Going from an office environment to a home environment to work can change a lot of things when it comes to business processes. One of the most significant is the types of protections that data and devices may have from online threats.
Many businesses did not have a lot of time to plan their transition to a remote workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic came out of the blue, causing stay-at-home orders to be issued and companies to make quick decisions about how to stay in business remotely.
If you’re no longer working at the office, your computer is outside any onsite-based firewall or managed ITplans for security. This can cause a serious risk for data breaches, ransomware infections, and other online threats.
36% of companies have had a security incident that was caused by a remote working employee
But just because you’re working at home, doesn’t mean you have to be stressed daily about causing a potential data breach. There are several steps you can take to secure your device and business data and stay safe from online threats.
Ways to Keep Your Device and Data Safe While Working Remotely
Good cybersecurity is about diligence and following best practices every day. Taking a multi-pronged approach is key because that’s what hackers do. They’ll try to attack using a variety of methods.
Think of each best practice a different security tactic. For example, a bank might have video cameras, a security guard, an alarm system, and a vault lock. All different layers, working together to make their overall security stronger.
The same is true of IT security tactics, each one serves a different, but connected purpose. So, the more of these best practices you adopt, the more protected you’ll be.
Keep Your Devices Updated/Patched
Unpatched system vulnerabilities were responsible for 60% of data breaches in 2019. While those update alerts may be annoying when they interrupt your work, they’re vital to the security of your system.
Make sure you’re updating your operating system, software, and firmware regularly. And don’t forget to check for updates to your router firmware too!
Use a VPN to Encrypt Online Connections
If you’re like most employees working from home, you’re connecting through a consumer-grade Wi-Fi router. While they’re fine for home use, they’re not designed with the same security as business-grade routers.
This means the data you’re accessing online could be compromised by a hacker.
You can protect against this by using a virtual private network (VPN) app when you go online. It reroutes your connection through VPN servers and encrypts the traffic.
A business VPN offers the best protection and is better for offices with multiple remote employees.
Put Your Work Devices on a Separate Wi-Fi Network
Another tip you can use to help reduce the chance of a hacker getting into your device through your home wireless connection is to put any devices you use to access work data on a different Wi-Fi stream than the other devices in your home.
Homes are getting more IoT devices every day, like doorbell cameras, smart coffee makers, etc., and these devices often pose a security risk.
More than 50% of IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
You can give your work devices their own Wi-Fi stream by creating a guest network on your router and using it only for devices you use to access and store business data.
Use a Reliable Antivirus/Anti-Malware
You should always keep your device protected by a reliable antivirus/anti-malware solution. You want to use one that can keep you safeguarded from newer threats that might not be catalogued in a threat database yet.
So, look for tools that go beyond signature-based detection and that use AI and machine learning with behavior-based algorithms.
Use Two-Factor Authentication with Your Logins
One of the strongest protections against account hacks is enabling two-factor authentication (also called multi-factor authentication).
When you’re working from home, you’re most likely logging into several different cloud applications or websites per week to accomplish work tasks. Any of these accounts can become compromised by a weak or stolen login.
With two-factor authentication enabled, a hacker is stopped from using a compromised password because they don’t have the second authentication factor required to be granted account access.
Combat Phishing with DNS Filtering
Phishing remains the main distribution method for malware and malicious forms designed to steal passwords or personal information.
Phishing attacks have increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and scammers have remote workers squarely in their bullseye.
Most phishing emails today use a URL instead of a file attachment to get past email scanning software. If you accidentally fall for one of those sophisticated phishing attacks, you could end up being infected with malware a few seconds after clicking a link.
DNS Filtering is a tool that detects malicious websites and can block them even after a user clicks the link. Rather than loading the dangerous site, the filter will redirect the user to a warning page that the site is malicious.
Get Managed IT Services for Remote Workers from Unbound Digital
Managed IT services include multiple security protections, plus additional services like managed backup and ongoing device maintenance. It’s not just for in-office computers! Ask us about our remote worker options.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.