that will allow businesses to protect vital apps or the whole business, providing a comprehensive solution for remote workers to use to safeguard corporate data and information.
We’ve collected the most crucial tips from computer security service experts. Need some more? We have rounded up a few more suggestions for managers and staff to use to encourage safe practices for their remote workers:
- Use a password manager to help keep track of necessary PIN/password changes;
- Use locking devices at all times even if public spaces are not utilized often for remote working;
- Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections;
- Change the at-home router password if the factory-issued password is still in use.
Regardless of where the work is completed, keeping corporate data safe and secure is necessary for any business.
Remote workers face unique challenges that on-site workers do not, but managerial staff can encourage a variety of safety steps. For office-at-home workers, these fairly simple but effective strategies will make certain that business as usual is the only thing remote workers will have to worry about.