Top Tech Security Tips for Creating a Safe Home Office

Top Tech Security Tips for Creating a Safe Home Office

Workers love the option to work remotely. It allows them to be free from the commute and can complete their tasks from home. This is a particularly useful and convenient arrangement during the COVID-19 epidemic. Employers can prevent the spread by staying at home. This is without compromising or sacrificing their performance.

The freedom and flexibility of working from home come with the risk of cybersecurity issues that occur outside of a corporate network. Even if your company provides virtual private network (VPN) access, your computer and all data stored on it could be compromised by someone hacking into your Wi-Fi network.

“Making sure sensitive data and files are confidential is something remote employees must address right away,” stated Brian Stark, general manager of North America at Manos. This smart home and DIY security system company offer a range of services, including security and smart home systems. While it is important to ensure that the server is secure, the responsibility for this remains with the homeowner.

Andrew Hay, the chief information security officer at LARES warned that connected devices in your house may not have the same security protections as your laptop at work. This could allow cybercriminals to gain access to your device.

Hay stated that home-based workers need to be vigilant about the systems on their network that could also offer additional attack vectors. “I spoke once with an NCIS agent, who conducted an investigation in which a laptop belonging to a Navy officer was compromised through the hacking of his daughter’s computer.”

Security risks of remote work

Remote employees are particularly vulnerable because of three security threats.

Email scams

Phishers send phishing emails to scammers with the intent of stealing sensitive information from recipients or companies. Phishers are looking to gain the trust of victims, especially in difficult times like the novel coronavirus pandemic. To create false trust, they will often pretend to be a company leader or manager. Remote workers can be easy targets since they aren’t in the office and therefore hackers hope that they won’t have to verify the legitimacy of an email.

Also read: Top 10 Anti-Phishing Tools and Software

Unsecured Wi-Fi

During this time, Many remote workers are now using their private home networks, which can increase the chance of data being leaked. It is possible for third parties to access and intercept sensitive messages, passwords, and emails. It is possible that other people who live with the employee may also be there. Sharing the same internet connection may allow them to see valuable company data.

Personal computers

Remote workers often admit to using personal devices instead of their work-related tech. According to Cisco, 46% of employees report that they transfer files between their personal and work computers. Many companies are at risk when employees access sensitive data and keep it on their own devices. This is especially true if the employee leaves the company.

Another vulnerability is that remote employees who use their personal computers and do not download the most recent updates could also be at risk.

Best practices for remote workers

What are the best steps employees can take to protect their employer and themselves when working remotely? These are the steps recommended by our experts.

Implement multi-factor authentication

Does your company-issued laptop require multifactor authentication? Multifactor authentication allows access to the device as well as all software, provided that the employee has more than one type of identification.

Anybody can remember a password, steal a device or unlock a computer. Multifactor authentication is a way to prevent hackers from accessing your company’s device. Ask your employer to enable multifactor authentication on your company laptop if it doesn’t already exist.

Use strong passwords

You don’t have to worry about physical devices. Hackers may attempt to gain access to sensitive accounts. You want to make it difficult for them to log into. A password manager is a great way to protect your accounts. It ensures that you only use strong passwords such as those with special characters, numbers, and upper- and lowercase letters.

Secure your messages

Data encryption protects sensitive information by translating it into code that can only be accessed by employees within your company using a secret key. Even if hackers intercept your data, they will not be able to properly interpret it. This applies to all information and messages you send, receive, or store on your devices.

Use antivirus software

While your employer may recommend an application for a company-issued device to you, if you use your personal computer for work, it is important that you protect your system.

Venu Gooty (founder of MyBusinessGenie), a provider of software solutions for small businesses, stated that many internet providers offer free antivirus software.

Do not allow your family to use your work device

Blue Fountain Media’s director of operations, Gavin Silver, reminded remote workers that the computer where they work is only for their employees and not the family computer.

Hay said, “As if you were in an office setting, treat your work-issued mobile device and sensitive data the same way.” This will allow you to keep a data-aware and security-first mentality in your actions. Your child cannot use your mobile device from work for movies or games, even if you are at an office. It is easier to manage sensitive data and keep your data safe if you view your mobile device and laptop as work-only assets.

Keep your physical workspace secure

Although virtual security is important, Stark said that it is equally important to ensure the security of your home office.

Stark stated that home offices can contain expensive equipment or physical files or documents that may contain sensitive information. Stark said this to Business News Daily. While it is not feasible for every home office to have a scanner-to-enter system and a security guard at all, it is important to include as many traditional security elements as possible.

Based on your specific needs, You can either look into DIY home security systems or consult our recommendations for business surveillance systems.

Follow company policies to the letter

Most companies have clear policies regarding accessing company networks outside of the office. Silver said that these rules and guidelines should be adhered to at all times, but they are especially important for remote workers.

“Report suspicious behavior to IT immediately. Follow basic ‘computer hygiene’ standards such as antivirus or malware protection, up-to-date operating system, regular scanning, and up-to-date operating software.” Silver said,

Use a centralized, company-approved storage solution

Using only designated programs is part of company policies. The program that your employer requires you to use. even if you prefer a different program.

Stark stated that this is to ensure the IT administrator does not have multiple security configurations that might or may not meet the company’s security requirements. It establishes a standard that is easier to support remotely from the field of the IT officer.

This is especially true when backing up and saving files. All your work data should be stored in a safe location that is both approved by your company and easily accessible, such as a cloud-based storage option.

Hay stated that it is always a good idea to ensure sensitive data is centrally stored and protected. This allows central management and control over all aspects of data such as ownership, availability, security, access, security, etc. There is a lower chance that duplicates are residing outside the reach of the organization such as on a personal computer, mobile device, or cloud environment.

Gooty stated that his company was able to achieve this feat after switching to Office 365.

OneDrive for Business allows us to work more effectively together, and it securely stores the files in the cloud. He said that all employees have access to files on various types of devices.

Also read: Top 10 Ways Prevent Data Loss in a Company

Best practices for employers

For small business owners, Regardless of whether your company employs part- or full-time remote employees, Silver recommends taking the following steps to reduce security risks for employees working from home.

  • Employers should be required to use a non-stored password for network access, particularly VPN access.
  • For sensitive apps or programs, set reasonable session limits. You cannot expect users to be able to connect after they have finished their coffee. However, it is not possible to trust that all employees will log out at the end of the day.
  • Only allow employees to access program/file areas they absolutely need.
  • We reserve the right to end employee access at any time.
  • Remote file storage services can be provided; do not rely on employees to use their own programs or accounts to store your company’s data.

Silver stated that users will always choose the easiest technology method. However, remote workers can’t always be enforced on what software they use, so it is better for them to get the best software.

Hay reminded employers, above all, to set policies, procedures, and guidelines for employees who use company resources beyond the office.

He said, “This includes, without being limited to, accessing corporate data, acceptable usage of websites, approval applications, etc.” The best thing an employee can do is make sure they follow the guidelines.

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