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How to Ensure Cybersecurity While Working From Home

Updated on: May 22, 2020

How to Ensure Cybersecurity While Working From Home

The number of people working from home has lately taken an upward trend. We all know what has caused this hike – the coronavirus health crisis. Before we know it a lockdown has been imposed and we are taken out of office corridors and put into hibernation. As much as working remotely boosts productivity, it also opens up ways for cyberattacks.

So much so that according to researchers at Zscaler, attacks using the terms coronavirus or COVID-19 have increased by 15 to 20% since January 2020. Hackers’ main intention is to trick people into revealing their personal data. Today we are going to reason out why work from home is a perfect playground for hackers. And how you can ensure security in these trying times.

How Work From Home is a perfect situation for hackers?

For smaller organizations, remote work settings are not alien. If you ask a start-up founder, you will find that they have been into this long before the lockdown happened. Popular new-age SaaS companies like Zapier, Appknox, Astra Security, CloudTalk and many others rely on outsourcing and remote employment for their operations, fully or partially.

Sure, the worldwide lockdown caused organizations to buckle up really fast. Further, the suddenness of the situation resulted in a hasty setup of workflow, tools & software. Which overlooked one chief aspect of remote work – Security!

Hackers have been leveraging this opportunity to attack vulnerable systems. Listed below are some of the common most ways we have seen an attack transpire:

1. Accessing sensitive data through unsafe Wi-Fi networks.

Connecting to insecure Wi-Fi networks may give hackers a pathway sensitive data of an individual or company. Hackers may access your emails, credit card details, phone numbers, and databases through such a connection. Such information causes enormous losses when it falls into the wrong hands. This insecurity is because encryption in Wi-Fi networks is not entirely safe and thus has defects.

2. Use of personal devices for work purposes

People tend to transfer work files to their computers and mobile devices so that they can easily handle them from the comfort of their homes. This habit is convenient but usually puts the data at risk. Personal devices offer less protection to stored information than work computers. Only the organization knows how important the company’s data is, and frequently not the employees. There is a massive difficulty in controlling how the employees deal with the information when stored in their devices.

3. Overlooking vital security measures in public places

A worker may occasionally forget that they are handling tasks away from the typical workplace. For instance, public exposure of important company details on their computer or forgetting their device at an open spot. Such may happen because one is used to doing it at work or merely ignoring all the dangers.

Top cybersecurity and Work From Home tips

At present, hackers are on the rise and are mostly targeting loosely secured systems. They always find new ways to get into databases. So, you should try to at least measure up to them if you cannot be ahead of them. It is vital to adhere to secure ways of doing remote work to avoid leakage of information. How do you do exactly that? Let’s explore some effective measures below.

1. Manage your locations of work

All company managers should ensure that their employees have secure home offices. No worker should use public resources for fulfilling their assigned tasks. Employees should also work from one or two locations that have gone through verification by their employers or security experts. Figure out which kind of jobs you can do from anywhere and those that require the specified locations.

2. Enable multi-factor authentication

This type of authentication provides additional security since it requires more than one factor to authorize access. It confirms the identity of the individual trying to gain access. As a result, the system nullifies all attempts by hackers to acquire sensitive information.

3. Use a password manager

Passwords deserve a priority in the quest for staying safe. A proper system should be in place to protect all passwords. As a worker, you won’t have to remember all the login details to databases but instead, have a secure program doing it for you. Thus, it helps focus on the actual responsibilities rather than trying to remember passwords.

4. Set up a firewall

Use a specific device when working from home that is free of penetration by hackers. All the devices should connect through a firewall. The firewall should block any unauthorized access and alert you of any risks. Execute a frequent manual scan for malware on top of the firewall’s automatic scans.

5. Install a VPN application

Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections even if it is a cheaper option because the trouble you might get into is much more costly. Also, categorize your work to know of the instances where you are eligible to use other non-specified networks. When using public Wi-Fi, ensure you use a VPN to mask your online activities. Regularly update your chosen VPN application to enable new features that solve any threats that may evolve.

6. Follow particular steps in case hacking occurs

There should be strict guidelines to follow in case any form of cyber attack comes your way. Keep up with the rules of the company when it comes to data security. Such include reporting the incident to the employer for further actions. An employer should offer training to employees to help neutralize such situations.

Conclusion

Working from home is purely beneficial only if the worker upholds the security of any critical information. Every company should be concerned about cybersecurity and work from home. Employers should enforce strict rules among employees to reduce the chances of cyber threats.

All workers outside the main offices should go through some assessment to ensure that they cannot, by chance, stray from the regulations. Whether part-time or full-time, employees must be sure to follow all the rules without exception. Such habits help in the wellbeing of the individuals and also the company. Don’t forget to engage robust security tools such as Astra to keep you secure throughout this period.

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Aakanchha Keshri

Aakanchha is a technical writer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. She is an avid reader, researcher, and an active contributor to our blog and the cybersecurity genre in general. To date, she has written over 200 blogs for more than 60 domains on topics ranging from technical to promotional. When she is not writing or researching she revels in a game or two of CS: GO.
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