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Cybersecurity Tips For Working Remotely

Remote work policies have become a necessity not only because of the current coronavirus crisis, but also for the ways they improve a company’s bottom line and efficiency.  Yet, despite remote work’s benefits, it leaves you and your company exposed to online scams and other cybersecurity threats.  To defend your company and your remote workers, please pay attention to the following tips:

Fortify User Accounts:
When everyone is working remotely, user accounts must be secured properly. One way to achieve this is by setting at least 12-character long passwords with numbers and special characters mixed in to make them more difficult to guess. More importantly, these passwords must be unique to each account to minimize the damage if hackers do manage to compromise one set of credentials.  If you find it difficult to generate and remember login details for all your accounts, consider password managers like LastPassDashlane, and Keeper.

To further strengthen your accounts, however, you’ll also need to enable multifactor authentication (MFA).  This step adds another layer of identity verification — like fingerprint scans or one-time activation codes generated by SMS — to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to hijack your accounts.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi and Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN):
Public Wi-Fi is shared, open, insecure, and a hotbed of hacking activities, and should be avoided.  If this is not always possible, be sure to use a VPN.  VPNs are crucial for remote workers.  A reliable VPN creates secure connections between devices and networks by encrypting internet traffic.  This hides web activity from prying eyes.

Protecting Your Employees’ Online Privacy and
Mitigating the Risk of Hackers Stealing Company Information

Patch Your Software Regularly:
Although installing software updates can be a significant issue, they cover serious vulnerabilities and protect your system from the latest threats.  Most apps now offer an automatic update feature so you do not have to manually patch your software.

Another option for your business is patch management software.  This software tracks patches on employee devices and distributes the most recent updates on a company-wide scale.

Set Up Firewalls and Antivirus Software:
Make sure to enable firewalls in your operating systems and hardware.  These firewalls provide a secure layer of protection between your device and the internet by preventing malicious programs and other network threats from reaching your device.  Your Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) may also provide third-party firewalls if your computers do not have any built-in by default.

In addition to firewalls, you will also want to implement antivirus software to detect and remove any malicious programs that do manage to find their way onto your device.  Just remember to continually update the software so it can effectively detect the newest malware.  Provide your end-users corporate equipment or remote access to their office PC.

The best way to ensure the equipment is patched accurately and has the correct firewall setting in order to access an approved VPN is to provide end-users with company PCs and Notebooks.  These machines can be properly configured and maintained to ensure that they comply with company standards.  If this is not always financially feasible, ensure that employees can have secure and remote access to their office computers.  Remote access will ensure that any work being done is on a device that companies with company security standards.

Secure Home Routers:
Household Wi-Fi routers are not as secure as their commercial counterparts, so please take extra precautions to protect them.  For starters, change your router password as soon as possible because hackers can easily break into them once they know the router model; hackers can easily crack it.   You should also install the latest firmware updates to eliminate any security holes.

Finally, check whether your router has Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption settings to secure inbound and outbound traffic.  If your router does not have this setting, you’re overdue for an upgrade.

Back Up Data:
Ensure that remote worker backs up the data regularly.  This way, you will have a copy of your files in case of a significant data loss incident like ransomware or a power outage.

Watch Out For Online Scams:
The biggest threat remote workers face is online scams.  Phishing emails may entice you with free coronavirus test kits in exchange for personal information.  Some cybercriminals may even masquerade as legitimate companies, CEOs, or friends to trick you into clicking on dangerous links and attachments.

To avoid these threats, you must be critical of everything you see online.  Look for any suspicious links and attachments, grammatical errors in the email body, and misspelled email addresses.  Plus, never give out sensitive information to an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call.

Working from home poses many cybersecurity challenges for businesses, but you do not have to address them alone.  If you need to set up a firewall to avoid fraud and even enable MFA guidance, we can provide you with the IT support you need during this difficult time.

For additional information or help with your cybersecurity, please contact our HR IT team at 914-243-9155 or  info@myhrd.biz