The Best Work From Home Security Tips
Remote working is not going anywhere. The risk of remote work is changing the landscape of how people work. As people continue to get used to the idea and practice of remote work, it brings a lot of creative challenges and hurdles, especially concerning cyber security. Understanding the various risks that come with working remotely is the first step.
Believe it or not, as many as 70% of cyber-attacks are targeted at smaller and medium-sized businesses. As many as half of small companies have experienced some type of cyber attack in the past. Logically, it’s not that hard to believe. After all, these companies don’t have the resources nor the IT personnel working around the clock to practice optimal cybersecurity and implement various effective cybersecurity measures.
Luckily, there are certain things you can do to improve your Cybersecurity solutions for your business while having people work remotely. These are all essential tips that you’ll want to deploy throughout your organization.
Top Cybersecurity Tips:
- Secure The Home Router
First things first, you need to properly secure your home router. This is the first entry point that must be secured. This is a very important step, but also a relatively simple one. A lot of people make the critical and costly mistake of not changing their router’s default login. Not only do you want to change the password, but also the user name. A lot of hackers will try to scout to see which users haven’t changed their router’s default password. This is what’s known as “low-hanging fruit” in the criminal world. It makes it very easy for them to gain access to your network. Don’t make yourself an easy target, change your password to something unique and difficult. This is a basic yet very effective way to improve the security of your entire network.
While this is a great first step to take, it’s not the last. You want to also ensure that your router is consistently updated. Your router manufacturer will consistently release new updates for your router that you’ll want to install. These updates typically patch specific vulnerabilities and other flaws in your router’s firmware.
- Keep Your Devices Separate
When you are looking to keep yourself secure, you want to keep everything separated. This can be easier said than done in a lot of cases. However, it’s always a good idea when you are working remotely and working from home.
It can be very tedious and annoying to constantly have to go from device to device based on what you are doing, but it’s necessary. It can help to protect not only you but also your company. It will reduce the amount of data that gets stolen if your device ends up getting compromised whether it be your work or personal device.
- Update Your Operating System
Your operating system of preference is another concern you need to keep up with. You want to ensure that you are consistently updating your device’s operating system. You will find that new vulnerabilities are discovered almost daily. Because of this, a lot of operating systems will have daily updates that you’ll want to download and install. The best way to ensure you are doing this consistently is by having them download and install automatically. They can be disruptive, so having it set to do all of the updates while you are sleeping can be a good way to go about it. You also want to ensure you aren’t using an unsupported operating system. Typically, a developer is only going to support their operating system for a certain amount of time. You want to stop using it once the device or the software reaches its end-of-life support. If you continue to use unsupported operating systems, you won’t get the latest security patches and it could leave your device vulnerable to attacks.
Here is a good way to tell if you still have support for your operating system:
For windows, you will want to go to Microsoft’s website and check the lifecycle fact sheet.
For Mac devices, you will want to see how old your device is. There is no specific policy for their MacOS support. However, you can generally tell based on how long the device has been in the marketplace. Generally, they support their devices for as many as three years.
Linux is a good operating system for unlimited support. You will find the majority of Linux distros to be supported consistently for years and years since it’s open-sourced.
Android doesn’t do the best with updates. You will generally get security upgrades for up to 2 major versions. Some manufacturers are supporting their devices for longer. You need to check individually with the brand you buy from. Also, you will want to ensure they are delivering timely security updates.
With iOS, there is no set-in-stone policy. However, you can generally count on them being supported for at least three years. It’s not very easy to tell if you have a device that is still supported. Because of this, you want to try to stick to upgrading within a couple of years if possible to ensure you have an adequately supported and updated device.
- Don’t Ignore When Prompted To Update
A lot of people tend to see “update now” and look to put it off because it can be disruptive. Sometimes system updates can indeed disrupt your workflow. However, they are critical especially if there is a critical update available. An update isn’t there to only make minor changes to the operating system, they are also there to fix security patches and more. You want to update whenever prompted as soon as possible because they can fix pivotal holes in the software or operating system that can leave your data vulnerable.
The majority of devices in the marketplace will have an option to turn on automatic updates. However, you may have to restart the device for them to finish installing. This can be annoying, but it’s 100% necessary.
The majority of devices will check for new updates on their own. However, you do want to ensure you are regularly doing update audits to update anything that isn’t done automatically. A good way to avoid having to worry about updates is by using Software as a Service (SaaS). These web apps can be very good for those who are lazy about updating things because they are accessed via the web. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any security concerns having the application installed on your Mac or PC.
- Automatic Locking
This is very important when you are working remotely because you could find yourself working in a setting outside of your home. A lot of people sit down to work at a coffee shop. If you get up to get yourself a refill, you will be leaving your computer or device free for however long. A good way to ensure no one accesses it while gone is by locking it. You can lock it to the desk with a hardware lock and you can lock your software by using an operating system lock. A lot of devices will do this automatically. They will trigger the lock if you leave your device unused and unattended anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
- Have a Strong Password
You want to ensure you are using a password on your device. It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone, tablet, or PC. You want to use a password that cannot be easily guessed or brute-forced. You also want to ensure you don’t write it down anywhere someone could access it. Try to include different characters and symbols for the most effective password.
Try to avoid using anything that could be easily guessed including a family member’s name, a pet’s name, or your birthday. You want to have a random assortment of numbers, letters, and symbols or a randomly generated pass phrase.
- Password Managers
One of the best things you can do to ensure you are using the best passwords and unique passwords for every account is to set up and use a password manager. A password manager can be a very effective way to create strong passwords for all of your accounts. It’s also a good way to ensure you don’t compromise more than one account if anything gets hacked or breached.
If you don’t use a unique password for every account, a single breach could compromise your other accounts. For instance, if a retailer’s site didn’t encrypt your password and you used it across accounts, a simple breach could expose your banking account to a hacker.
- Two-Factor Authentication
You also want to consider using a Two-Factor Authentication method to ensure you protect accounts beyond having a unique password. This ensures someone needs to authenticate themselves twice to access an account. Thus, even if your password gets leaked, they would need additional authentication which can either be software or hardware.